Recently, when opening a picture on my desktop with Windows Photo Viewer, it would eat up all the free disk space (~8 GB) on my Windows drive (C:) in a matter of seconds. As soon as I closed the viewer, the disk space was freed once again.

I tracked this down to the viewer creating a huge number of large temporary files in the C:\Users\<username>\AppData\Local\Temp folder. Why this was done was not obvious, as I was just viewing a ~200 KB screenshot.


This issue was caused by having a ~5 MB TIFF file with several hundred pages on the desktop next to the picture I was viewing. When viewing an image, Windows Photo Viewer apparently does some kind of preloading of files in the same directory in the background.

In the case of this multi-paged TIFF file, each page was apparently transformed into a large temporary file in the temp directory while the viewer was open, quickly using up all remaining disk space. Deleting the TIFF file resolved the issue.

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