This guide shows you how to delete temporary files and folders for the following Windows versions: Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8, 8.1 and Windows 10.

Delete temporary files and folders in Windows XP

Before you begin, please make sure that:

  • You’re logged in as an Administrator
  • No software is running: close all open applications and exit any software that is not essentials, e.g. printing software, antivirus

Do not delete any temporary files and folders if you’ve recently installed a new software or update, but didn’t perform a restart of your computer. Certain software can still use the Temp folder until you restart the PC.

Delete using Windows Explorer

To delete the files and folders using the Windows Explorer, follow these instructions for Windows XP systems:

  1. Click Start
  2. Click Run
  3. Type %temp% in the search box
  4. Click OK or press Enter to open the Temp folder

    The Temp folder holds all the temporary files and folders for the Windows XP systems.

  5. From the Tools menu, click Folder Options
  6. The Folder Options window should now appear
  7. Click the View tab
  8. Under Hidden files and folders, check the Show hidden files and folders checkbox
  9. Click OK
  10. Select all the files and folders you see in the Temp folder by pressing Ctrl + A
  11. Press Shift + Delete key to delete the selected files and folders.Or, you can right-click on the selected files and folders, click Delete. Then empty the Recycle Bin.
  12. Click Yes to confirm deletion
Deleting temp files using File Explorer in Windows XP

Deleting temp files using File Explorer in Windows XP

Delete using Disk Cleanup

You can also use the Disk Cleanup utility which can delete the files and folders from the Temp folder:

  1. Click Start
  2. Go to All Programs, then Accessories, then System Tools
  3. Click Disk Cleanup
  4. Select the Temporary files option, deselect all other options, then click OK
  5. Click Yes to confirm that you want to delete from the Temp folder

You can also open the Disk Cleanup Utility by:

  1. Open My Computer
  2. Right-click the C:\ drive, where C:\ is the drive where Windows XP is installed
  3. Select Properties
  4. Click Disk Cleanup at the General tab
Deleting temp files using Disk Cleanup in Windows XP

Deleting temp files using Disk Cleanup in Windows XP

Delete using Command Prompt

To delete the contents of the Temp folder, open Command Prompt and type this command:

del /q/f/s %TEMP%\*
Deleting temp files using Command Prompt in Windows XP

Deleting temp files using Command Prompt in Windows XP

Delete temporary files and folders in Windows Vista

Before you delete the temporary files and folders, please make sure that:

  • You’re logged in as an Administrator
  • Exit any running software that might use the Temp folder

If you installed a new update or software, restart the computer before you delete the Temp folder. Certain software can still use the Temp folder.

Delete using Windows Explorer

To delete the files and folders on a Windows Vista system using the Explorer, just follow these steps:

  1. Click Start
  2. Type %temp% in the search box
  3. Press Enter on your keyboard to open the Temp folder
  4. From the View tab, select Hidden items
  5. Select all files and folders by pressing Ctrl + A
  6. Then press Shift + Delete keys or right-click on these files and folders and click Delete.If you’ve opted for the last method, empty the Recycle Bin.
  7. Click Yes to confirm that you want to delete these files and folders you’ve selected
Deleting temp files using File Explorer in Windows Vista

Deleting temp files using File Explorer in Windows Vista

Delete using Disk Cleanup

You can also use the Disk Cleanup utility on your Windows Vista:

  1. Click Start > All Programs > Accessories > System Tools
  2. Click Disk Cleanup
  3. Select the drive you want to clean up, then click OK
  4. Select the Temporary files option, deselect all other options, then click OK
  5. Click Delete Files to confirm deletion of the files and folders

In Windows Vista, you can also open the Disk Cleanup utility by:

  1. Click Start
  2. Type disk cleanup in the search box
  3. Press Enter
Deleting temp files using Disk Cleanup in Windows Vista

Deleting temp files using Disk Cleanup in Windows Vista

Delete using Command Prompt

To delete the contents of the Temp folder using Command Prompt, type this command:

del /q/f/s %TEMP%\*
Deleting temp files using Command Prompt in Windows Vista

Deleting temp files using Command Prompt in Windows Vista

Delete temporary files and folders in Windows 7

The steps to delete temporary files and folders in Windows 7 are similar to those of Windows Vista.

Make sure you are logged in as an Administrator.

If you installed a new update or software, restart the computer before you delete the Temp folder. Certain software can still use the Temp folder.

Delete using Windows Explorer

The instructions are:

  1. Click Start and type %temp% in the search box
  2. Press Enter to open the Temp folder containing temporary files and other folders
  3. From the Organize or Tools menu, click Folder and search options or Folder options…
  4. The Folder Options window should now appear
  5. Click the View tab
  6. Under Hidden files and folders, check the Show hidden files, folders, or drives option
  7. Click OK
  8. Select all files and folders by pressing Ctrl + A (or select them with the mouse), then press Shift + Delete keys.If you delete the files and folder by right-click > Delete, empty the Recycle Bin.
  9. Click Yes to confirm the action
Deleting temp files using File Explorer in Windows 7

Deleting temp files using File Explorer in Windows 7

Delete using Disk Cleanup

The Disk Cleanup utility removes unnecessary files from your computer, including the temporary files and folders.

