Is your computer slow and low on available hard drive space? Well then you might have too many Windows temporary files on your system, but don’t worry this guide will show you how to remove temporary files in Windows 10.
Temporary files are leftover files from previous installations that should have been deleted automatically after the installation process, but sometimes this doesn’t happen, over time they accumulate and cause Windows issues.
You can read our post on Medium, which further explains what are temporary files and why you should delete them. Read it here.
It is a good habit to clean junk files in Windows so please keep reading if you want to learn how.
How to remove temporary files Windows 10 – in 6 steps:
- OPTIONAL – How to remove temporary files Windows 10 automatically
- Check Temp folder
- Check Prefetch folder
- Delete Windows 10 update files
- Check Downloads folder
- Empty Recycle bin
1. OPTIONAL – How to remove temporary files Windows 10 automatically
I mention this step as optional because you can most definitely do these steps manually, but these will require time and effort from you. Doing this automatically will get the job done much faster, more effectively and software that does this for you doesn’t cost more than dinner for 2.
Personally, I recommend Special Uninstaller, which will have the job done for you very quickly.
You can read more about it and check out its pricing by clicking here
2. Check Temp folder
In Windows search bar type %temp% and hit enter, this will open the folder where Windows 10 stores the temporary files. These files are useless but are collected here over time and only make your Windows 10 laptop perform slower day by day. It is best to delete all these files, so simply select all these files using control + a and delete them permanently.
But we are not done with this step yet, Windows has one more folder in which temp files are stored. Type RUN in the search box, then type TEMP and hit enter. Here you will see more temporary files so, simply select all files like before and delete them permanently. You will need admin privileges to delete these files.
3. Check Prefetch folder
Now we will delete Windows prefetch files, these are temporary files that are created whenever you start an application/program on your computer. To delete prefetch files type RUN into the Windows search box, then type PREFETCH and click on OK. Select all the files using control +a and delete them permanently. You will need administrator privileges to open this folder (see screenshots for detailed information for each step below). If you are interested in learning more about prefetch files, you might like this youtube video
4. Delete Windows 10 update files
You must have noticed that every time you update your Windows 10 your C drive’s free space shrinks. This is because Windows 10 update files are stored inside your C drive even after Windows is updated successfully.
Now in order to delete these files, you have to dig down in your C drive, so first open your C drive, and here you will see a folder named Windows. Open it up, then scroll down and you will see a folder named SoftwareDistribution.
All Windows updates files are stored in this folder and so if you have recently upgraded your Windows this folder’s size will be approximately 10 gigabytes.
Now select all files and delete them permanently.
5. Check Downloads folder
This is technically not a location that Windows saves temporary files automatically, but the downloads folder tends to be overlooked by Windows users. Think about it this way. Every time you download a video, software, or presentation it is saved within the downloads folder. Afterward, you open the file from its location, and before you’re done using it you will forget that it stayed there. That’s why we will be deleting its contents.
Start by clicking the start button on the bottom left of your screen, then click This PC. From the left side, panel click on the Downloads folder. Here you will see all the files in your downloads folder (in my case over 7GB 😮 ). Now click control +a and delete all files.
NOTE: only do this if you have only stored temporary and unimportant files within the download folder.
6. Empty Recycle Bin
This one is another one of the same categories as the downloads folder. It is not created automatically by Windows, but all your deleted items end up here (unless you turned this option off). And if you forget to empty it regularly it will grow in size.#
This one is super easy to do. When you’re on your desktop, look up your recycle bin icon. Double click it to open, then select all files by clicking control +a and simply delete all. In my case, another 1GB of space was saved 🙂
I used this as the last step on purpose, as I noticed that some of the files deleted from the above folders landed in my recycle bin. So better always double-check it
There are a few other spots you could check out, like Pictures, Videos, or Documents folders. I usually end up with a lot of data in there too.
So that’s it guys, if you successfully made it up to here, you are my hero. Please let me know how you liked my guide, did I maybe miss-step or two? Just let me know in the comments below.