How do I get rid of Temporary Files?

Question

You have written that shutting down a computer before Windows says it is safe to do so creates temporary files. I am guilty of having done this quite a few times. Is there any way of deleting these files?

Answer

This question was answered on December 29, 2000. Much of the information contained herein may have changed since posting.

Excess temporary files can build up in any system, not just in systems that have been improperly shutdown Every time your computer locks up and forces you to power the computer off, you will have excess temporary files taking up space on your hard drive There are several ways of finding and deleting old TEMP files from Windows 95/98 based systems

Windows 98 users can use the Disk Cleanup utility (Click on Start/Programs/Accessories/System Tools/Disk Cleanup) to get rid of temporary files as well as your Temporary Internet files (make sure that no other programs are running) Once the utility calculates how much space is being taken by various files, it displays what type they are and how much space they are taking Place a checkmark in front of any entry that is taking space then click on the OK button The Disk Cleanup utility also gives you quick access to your Windows Add/Remove utility, (click on the More Options tab at the top) which allows you to uninstall unneeded programs, which can also take up alot of space

Windows 95 users can use my manual method, since most every program uses the same file extension when it creates temporary files Example: filename.TMP (TMP is the "file extension".) The manual method that I use to find those errant files is to use the “Find” utility First, make sure that no programs are open by restarting your machine Next, click on the Start button, then on Find, then on Files or Folders to open the Find dialog box In the top entry box marked “Named:” type *.tmp to tell the computer to find all files that have the .tmp file extension Before clicking on the Find Now button, make sure that the Look In: section has C: and the Include Subfolders box is checked Also, make sure that nothing is in the Containing Text: box Now, click on the Find Now button to begin the search Once the search is complete, a list of files will appear and the file total will be displayed in the bottom of the frame To delete all of the files, press Ctrl-A (shortcut for Select All) then the delete button A box will come up titled “Confirm Multiple File Delete” and a question about sending the files to the Recycle Bin Click on Yes to move the temporary files to the Recycle Bin If you get an error message that tells you that you “Cannot delete a file because it may be in use”, the most common reason is that you have a program or utility open that is currently using the file Be sure and follow the restart directions above to avoid this error Once the files have been deleted, be sure and empty your Recycle Bin or else you will not free up the drive space taken by the temporary files (Right-click on the Recycle Bin icon, then click on Empty Recycle Bin) It’s probably a good idea to check to see if you have built up temp files at least once a month if you use your computer on a daily basis.

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Author

Posted by Ken of Data Doctors on December 29, 2000