Removing Temporary Files From Your PC

Deleting Temporary Files

Deleting the temporary files from your computer can help you to keep it running smoothly. Depending on the number of temporary files you delete, you may also find that your PC speeds up a little bit.

Temporary files are created on your computer for numerous reasons, such as when you browse the Internet and install programs. Some temporary files are also created by the Windows Operating system itself, during normal use.

You can use Vista's or Window 7's Disk Cleanup utility to clean out unwanted temporary files and this works reasonably well. To access this software just click the Start icon and type Disk Cleanup in the Search box. Click on the search result 'Programs - Disk Cleanup' and choose which files you want to remove from your PC. Then select the drive that needs to be cleaned, usually your C drive. Now click OK.

Disk Cleanup will produce a list of optional deletes so place a tick in the Temporary files box, as these are the files you want to remove.

disk cleanup utility

As you can see in the above screen shot Vista only lets you delete temporary files that have not been modified in over a week.

This means that manually cleaning out these unwanted files is often a necessary housekeeping task, if you want to remove all the files and folders in the Temporary file.

If you have recently done a lot of editing or something that generates large temporary files, here's how to manually conduct a clean up.

Click on the Start icon and type the following command - %temp% - in the Vista or Windows 7 search box, and then hit the Enter key. See the image below.

Windows Vista search box

This %temp% command will open the folder that Windows Vista has set up as the Temporary folder. The files and folders in this Temporary folder were needed by Windows at some point but are no longer useful. So everything in this Temporary folder is safe to delete.

How to Remove all the Files

If you want to remove everything inside the Temp folder, click on the Organize button and then choose Select All from the drop down menu.

Tip: If you're prompted that there are hidden files in this folder, just click on OK to bypass the message. A few hidden files hanging out in the Temporary folder probably aren't important enough to worry about.

To delete these items, hit your Delete key or click the Organize button on the toolbar menu, followed by the Delete option.

You will probably be prompted again to confirm that you wish to Delete Multiple Items. Click on Yes to confirm.

Removing Individual Files

To remove individual folders or files, hold down your Ctrl key while left-clicking on each item you want delete. Release the Ctrl key when you're finished and immediately hit your Delete key or click the Organize button on the toolbar menu, followed by the Delete option.

You will probably be prompted to confirm that you wish to Delete Multiple Items. Click on Yes to confirm.

When all of the temporary files have been deleted you can close the folder window and empty your Recycle Bin, which permanently removes the unwanted files from your PC.

Tip: You may receive an 'Error Deleting File or Folder' message while the files are being deleted. This just means that one of the temporary files is currently in use by one of the programs on your PC. Click OK, close all open programs, and repeat the steps above. If you still receive the message, try restarting your PC and repeating the process again.

Additional Ways to Remove Unwanted Files

There are some very useful programs that can find unwanted files in other locations, and these can also be safely removed.

At QBS PC Help we use several free software tools to find and delete these files. These include:

AdAware Anniversary Edition

SpyBot Search & Destroy (see how to install SpyBot and get the best results when using it)

Microsoft Windows Defender which is already on Vista and Windows 7 PC's.

And for clearing the Windows Registry, temporary files, browser or start menu run histories and cookies we love CCleaner. You can download this excellent program from this website right now!

You can find more adware and spyware removal tools at the Anti-Spyware Guide. This website includes links to popular spyware removal programs, as well as a number of useful articles.

Read more articles about PC repairs, Web design & SEO