• I seem to have a lot of junk files in %LOCALAPPDATA%\Temp (also accessible via environment variables %TEMP% and %TMP%).
    Is it safe to delete these?

  • Also, is it safe to delete the Temp folder in the Windows directory, C:\Windows\Temp?

  • 10
    Without being pedantic three years later, %APPDATA%\Local\Temp doesn't exist, you mean %LOCALAPPDATA%\Temp
    – codaamok
    Mar 16, 2016 at 10:26
  • 2
    Or %APPDATA%\Temp
    – DavidPostill
    May 12, 2016 at 22:08
  • 5
    @DavidPostill %LOCALAPPDATA%\Temp and %APPDATA%\Temp are not the same (Windows 10). %LOCALAPPDATA%\Temp goes to C:\Users\<username>\AppData\Local\Temp (similar to %TEMP% and %TMP%) while %APPDATA%\Temp attempts to reach out to C:\Users\<username>\AppData\Roaming\Temp
    – thilina R
    Sep 28, 2016 at 13:13
  • @thilinaR I'm well aware of that. It has been that way since Windows 7. I'm not sure what your point is. I was pointing out that the question is badly written.
    – DavidPostill
    Sep 28, 2016 at 13:18
  • 4
    Since you mentioned %LOCALAPPDATA%\Temp or %APPDATA%\Temp, I just wanted to point out that they were different. That's all
    – thilina R
    Sep 28, 2016 at 13:21

8 Answers 8


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.

  • 45
    "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? Apr 8, 2015 at 6:37
  • 7
    @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, 2015 at 23:24
  • 7
    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). Apr 9, 2015 at 1:11
  • 1
    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, 2015 at 9:40
  • 4
    I always clean my %temp%, no decent program keeps important files there. and you will not be able to delete files that are being used. I just close all apps and programs, delete everything in there and restart. never had an issue my self. Jan 30, 2016 at 1:23

Yes, you can. Windows already does it for you when you use the Disk Cleanup tool (cleanmgr.exe) and select the Temporary files checkbox.

  • 13
    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, 2015 at 21:09
  • 33
    I've done this, and now Disk Cleanup shows 0 bytes for temporary files, but appdata/local/temp is still 2gb
    – mcmillab
    Jul 31, 2016 at 21:49
  • 16
    I did disk cleanup, and my temp is still 27GB :( Nov 30, 2016 at 3:34
  • 9
    @MooingDuck try it again but Run it as Admin.
    – Pedro77
    Nov 30, 2016 at 11:45
  • 3
    Even running it as admin shows 600 KB for Temporary files but the Temp folder is 3.8 GB in size.
    – MA-Maddin
    Sep 23, 2021 at 10:52

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 the process manually. Go to Run and type cleanup:

Enter image description here

Then click Disk Cleanup and choose a drive.

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

Enter image description here

  • 2
    Using the Windows disk cleanup feature seems like the safest route. Jul 6, 2015 at 17:38
  • 19
    I'm looking at that interface now and it shows Temporary files at 0 bytes. At the same time I have 21 Gb of files in Local\Temp so I would double check Aug 24, 2015 at 15:24
  • 5
    Disk Cleanup doesn't do much good for me. Yes they can free some spacce, but they overlook quite a bit, unfortunately Oct 20, 2015 at 5:57
  • 1
    Disk Cleanup normaly leave files that were last modified less than 24 hours ago.
    – Mr Rubix
    Mar 30, 2018 at 11:43

In theory, AppData's Temp folder (%TEMP%) is the place for programs to put files that can be deleted immediately after all handles to them are closed. In practice, many programs - including Microsoft's own - violate that guidance. That's why some disk cleanup utilities (notably CCleaner) by default leave files that were last modified less than 24 hours ago. It's almost certainly safe to remove those, and unless you have particularly rickety third-party software, you can probably remove any that aren't in use.

That said, however, I would advise against demolishing the actual Temp folder. It will get recreated periodically, but programs can rely on it being there. I've seen programs that attempt to create files under %TEMP%, expecting the call to always succeed. (For example, attempting to echo stuff > bogusFolder\x.txt will fail if you don't have a folder called bogusFolder.) Therefore, it's best to leave well-known folders where they are.

The same advice (for both the files and the folder) applies to the Temp folder under Windows, though that Temp folder is used only by the system or programs running as administrator. It tends to get full of log files, which can be deleted with wild abandon.


Yes and no.

What I like to do is delete everything in the folder, but not the folder itself. Any files that "require special permission from the administrator" to delete, I leave alone.

This is generally the safest way I can think of when it comes to emptying your Temp folder.


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 can't 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 user's machines that file, and the C:\WINDOWS\Temp directory as well.

  • Some apps store important components there, improper though that may be.
    – apraetor
    Feb 27, 2015 at 0:22

Yes, it is safe. I did it many times.

This question arise when we need to wipe-up our hard disk drive. I recommend using WinDirStat which is a disk usage statistics viewer and cleanup tool for various versions of Microsoft Windows.

And check this post: Guide to Freeing up Disk Space under Windows 8.1


My advice would be to create a new folder in the temp directory and move any files/folders you want to delete to the new folder, check if everything still works. If you are confident everything is ok you should be safe to delete them. If you run into problems just move the files back to the temp folder again.

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