Is it safe to Remove Files in the Windows Temp folder?

Dennis Faas's picture

Infopackets Reader 'P.S. Liew' writes:

" Dear Dennis,

Over the years, my 'temp' folder in Windows [located at c:\windows\temp] has gathered quite a substantial amount of temporary, space-eating files as well as Internet browser history items such as cookies, cache and the like. I am contemplating whether or not I should delete these files in order to reclaim hard disk space, but prior to doing so, I would like to get some pointers from you as to which selection of files in this folder is safe to delete. Am I wrong to assume that it is safe to completely delete all files in c:\windows\temp without so much as a second thought? Your advice will definitely serve as a useful guidance for me. Thank you in anticipation. "

My response:

Believe it or not, this is the third time I've been asked this question [and similar] in the last 2 weeks. Having said that: it's relatively safe to assume that 99.99% of everything in the c:\windows\temp folder is safe to delete, assuming you didn't purposely install a program in that folder (not likely). If you have any doubt about whether or not the file in the temp folder are safe to remove, you can simply:

a) reboot your computer

b) make secondary temporary folder *inside* of c:\windows\temp folder. For example, you might want to call your new folder "my_temp_folder"; in that case, the path of your new folder would reside at c:\windows\temp\my_temp_folder. Once this has been done, move all the contents of c:\windows\temp to my_temp_folder.

If you don't get any error messages (such as "this file is in use") during the move process, then it should be safe to remove my_temp_folder at some point in the future [described below]. Note that rebooting your computer is necessary because some temporary files may have been recently copied into the temp folder, and may be declared "in use". Rebooting will essentially clear that flag.

RE: Removing the Temp Files 'at some point in the future'

If your system performs flawlessly over the next week or two and you do not receive any error messages such as "cannot find 'FILE X' in c:\windows\temp", then it's a very safe bet that you can remove my_temp_folder (and all of its contents) permanently from your system.

If on the other hand -- although highly unlikely -- you *do* receive an error message about a file not being found in your temp folder, then simply move the files back from my_temp_folder to c:\windows\temp.

If all this sounds too confusing, you can also use a utility like WinOptimizer Platinum Suite to remove temporary and redundant files that exist *all over* your system (and not just in the c:\windows\temp folder). WinOptimizer Platinum Suite is a fantastic PC spring cleaning utility, with the ability to "optimize your PC in a single click" -- literally! It's a very safe utility to use (especially for newbies), yet offers advanced features for power users. You can read a full in-depth review online our site:

WinOptimizer Platinum Suite Review

Hope that helps ;-)

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