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I seem to have a lot of junk files in %appdata%\local\temp. Is it safe to delete these? Also is it safe to delete c:\Windows\temp?

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4 Answers 4

Some programs keep important files in there, surprisingly. If you are interested in freeing some space I'd advise to only delete the files excluding those that were created in the last 24h or so, or the ones you know for sure aren't used by other programs, such as old installers from software you downloaded, etc. You can use software such as CCleaner to do that.

The answers to this question provide ways to do this clean-up safely and automatically.

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"Some programs keep important files in there" - a couple of people have mentioned this, but can anyone give an example? Also, wouldn't this be broken behaviour on the part of that program? Do we need to cater to this broken behaviour? –  thomasrutter Apr 8 at 6:37
@thomasrutter I made that remark because I remembered having issues with some software a few years ago. That was two years ago, so the issues I encountered are at least three years old. I have no idea if current software still has the practice of keeping files there, since I haven't used Windows since. It's easy to set the time restriction so I'd say better safe than sorry. –  Alex Apr 8 at 23:24
FWIW I discovered the Windows official "Disk cleanup" tool also leaves anything that was modified within the last week, so I guess it plays it safe. (They could also be required by currently running programs, to be fair). –  thomasrutter Apr 9 at 1:11
Nothing important is kept there. If some programs use files there, they will be in use / not deletable. If not, the folder can be deleted entirely. –  Overmind Apr 17 at 9:40

Yes you can. Windows already do it for you when you use the Disk Cleanup tool and select Temporary files checkbox.

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it is cleanmgr.exe, so just click start, type cleanmgr and press enter if you don't want to waste time looking for it –  Vitas Jan 18 at 21:09

You can but I am assuming your intention is to free up disk space, if this is the case you might want to use clean-up instead of doing process manually. Go to run and type cleanup

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Then click DiskCleanup and choose a drive.

Window will pop up where you will be able to select for deletion temporary (and other mostly useless) files from multiple locations not just C:\Users\[Username]\AppData\Local\Temp

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Hope this saves you some time.

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Using the Windows disk cleanup feature seems like the safest route. –  warriorpostman yesterday

Yes you can because some of those old files can become corrupt. So if you delete the entire folder nothing bad will happen. all of the ones that you need the programs will create new ones. And if you cant delete some then a program you are running is running those temp files so just leave those alone. I do it all the time on my users machines that file and c:\windows\temp directory as well.

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Some apps store important components there, improper though that may be. –  apraetor Feb 27 at 0:22

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