When Windows is going about its business of running software, downloading and installing updates, and so on, it creates temporary files. When programs are run, they can also create temporary files. These are not permanent files like the program, documents or Windows files and they contain information that needed to be remembered for a short time, but afterwards, the files and information are no longer needed.
The problem is that temporary files are sometimes not deleted and they can build up day by day until there are hundreds of them. Occasionally, these temporary files can cause a problem with software or with Windows. Clearing out any temporary files that are no longer needed can, in some cases, cure problems.
It is worth remembering this and the next time you have a problem, try cleaning the PC’s disk drive of temporary files. Even problems that might not seem to be related to temporary files, might be cured too. If you have ever called a tech support service, you will probably have gone through this clean-up procedure and it is one of the standard tasks to perform when things are not going right.
Open the Control Panel and click Folder Options (Windows 8 users can type ‘folder options’ into the Start screen to open it.) Select the View tab and select Show hidden files, folders and drives. This is because some of the places in which temporary files are created are hidden.
Restart Windows and any temporary files that are in use will be closed. You can now go to the temporary files and delete them. You may find that not all of them will delete. Do not worry about these, it just means that the files are in use – there are always one or two temporary files in use.
Empty the Temp folder
Here is a list of places to go in Explorer:
In Windows XP you should go to the C:\Documents and Settings folder instead of C:\Users.
Empty CD/DVD burning folder
If you use Windows to burn CDs and DVDs, when you create the disc and are about to burn the selected files to disc, they are stored in the Temporary Burn Folder. Clearing it can solve problems with burning discs.
C:\Users\username\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Burn\Temporary Burn Folder
Empty Internet Explorer caches
Internet Explorer has its own temporary files folder and if you have an internet related problem, you should delete it. Start Internet Explorer (the desktop version in Windows 8), click the gear icon and click Internet Options.
Click Delete in the Browsing history section and a list of things that can be deleted is displayed. The bare minimum you should tick is Temporary Internet files and website files. The other items are optional and you might want to keep passwords, form data, cookies and so on, because these are useful.
Empty Windows Update folder
Windows Update caches files and when you are experiencing problems updating Windows, it can sometimes help to clear the cache. Manually doing this is possible, but it is quite complicated and Microsoft has a simple Fix it button at support.microsoft.com/kb/971058