To open Disk Cleanup on a Windows 7 system, follow these instructions.

Method #1:

  1. Click Start
  2. Click All Programs > Accessories > System Tools > Disk Cleanup
  3. Select the Temporary files option (you can deselect all other options)
  4. Click OK
  5. Click Delete Files to confirm the delete action

Method #2:

  1. Open My Computer
  2. Right-click the the drive where Windows 7 is installed, usually C:\
  3. Select Properties
  4. Click Disk Cleanup at the General tab
Deleting temp files using Disk Cleanup in Windows 7

Deleting temp files using Disk Cleanup in Windows 7

Delete using Command Prompt

To delete the temporary files and folders using Command Prompt, type this command:

del /q/f/s %TEMP%\*
Deleting temp files using Command Prompt in Windows 7

Deleting temp files using Command Prompt in Windows 7

Delete temporary files and folders in Windows 8 or 8.1

These instructions apply for both 8 and 8.1 systems.

Before you continue with these sets of instructions, please log in as an Administrator and exit any running programs.

Make sure you perform a restart of your computer before you delete the contents of the Temp folder. Certain software or updates can still use the Temp folder if you haven’t performed a restart.

Delete using Windows Explorer

To delete the temporary files and folders on a Windows 8 or Windows 8.1 computer, using the Windows Explorer, follow these steps:

  1. Click Start and start typing %temp% in the search box
  2. The press Enter on your keyboard to open the Temp folder.

    The Temp folder holds all temporary files and folders on your computer.

  3. At the View tab, click Hidden items
  4. You need to select all files and folders from the Temp folder. You can do that by:
    • By pressing Ctrl + A, then press Shift + Delete keys on your keyboard. This will delete all the files and folders you’ve selected.
    • You can also right-click on these files and folders and then click Delete.If you opt for this method, empty the Recycle Bin afterwards.
  5. Click Yes to confirm your action
Deleting temp files using File Explorer in Windows 8

Deleting temp files using File Explorer in Windows 8

Delete using Disk Cleanup

If you’d like to delete the temporary files and folders using Disk Cleanup (which can delete other unnecessary files from your computer), follow these steps.

Both set of instructions apply to Windows 8 and Windows 8.1

  1. Click Settings
  2. Go to Control Panel
  3. At the Administrative Tools section, click Disk Cleanup
  4. Select the Temporary files option
  5. Click OK
  6. Click Delete Files to confirm

Or, you can open the Charm Bar:

  1. Open Search by pressing the Windows and C keys
  2. Then type disk cleanup in the search field
  3. Then press Enter on your keyboard
  4. The Disk Cleanup window should appear
Deleting temp files using Disk Cleanup in Windows 8

Deleting temp files using Disk Cleanup in Windows 8

Delete using Command Prompt

To delete the contents of the Temp folder using Command Prompt, type this command:

del /q/f/s %TEMP%\*
Deleting temp files using Command Prompt in Windows 8

Deleting temp files using Command Prompt in Windows 8

Delete temporary files and folders in Windows 10

Before you continue with these sets of instructions, please log in as an Administrator and exit any running programs.

Make sure you perform a restart of your computer before you delete the contents of the Temp folder. Certain software or updates can still use the Temp folder if you haven’t performed a restart.

Delete using Windows Explorer

To delete the temporary files and folders on a Windows 10 computer, using the Windows Explorer, follow these steps:

  1. Click Start and start typing %temp% in the search box
  2. The press Enter on your keyboard to open the Temp folder.

    The Temp folder holds all temporary files and folders on your computer.

  3. At the View tab, click Hidden items
  4. You need to select all files and folders from the Temp folder. You can do that by:
    • By pressing Ctrl + A, then press Shift + Delete keys on your keyboard. This will delete all the files and folders you’ve selected.
    • You can also right-click on these files and folders and then click Delete.If you opt for this method, empty the Recycle Bin afterwards.
  5. Click Yes to confirm your action
Deleting temp files using File Explorer in Windows 10

Deleting temp files using File Explorer in Windows 10

Delete using Disk Cleanup

If you’d like to delete the temporary files and folders using Disk Cleanup (which can delete other unnecessary files from your computer), follow these steps.

  1. Click Settings
  2. Go to Control Panel
  3. At the Administrative Tools section, click Disk Cleanup
  4. Select the Temporary files option
  5. Click OK
  6. Click Delete Files to confirm
Deleting temp files using Disk Cleanup in Windows 10

Deleting temp files using Disk Cleanup in Windows 10

Delete using Command Prompt

To delete the contents of the Temp folder using Command Prompt, type this command:

del /q/f/s %TEMP%\*
Deleting temp files using Command Prompt in Windows 10

Deleting temp files using Command Prompt in Windows 10

More Information

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Applicable Systems

This Windows-related knowledgebase article applies to the following operating systems:

  • Windows XP (all editions)
  • Windows Vista (all editions)
  • Windows 7 (all editions)
  • Windows 8 (all editions)
  • Windows 8.1 (all editions)
  • Windows Server 2003 (all editions)
  • Windows Server 2008 (all editions)
  • Windows Server 2012 (all editions)
  • Windows 10 (all editions)

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