How-To Geek

Quick Tip: Windows Vista Temp Files Directory

Windows Vista Disk Cleanup wizard is really not all that bad, but I did find a small problem with it… It doesn’t fully empty your temp folder. It only allows you to delete temporary files that haven’t been modified in a week, as you can see in the screenshot.

If you’ve recently done a lot of editing or something that generates large temporary files, you may want to manually clean up. Just type in %TEMP% into the start menu search box, and hit enter. You’ll immediate be taken to the temporary files folder, where you can delete whatever you feel like.

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 01/21/07

Comments (44)

  1. Tammy

    When I DL games from websites: yahoo, gaptap, spintop. My downloads goto a TEMPARARY FILE folder… although, they never open, and I can never find them in my directorys…

    I do a computer search for the files, with nothing showing up.

  2. Poyda

    Once you get to the temp folder, if you put your push your backspace key it will take you up one directory. Then you can drag and create a shortcut on your desktop :-)

  3. why not just use ccleaner… i always forget about my temp folder and never knew to empty it, let alone configure its size, etc… ccleaner wipes temp files and more if you choose, and can be set up to do it regularly.

  4. Zhizara

    Thanks for the tip on cleaning up temp files. I just deleted temp files and cookies a couple of hours ago, but there were over 30,000 files in %TEMP% and over 1.24GB in this file. I deleted the whole temp file. I hope it doesn’t cause any problems, but I don’t expect any; they are temporary files, anyway.

  5. Harry

    Is there a difference between Internet Explorer temporary files and Windows Vista Temp Files? When I run the disc cleanup, it doesn’t delete the files in Windows. Can they be deleted without affectiong the operation of my computer?

  6. Phil

    i had 36GB on my temp.. u may wanna check it! lols!

  7. Anonymous

    Probably a newbie question but…

    I found a TEMP folder in Vista’s C:\Windows\ folder, is this normal by any chance?

  8. David

    hey everyone

    Thanks for the info — one of those people who has trouble moving from “the old system that’s worked perfectly for years” to “a new system that MIGHT work better”.

    Have a wonderful Christmas

  9. Philipjrp

    “C:\Windows\Temp” is perfectly normal

  10. jd2066

    @Anonymous: Yes, this normal. While programs are suppost to use %TEMP%, they somes use C:\Windows\Temp. Even though programs aren’t suppose to use it, it doesn’t hurt anything when they do.

  11. Anonymous

    Thanks for clearing that up guys!

  12. Jorge

    Everytime I clean my Temp folder on windows vista, comes a file called IMGxxx.tmp with 0 bytes.
    I have 3 more pc’s with vista and that files only comes on my machine.
    Anyone knows what files is it and why is always coming when I clean my temp folder?


  13. jd2066

    @Jorge: There are many temporary files created all the time with odd names that can’t be figured out just by looking at the name.
    What you maybe able to do is when you clean your temp folder and the file appears then search the open file handles to find out what program is creating those.
    Here is one way to do that:
    Run Process Explorer (You can download it from )
    Press Ctrl+F to display the find dialog box.
    Type the temporary file’s name in the dialog and click Search.
    If the program is using that temporary file then the file should be listed along with the process name.
    If the process name doesn’t look familiar then you can close the Find dialog and double click the process name in the Process Explorer process list as that will show you the full program path and description.

  14. Jorge

    Many thanks for your quick response.
    I have follow your instructions and that random IMGxxx.tmp is a file created by “explorer.exe”.
    Any idea how to stop it to create it?


  15. jd2066

    explorer.exe is the process responsible for the desktop icons, taskbar, file manager and other features known as Windows Explorer and the Windows Shell.
    As the Shell doesn’t normally create that file, then a Shell Extension that is loaded by the Shell is likely to be responsible for creating the file though it’s possible the Shell is just doing something different on that computer for some unknown reason.
    You can disable some extensions with ShellExView (It’s at ) and by process of elimination figure out if it’s a Shell Extension that is creating the tmp file and what Shell Extension it is.
    Important Notes:
    1. Do not disable any Shell Extensions created by Microsoft. Many Shell Extensions come with Windows and are required for the Shell to function.
    2. I wouldn’t worry about the temp file. Many programs create temp files and it doesn’t hurt anything to just leave them alone. It’s not worth trying to figure out where they come from or why they are there.

  16. Jorge

    Many thanks,
    You have been very helpful

  17. Kay

    Disk cleanup doesn’t seem to work in Vista service pack 1. It scans for file then just dissapears without doing anything. Can anyone suggest what to do or what other software to use.

