What are Temporary Files and is it Safe to Delete them?

Every computer user may have heard about the temporary files from one place or another, and some may have even noticed where they are located and what they do. These days, every device in the technology world is getting faster and reliable; the same goes for computers. Users who are aware of these files also know about the space it takes and has heard about deleting these files. But they are still uncertain about the safety of these files.

Is it safe to delete temp files?

What are Temporary Files?

As the name suggests, temporary files are the kind of files that store temporary data that is created by Windows itself or the programs that users use. These files help the computer runs smoothly when you use related programs or tasks. They are also known as foo files and it has .temp as an extension.

When you are using some editing software related to media, graphics, or text writing there will be temporary files created for your work in progress. Not only do these files will help your program to run faster and smoother, but they also help create a recovery backup in case your system or program shut down unexpectedly.

Usage of Temporary Files in your PC

Many of the users who use files like ISO, RAR may have seen the temporary extraction of files in your computer, They extract files in your temporary folder while you use them for installation or other purposes and when the process is complete, they remove it automatically.

Most of the temporary files that the system uses are deleted automatically after the task is complete. But there can be some files which stay in your storage for future use. The same can apply for your daily use programs which need these temporary files to complete operations and tasks faster for the users.

Location of Temp Files

We know our primary drive is the one where our Windows are installed and most of the time, the system uses that drive for the basic usage of a system. So the temporary files that get stored in your system will be in this primary drive because its where your other system files are located too.

Computer users need this drive to run faster so their system can work fast without any lag or hanging. On the contrary, these files can take quite some space in your primary drive which can put some impact on the system.

We can also change the location of the temporary files through Environment Variables as shown below:

  1. Press Windows + R, type “control” in the dialogue box, and press Enter.
  2. Once in the control panel, click on Advanced system settings.
    Advanced System settings
    Advanced System settings
  3. Once the settings open, select Environment variables present at the bottom.
    Click on Environmental Variables
  4. Now that the environment variables get opened, you will see the values for TMP and TEMP. Change their values to another valid file path. Save changes before exiting. Make sure that you also restart your computer.
Location of temp files in environment variables

Why do you need to Delete Temporary Files and is it Safe?

There can be some files that you might need for your daily usage. But most of the other temporary files will have no use. When the temporary files folder gets larger, it can slow down your PC.

Also, the temporary folder having a larger size in most scenarios isn’t going to slow down your PC. But if the files like browser cache, unused or old programs are not refreshing because of not restarting the system, then all these can put some pressure on your PC and making it slow.

So if we want a definitive conclusion about safety, then Yes it is safe to delete these temporary files from our systems. You can easily delete these files and restart your PC after that. Now deleting temporary files might provide you some benefit but the difference will not be so much noticeable. You can delete them manually or use some third-party software like “CCleaner” to clean it up for you.

So, as all mentioned above about the temporary files, there is no need to worry about the temporary files. In most cases, the deleting of temporary files will be automatically done but you can do it yourself too.

Kevin Arrows
Kevin is a dynamic and self-motivated information technology professional, with a Thorough knowledge of all facets pertaining to network infrastructure design, implementation and administration. Superior record of delivering simultaneous large-scale mission critical projects on time and under budget.

Expert Tip

What are Temporary Files and is it Safe to Delete them?

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