What are the Windows files with tildes?

Files that contain a tilde and other text

TildeFiles that suddenly appear with a tilde in front of them are commonly backup files of a file that was opened or is still currently open. For example, lets assume you were working on a file known as myfile.doc, when this file is opened in Microsoft Word, Word will automatically create a file known as ~$myfile.doc. This is a temporary file and is used to help recover data that might have been lost if the program stopped working or the program was suddenly turned off while you were working on a file.

These backup files are commonly created in the same directory that the original file is in and are usually hidden files. In addition, these files should be automatically deleted after the file or program being used to edit the file is correctly closed.

Can I manually delete these files?

Yes, this will not cause problems with the original file; it only deletes the backup of the original file.

A file that is only a ~

Users who are running Microsoft Outlook Express 5.5 or 6 may have a "~" file created after downloading the latest updates from Microsoft. This is an issue with the Microsoft Outlook Express cumulative patch 330994 and is a backup of your Microsoft Outlook Express address book. This file is created in the same directory that you run Microsoft Outlook Express or the shortcut to Outlook Express from. For example, if you run Outlook Express from the desktop, this will create a "~" file on your desktop.

To resolve this, you can either obtain the latest updates from Microsoft for Outlook Express or uninstall 330994 from add/remove programs.

Additional information

  • See the tilde definition for further information about this term.