Mr. Modem
Subscriber Log in
Remember me
Forgot Your Password?

Your Computer Questions Answered Personally by Email
Newsletter subscribers get FREE access to Mr. Modem's searchable archive. More>>
Order Now
Sample Newsletter

Mr. Modem's Library

Click to View Alphabetical Index of Articles
A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-V | W-Z | View All

Temporary Files

Managing Temporary Files

Windows and Windows applications (programs) create temporary (temp) files that retain data programs need while being used. When you close a program, Mr. Gates & Company have instructed Windows to clean up any temp files it created. Unfortunately, not all programs follow instructions. The result over time is unsightly temporary file build-up which can consume precious hard drive space and cause your system to run sluggishly. So itís a good idea to keep temporary files to a minimum be deleting them periodically.

If you want to take a peek at the contents of your Temp folder before we start cleaning house, click the Start button, choose Run, and type in %temp%. This will display every file in your Temp folder. You can safely delete any file older than the current date.

Windows uses the two following locations to store temporary files:

1. C:\WINDOWS\TEMP is one area in which Windows stores files that a program uses while it's running. If you open a document in Word, for example, the program creates a number of temporary files to keep track of editing changes so you can undo them later, if necessary.

2. C:\WINDOWS\TEMPORARY INTERNET FILES is the area where Web pages youíve viewed using Internet Explorer are stored. This area is referred to as a cache (pronounced

One of the most frequently asked questions I receive from readers is ďWhatís the difference between Windows Temp Files and Windows Temporary Internet Files? Now you know.
For optimal system performance, itís a good idea to empty these files on a regular basis which you can do quickly and easily by running the Disk Cleanup Wizard regularly.

Youíll find the Disk Cleanup Wizard (or DCW to close friends) in Windows 98, Windows Me, and Windows 2000). Click Start > Programs > Accessories > System Tools > Disk Cleanup.

Select the drive to clean up (usually your C:\ drive) and let the wizard work its magic. Youíll receive a preliminary report from the wizard advising you how much space is being consumed by your temporary files. Simply check that box and click OK to start the cleanup.

Youíll also see that the Disk Cleanup Wizard provides separate entries for deleting Temporary Internet Files and for deleting Temporary Files.

You can also choose to clean up files manually. Click to select the Temporary Internet Files box, for instance, and then click OK to completely empty the Web cache.

Although you can manage the Temporary Internet Files folder in a Windows Explorer window (Start > Programs > Windows Explorer), youíll find that itís easier to use Internet Explorer to delete the saved Web pages from this folder.

To empty the cache completely, click Tools > Internet Options > Delete Files. Youíll find the Delete Files button on the General tab.

If you use Internet Explorer, you can set your browser to delete them automatically. Click Tools > Internet options > Advanced. Scroll down to the Security section and place a check mark beside "Empty Temporary Internet Files when browser is closed." Click Apply > OK to exit.

Thatís all there is to it. Just make it a habit of keeping your systemís temporary files to a minimum. A tidy system is a happy system!

I would also recommend that you read the article entitled "Cookies" also located in this Mr. Modem Library.

A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-V | W-Z | View All