How to remove temporary program files

Note: This document relates to deleting .tmp files. Which is not how you clear your browser Internet history or cache.

Windows 98, XP, Vista, 7, and later

If you are running any of these versions of Windows we suggest running the Windows Disk Cleanup utility to delete temporary files and cleanup other portions of your computer.

Searching for .tmp files

If you are running Windows 2000, Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows NT, Windows ME, Windows XP follow the instructions below to search for and delete any .tmp file found on your computer.

  1. Click Start, Find, and click Find Files or folders
  2. In the named box type *.tmp to search for any files ending with tmp.
  3. Verify that Look in section of the search box is pointing to the C: drive and not Document Folders.
  4. Click Find Now
  5. Delete all files that are found

Once the above section has been done it is also recommend that you ensure that the temporary folder on the hard drive is empty by following the instructions below.

  1. Double-click My Computer
  2. Double-click the C: drive
  3. Double-click the Temp folder (if present) verify that all files within this folder are deleted.
  4. Close the window and re-open My Computer
  5. Double-click the C: drive
  6. Double-click the Windows folder
  7. Double-click the Temp folder (if present) verify that all files within this folder are deleted.

If you are running MS-DOS or Windows 3.x follow the instructions below to remove any temporary files currently on the computer.

  1. If you are currently in Windows click File and choose the option to Exit Windows
  2. Once at the prompt type:
    cd\ <press enter>
    del *.tmp <press enter>
  3. Delete all temporary files found in the root directory of the C drive.
  4. Next type:
    cd\ <press enter>
    cd temp <press enter>
  5. If present or in the C:\TEMP> directory type del *.* and delete all files in the temp directory.
  6. Once deleted or if the temp folder is not present type:
    cd\ <press enter>
    cd windows <press enter>
    cd temp <press enter>
  7. If present or in the C:\Windows\TEMP> directory type del *.* and delete all files in the C: windows temp directory.

Unable to delete .tmp file

If when deleting a .tmp file you get an error it's likely a program is running in the background that's using the file. Close out of all programs, reboot, and try again if you want to delete the file.

Additional information

  • See the temporary file definition for additional information on this term and related links.