  18. Philipjrp

    Put this is a notepad and save wit the extentsion “.bat”

    IF NOT %temp% == %tmp% GOTO both_
    GOTO single
    DEL %temp%\*.* /F /S /Q
    DEL %tmp%\*.* /F /S /Q
    ECHO Deleted all files in the TEMP folder: %temp%
    ECHO Deleted all files in the TMP folder: %tmp%
    GOTO end
    DEL %temp%\*.* /F /S /Q
    ECHO Deleted all files in the TEMP folder: %temp%

  19. shan

    wo~ thanks! i was struggled by the tempsssssssssssssssss but now all clear!

  20. Dima Iva

    Thank you Philipjrp,

    Great script – works like a charm!

  21. Reboot


    I installed Pinnacle Studio 12 on my Vista laptop. I tried to render a large film and Studio 12 gave up on me. When I looked at my hd if by any chance Studio still finished the image, I saw that I lost 45GB of discspace. I think that because of the crash in there is stil a file somewhere, I cleaned my temp but that was only 150MB. Does anyone have an idea where to look?


  22. Philipjrp

    Use windows search tool and click on advanced. use this to find files above the size of say 20mb this will have a list and will narrow down the amount of results for you to find your file :P


  23. Jason

    I am having a problem after I download an application for locomotives for MSTS. When I go to run the application to install them, it gives me an error saying that in cannot load the launcher from ***\***\*****\Temp\(the temp file name-which isnt even in the temp folder). How can I solve this?

  24. kaikalino

    What happened to my question? I kinda wanted an answer. It was in subject wasn’t it?

  25. Justin

    ADDPCs makes a great, simple utility to do this for you, but even more thoroughly. Check it out at

  26. Claire

    I cleared out my Temp folder but now none of my history will save and I can’t open PDF files from websites…. Could this be anything to do with something that may have been deleted accidentally?
    If not, any ideas on how to fix this? For the record I have tried restarting, and under ‘Privacy’ the ‘Keep my history for at least x days’ is still checked.

    Would really appreciate any words of wisdom :)

  27. Tyrris

    Whoa! Thanks for the info..seriously. I knew there had to be more space on my drive bc I don’t have more than 40gigs of data including apps. Turns out my temp folder has siphoned 161gigs from the drive!!! I couldn’t believe it.. Maybe this is from installing/uninstalling Adobe Master Collection CS4 a bunch of times. The native Disk Cleanup utility in windows is not totally sufficient when seeking to free up space on your drive.

    I never forget to check %temp% again..

  28. km




  29. suzanne

    how do i enable cd dvd player ? please help. thank you,suzanne

  30. Sandra

    Philipjrp, your input that worked Shan to save your input as .bat, how and where? My Vista temp file under Administrator/AppData/Local/Temp always has 65,555 files in it right after I turn on the computer. I even delete them, most are 0 KB but it still takes forever. Then as soon as they are done, I delete them out of recycle bin. Then immediately there are then 1,062, do it again and then 323, then again and I think you get the idea. So if I do this as instructed by you I am sorry to say I do not know if I just do .bat or “.bat” or a name and .bat and where do I save as? I have done it all the same and the files are stil there and now up to 20,000 again. They are always VerFF## or VerPD## or VERDA##. I could not find out what process they are connected to either so? Help please with your instructions for saving in Notepad. THANKS! Disk Cleanup doesn’t do it either. I do that weekly and as soon as it is done there may be only 21 temp files and when I delete those then I have 8,567, so?
    IF NOT %temp% == %tmp% GOTO both_
    GOTO single
    DEL %temp%\*.* /F /S /Q
    DEL %tmp%\*.* /F /S /Q
    ECHO Deleted all files in the TEMP folder: %temp%
    ECHO Deleted all files in the TMP folder: %tmp%
    GOTO end
    DEL %temp%\*.* /F /S /Q
    ECHO Deleted all files in the TEMP folder: %temp%

  31. Chris

    Ha can’t believe it is so easy to do! Ive been looking for this for ages, cheers.

  32. Katie

    Every time I try to download anything, I get a message that states it cannot find the temp file and won’t finish downloading.
    How do I fix this?

  33. medo


  34. medo

    i need temp clean program for windows 7

  35. Tracy Willingham

    I pride myself too much on knowing the back door into fixing things like this. I was trying to delete 100,000 wptemp*** folders in the C:\Documents and Settings\usr\Local Settings\Temp folder. It wasn’t working for me any way I tried it unless I wanted to do 20 at a time. I finally tried ccleaner and I told myself that it didn’t work either but when I checked they were all gone… under a minute or 30 seconds even!! Thank you. I did deselect most of the options however… I was only concerned about the wptemp folders.

  36. Tiger

    I came accross a hidden temp folder while trying Norton Utility program.

    Why can’t I see this temporary folder from File Explorer and why Disk CleanUp does not clean it up this folder?

