After looking at my storage use in Windows 10, I noticed that a lot of storage is taken up by temporary files.

According to Settings, about 54.4GB is being used. However, Disk Cleanup only shows 3GB - which is Windows Update Cleanup files I can't delete.

Settings > System > Storage and click a drive.

Windows Disk Usage

I can't find a solution searching for it. One potential solution was to check the C:\Windows\Logs folder for huge logs, but the folder is only 28.8MB. Another one was to run Disk Cleanup, but it didn't work (as shown above).

I ran WinDirStat, which shows 75% if the disk being used by the Users folder. Here's a screenshot.


Here are the main (>1GB) folders that are using a lot of space in my Users folder.

WinDirStat - User folder

What are these temporary files? And how can I delete them?

I have a Dell Inspiron 3541 with Windows 10 v1803.

  • Temporary files are generated when users are creating a new file, and their role is to temporarily retain information until the file users are working on is saved. Temporary files should be deleted from time to time, otherwise, they unnecessarily load your computer’s drive, reducing your system’s overall performance. However, there are situations when users cannot delete temporary files. This is quite a complicated situation because temporary files can sometimes use even hundreds of gigabytes of your computer’s memory.
    – Peter.G
    Oct 16, 2018 at 5:56
  • Have you try delete it by command? When Command Prompt opens, enter del /q/f/s %TEMP%* and press Enter to run this command.
    – Peter.G
    Oct 16, 2018 at 6:01
  • Do not just delete files without being certain of what you are deleting. I cannot comment on what you may have in your Documents folder, but it may well be files you would not want to delete. Same goes for Appdata. You may want to look through the contents of your Downloads folder. In your Virtualbox VMs folder you most likely have the virtual filesystems for your VMs, like large .vdi files. If you delete these you will lose the contents of those filesystems - ie. all the files you have in those VMs. You may, however, want to open Virtualbox Manager and perhaps choose to tidy up your VMs.
    – reben
    Oct 17, 2018 at 11:00
  • Wow -- I'm having this problem with Temporary files filling up, even after I remove some big files (like a VirtualBox VM). My Temporary Files is now 63.1 GB, but when I click on that item, the most space I can reclaim in "Remove temporary files" is less than 1G. Nov 8, 2019 at 16:22
  • Possible duplicate of 20GB of Temporary Files, Only 50MB in Temp Folder Nov 8, 2019 at 16:30

1 Answer 1


Close most of the open programs. Hit windows key. type %temp% and delete everything in there. There will be files it says it can't delete. You can just skip those ones. The rest of it is usually able to be deleted.

  • There's only 270KB of files in %temp%, so it's not the issue.
    – Zackary
    Oct 16, 2018 at 15:40

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.