What are the Windows files with tildes?

Updated: 01/24/2018 by Computer Hope

File names with unusual characters, such as tildes


Files 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, with a file called myfile.doc, when it is opened in Microsoft Word, the ~$myfile.doc is created. It is a temporary backup file, used to recover data if the software crashes or stops unexpectedly.

These backup files are commonly created in the same directory that the original file is in and are usually hidden files. Also, 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. However, if the program that created this file is still open you may not be able to delete the file until it is closed or the computer is rebooted.

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. The Microsoft Outlook Express cumulative patch 330994 has an issue and is making a backup of your Microsoft Outlook Express address book. This file is created in the same directory that you run Microsoft Outlook Express or location of the shortcut to Outlook Express. For example, if you run Outlook Express from the desktop, this creates 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