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my disk cleanup seems unable to delete lotsa megs worth of "temporary files" that it sees, even after I went and deleted contents of various temp folders I found myself. I would like to try delete such files manually, but for this I need to figure out just where are those "temporary files" that Disk Cleanup is detecting and offering to delete.

Any suggestions? What folders does Disk Cleanup examine to tally up the temporary files?

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Why do you want to delete temporary files manually ? Are you saying that you have so much temporary files that disk cleanup cannot cope and leaves a certain volume behind ? – Simon Dec 1 '12 at 22:07
In my case, I want to know because it's saying i have 5 GB of temp files and I want to know what they are before they are deleted. – Dan Pritts Dec 25 '15 at 4:54
up vote 4 down vote accepted

The "Temporary Files" folder that Disk Cleanup is referring to is the one pointed to by the environment variable %TEMP%. You can go directly to this folder by typing %TEMP% in the Run box or in the address bar in Windows Explorer.

Disk Cleanup's list of "places to cleanup" is stored in the registry key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\VolumeCaches. The Temporary Files item is in a key named, unsurprisingly, Temporary Files.

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The TEMP and TMP environment variables point to the current user's temp file directory only. – kreemoweet Jun 28 '14 at 17:47
There are system environment variables for TEMP and TMP also. A program can ask for the system variables instead of the user variables. – Patrick S. Jun 30 '14 at 0:24
In my Windows 7, the system TEMP is C:\Windows\Temp but that also doesn't contain 408 GB of my 1 TB HDD. – Cees Timmerman Mar 28 at 11:35

I couldn't find anything other than %TEMP% in the registry key mentioned by Patrick, so I tried to log cleanmgr.exe using Process Monitor.

cleanmgr.exe does a File System Class SetDispositionInformationFile Operation with Delete: True Detail on files in %TEMP%, which in my case according to echo is equal to %LOCALAPPDATA%\Temp

It had already deleted the 3 GB unaccounted for by %TEMP% though, and didn't trim the 500+ MB C:\Windows\Logs\CBS\CBS.log; I suspect most of my wasted space was in winsxs.

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