Deleting Temp Files Properly

By - Ian c Fyvie


Certain programs are run or are installed and temporary files are created.  These file do not always "Live" in the "Temp Folder" but can be spread around your harddisk.  This article will show you how to delete unnecessary temporary files and create a shortcut to do it again  (Windows is SUPPOSED to do this automatically but it often misses LOTS and these files, if left behind, they can cause lots of problems with your computer.)  It should be noted, this will NOT delete Internet temp Files, this can easily be done from the tools menu in your browser.

Many people think that all you need to do is open your Windows Temp folder and delete everything in there because that's where all temp files are stored.  WRONG!.   That's where all programs are SUPPOSED to store their temp files but many don't.   Try deleting all the files in your Windows Temp folder, then try this method and see how many more you find.

Once you've done this one time, use these instructions at the end to create the shortcut so you can do it again and again without the need to remember the instructions.

First, close ALL open programs.

Click on your start button, then go to Find, then Files or Folders  (In Windows XP, go to Start, then Search) this dialog box, make sure where it says "look in", that it is looking at your C: drive  (or, if you have multiple hard drives or partitions, be sure "All Local Drives" is selected)  and be sure there is a check in the box next to where it says "include subfolders"  (this is in "More Advanced Options" in XP).....Now, click your mouse pointer in the box that says "named"  (in XP, it says "All or part of the file name")  and type the following, exactly as it is here.


That's asterisk period t m p comma asterisk period c h k comma tilde asterisk period asterisk .....with no spaces.

The "tilde" is the little squiggle above the Tab key on the left end of your keyboard.....DO NOT FORGET THE TILDE as ~*.* will find all files which begin with ~, but *.* without the tilde would find all files on the drive.....and you DON'T want to do that!!

Once it finds all the files, it will list them and at the bottom it will tell you how many it found  (First time I tried this I found 1555 files)

ctrl+a will select them all, then press your delete key....If it won't delete some of them, that's because they are attached to some program running in the background, so you may have to delete them one at a time.  If one or two won't delete, they will probably delete when you reboot next, so don't worry about them.  NOTE: Windows XP tends to hang onto temp files more than the earlier versions, so you may run into more that you can't delete.   If so, just note the name of the file Windows won't delete and find it in the list, then hit ctrl+a to select them all again, but hold down your control key and click on the one Windows won't delete.  This will select all but that one.   Try deleting them again.   If you finds another it won't delete, repeat this same process.  

All of these files and folders  (yes, ALL of them)  are safe to delete and removing them can solve some crazy problems you may be having.   However, if you are concerned about this, leave the files you deleted in your recycle bin for a few days until you are sure all is working properly.   This way, you can restore the files from the recycle bin if you have a problem

Once they are all deleted, you can save this process as an Icon on your desktop so you can repeat it with one click.

Still inside the Find/Search dialog box, go to the File menu and click on "Save Search"......this will put an icon on your desktop that you can click on any time you want to delete temps again!

Happy computing!

RIYAN Productions