    C:\Users\Tiger\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Temporary Internet Files> dir

    Volume in drive C is
    Volume Serial Number is

    Directory of C:\Users\Tiger\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Temporary Internet Files

    08/21/2010 04:52 PM AntiPhishing
    01/06/2009 09:30 AM Content.Outlook
    01/27/2008 01:09 PM FileShare
    06/15/2007 11:48 AM OLK6F8
    05/01/2007 12:53 PM OLKC605
    08/21/2010 07:24 PM WebTempDir

  37. JayB

    I have a file that has 0 bytes and this offending name.
    [] – Drunk Mom Pussy Lips avi.torrent
    Don’t know how it got there, but I cannot delete it at all.
    Cannot change the name, also seems to refer to link
    which I cannot trace.
    Any advice?
    I use Vista.

  38. potheadjeypi

    Hi. I hope someone can help me out. When you play streaming media files on YouTube etc the information gets buffered on your computer so the next time you play the specific video it doesn’t hafto buffer anymore right? My question is where do the temporary files from the streaming media sites get saved on Windows 7?

    Thanks people!

  39. jjjjjjj


  40. jjjjjjj

    help i fell in a hole

  41. novatech

    copy and paste the below into notepad. save it with the extension of .cmd
    It will clean temps from 2000 – Win7 computers. Run as Administrator.

