Why Aren’t Windows Temp Files Deleted Automatically?
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Chances are you have some useless files sitting around on your computer, like junk in the Recycle Bin that you haven’t emptied in weeks. But one of the biggest wastes of space on your PC are the Temp folders in the Windows and AppData directories.

As the name suggests, Windows uses these folders to store files that are only needed for a short time: error logs, images, cached files, etc. Their presence helps your computer run smoothly during your current session, but you rarely need them after a reboot, or even after closing a program.

You can easily delete these temporary folders to free up space on your computer. But using the Disk Cleanup tool only deletes temporary files that are older than seven days. Even the new Storage Sense feature in Windows 10 won’t automatically clear temp files all the time.

Why is this?

Apps that you’re using create temporary files for a purpose. Whether you’re downloading something, editing a picture or video, or just want to quickly access data in the app thanks to cache, it needs these temporary files. Windows doesn’t know whether every application is done with its temporary files when you run the Disk Cleanup, so it errs on the side of caution. Most people won’t need an app’s temporary files for more than a week.

For instance, let’s say you were working on a large video in Adobe Premiere and decided to delete every temporary file on your PC while you had Premiere open. This would very likely cause issues in Premiere because you removed files it needed while it was still working with them. But three days later when you’re done with that Premiere session, you can safely delete those files.

Unless you have a tiny hard drive, temporary files don’t take up enough space to become a problem. If you want to clear them automatically, you can easily set up Windows to delete these temp files when you shut down.

Do you clear temporary files automatically, or just when you remember to? How much space are temp files taking up on your drive? Share with us in the comments!

Image Credit: VadimVasenin/Depositphotos

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  1. dragonmouth
    September 28, 2017 at 1:44 pm

    I usually delete unnecessary files manually. It is faster than DIsk Cleanup, avoids any aging issues and is not restricted to only particular file types.

    When I was working in Tech Support, I came across a user who had over 800,000 temporary files on her hard drive. She was complaining that her PC was slow as molasses. When I issued a DELETE command for these files, it took a few hours for the command to complete. Once the DELETE process was done, the PC was back to its zippy self.