    @echo %%%%%%%%%%% Novatech Computers %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%5 >> %SystemDrive%\Cleanup.txt
    @echo %%%%%%%%%%% %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%5 >> %SystemDrive%\Cleanup.txt
    @echo ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ >> %SystemDrive%\Cleanup.txt
    @echo System Clenaup started @ %date% %time% >> %SystemDrive%\Cleanup.txt
    @echo ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ >> %SystemDrive%\Cleanup.txt
    @del %SystemDrive%\*.tmp /f/s/q >> %SystemDrive%\Cleanup.txt
    @REM del %SystemDrive%\*.log /f/s/q >> %SystemDrive%\Cleanup.txt
    @echo ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ >> %SystemDrive%\Cleanup.txt
    @echo Done with %SystemDrive% *.tmp’s @ %date% %time% >> %SystemDrive%\Cleanup.txt
    @echo ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ >> %SystemDrive%\Cleanup.txt
    @del %HOMEDRIVE%\*.tmp /f/s/q >> %SystemDrive%\Cleanup.txt
    @echo ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ >> %SystemDrive%\Cleanup.txt
    @echo Done with %HOMEDRIVE% *.tmp’s @ %date% %time% >> %SystemDrive%\Cleanup.txt
    @echo C:\Users\joelou\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Temporary Internet Files\Low
    @echo ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ >> %SystemDrive%\Cleanup.txt
    @echo C:\Users\joelou\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Temporary Internet Files\Low
    @rem dir “c:\Documents and Settings” /b >> dir.txt
    @FOR /D %%G in (“%HOMEDRIVE%\Users\*.*”) DO Echo ***Found folder: %%G >> %SystemDrive%\Cleanup.txt
    @FOR /D %%G in (“%HOMEDRIVE%\Documents and Settings\*.*”) DO Echo ***Found folder: %%G >> %SystemDrive%\Cleanup.txt
    @echo ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ >> %SystemDrive%\Cleanup.txt
    @echo folders in Drive Starting removal @ %date% %time% >> %SystemDrive%\Cleanup.txt
    @echo ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ >> %SystemDrive%\Cleanup.txt
    @FOR /D %%G in (“%HOMEDRIVE%\Users\*.*”) DO del “%%G\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Temporary Internet Files\*.*” /f/s/q >> %SystemDrive%\clenup_Replace.txt
    @FOR /D %%G in (“%HOMEDRIVE%\Users\*.*”) DO del “%%G\AppData\Local\Temporary Internet Files\*.*” /f/s/q >> %SystemDrive%\clenup_Replace.txt
    @FOR /D %%G in (“%HOMEDRIVE%\Users\*.*”) DO del “%%G\AppData\Local\Temp\*.*” /f/s/q >> %SystemDrive%\clenup_Replace.txt
    @FOR /D %%G in (“%HOMEDRIVE%\Users\*.*”) DO del “%%G\AppData\LocalLow\Temp\*.*” /f/s/q >> %SystemDrive%\clenup_Replace.txt
    @FOR /D %%G in (“%HOMEDRIVE%\Users\*.*”) DO del “%%G\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Temporary Internet Files\Content.IE5\*.*” /f/s/q >> %SystemDrive%\clenup_Replace.txt
    @FOR /D %%G in (“%HOMEDRIVE%\Users\*.*”) DO ren “%%G\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Temporary Internet Files\Low\Content.IE5” “old.IE5” >> %SystemDrive%\clenup_Replace.txt
    @FOR /D %%G in (“%HOMEDRIVE%\Users\*.*”) DO rmdir “%%G\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Temporary Internet Files\Low” /s/q >> %SystemDrive%\clenup_Replace.txt
    @FOR /D %%G in (“%HOMEDRIVE%\Users\*.*”) DO rmdir “%%G\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Temporary Internet Files\Low\Content.IE5” /s/q >> %SystemDrive%\clenup_Replace.txt
    @FOR /D %%G in (“%HOMEDRIVE%\Users\*.*”) DO del “%%G\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Temporary Internet Files\Low\*.*” /f/s/q >> %SystemDrive%\clenup_Replace.txt
    @FOR /D %%G in (“%HOMEDRIVE%\Documents and Settings\*.*”) DO del “%%G\Local Settings\Temp\*.*” /f/s/q >> %SystemDrive%\clenup_Replace.txt
    @echo pause
    @echo ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ >> %SystemDrive%\Cleanup.txt
    @echo Done with %HOMEDRIVE%\Documents and Settings local settings temp removal @ %date% %time% >> %SystemDrive%\Cleanup.txt
    @echo ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ >> %SystemDrive%\Cleanup.txt
    @FOR /D %%G in (“%HOMEDRIVE%\Documents and Settings\*.*”) DO del “%%G\Cookies\*.*” /f/s/q >> %SystemDrive%\Cleanup.txt
    @FOR /D %%G in (“%HOMEDRIVE%\Documents and Settings\*.*”) DO del “%%G\Application Data\AOL Downloads\*.*” /f/s/q >> %SystemDrive%\Cleanup.txt
    @echo @FOR /D %%G in (“%HOMEDRIVE%\Documents and Settings\*.*”) DO del “%%G\Cookies\*.*” /f/s/q >> %SystemDrive%\Cleanup.txt
    @echo ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ >> %SystemDrive%\Cleanup.txt
    @echo Done with %HOMEDRIVE%\Documents and Settings cookies removal @ %date% %time% >> %SystemDrive%\Cleanup.txt
    @echo ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ >> %SystemDrive%\Cleanup.txt
    @FOR /D %%G in (“%HOMEDRIVE%\Documents and Settings\*.*”) DO del “%%G\Local Settings\Temporary Internet Files\*.*” /f/s/q >> %SystemDrive%\Cleanup.txt
    @echo Done with %HOMEDRIVE%\Documents and Settings \local settings \temporary internet file removal @ %date% %time% >> %SystemDrive%\Cleanup.txt
    @echo ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ >> %SystemDrive%\Cleanup.txt
    @del “%TEMP%\*.*” /f/s/q >> %SystemDrive%\Cleanup.txt
    @echo Done with %TEMP% removal & cleanup @ %date% %time% >> %SystemDrive%\Cleanup.txt
    @echo ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ >> %SystemDrive%\Cleanup.txt
    @del “%TMP%\*.*” /f/s/q >> %SystemDrive%\Cleanup.txt
    @echo Done with %TMP% removal & cleanup @ %date% %time% >> %SystemDrive%\Cleanup.txt
    @echo ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ >> %SystemDrive%\Cleanup.txt
    @del “%SystemDrive%\WINDOWS\Temp\*.*” /f/s/q >> %SystemDrive%\Cleanup.txt
    @echo Done with %SystemDrive%\WINDOWS\Temp\ removal & cleanup @ %date% %time% >> %SystemDrive%\Cleanup.txt
    @rem del “%HOMEDRIVE%\Documents and Settings\*.*\Local Settings\Temporary Internet Files\*.*” /f/s/q
    @echo Done system cleanup showing log file to user @ %date% %time% >> %SystemDrive%\Cleanup.txt
    @echo ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ >> %SystemDrive%\Cleanup.txt
    @echo ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ >> %SystemDrive%\Cleanup.txt
    @echo %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%5 >> %SystemDrive%\Cleanup.txt
    @echo %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%5 >> %SystemDrive%\Cleanup.txt
    %SystemRoot%\system32\notepad.exe %SystemDrive%\cleanup.txt
    @rem pause

  42. novatech

    As a side note. The above script will clean temps from all users (Not just your user) and from windows folder.

  43. micL

    im tryin to delete all my temp files and files in recently changed but its sayin that a lot of them cant b deleted coz they no longer exsist so how do i get rid of them from showin up at all im not the best with computers but tried deleting them 1 at a time and still sayin they no longer exsist ive also tried disk clean up but nothin is workin what else can i do please explain fully as im not good with computers at all im usin internet explorer 9 and windows vista plz some1 help me asap as im gettin rid of this computer its goin to my mum

  44. novatech

    Get CCleaner and run it with all the boxes checked on the clean, should take care of that

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