What happens if I delete files in Temp folder in Windows 7?

What goes in the Windows-->Temp folder in windows 7, and if I delete the files there, will that cause any problems?  I want to free up the 1.8G disk space, but can find no info anywhere of the consequences of deleting these files, what they're for, or how they got there.  Thanks!
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In general, it's safe to delete anything in the Temp folder.  Sometimes, you may get a "can't delete because the file is in use" message, but you can just skip those files.

For safety, do your Temp directory deleting just after you reboot the computer.  Sometimes, a program installer will put something in the Temp directory that it needs to complete the installation after a reboot.  If you reboot and wait a bit so that everything has settled down, anything left in the Temp folder should be OK to delete.

If you want to be conservative, use the built-in Disk Cleanup tool (type Disk Cleanup in the Search box).  If you select "Temporary files" as one of the items to be cleaned (deleted), by default Disk Cleanup only deletes files that haven't been modified within the past 7 days.
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LemP
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MS MVP (Windows Desktop Experience) 2006-2009
Microsoft Community Contributor (MCC) 2011-2012

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On Fri, 17 Jan 2014 18:56:47 +0000, steveoverholt wrote:

What goes in the Windows-->Temp folder in windows 7, and if I delete the files there, will that cause any problems?  I want to free up the 1.8G disk space, but can find no info anywhere of the consequences of deleting these files, what they're for, or how they got there. 

Yes, they can, and should be, deleted periodically.

The temp folder provides workspace for programs. Programs can create
temporary files there for their own temporary use. Each program should
delete all its temporary files when it closes, but for various reasons
it doesn't always happen (for example, if the program crashes, it
never gets to do this). That's why it's a good idea to periodically
clean out anything left there.

Also note that there are some program installations which work in two
steps. The first step concludes by writing temporary files and
rebooting. The second step starts automatically after rebooting and
needs to find those files there (and then deletes them when it's
done).

Other than doing it automatically when rebooting (that would interfere
with installations like the kind I described), it's always safe to
delete the contents of the temp folder. Because it's safe to delete
any temp files that aren't open and in use by an application, and
since Windows won't let you delete open files, it's safe to (try to)
delete them at any time. If any fail to delete because they're open,
they'll either be deleted automatically when the app using them
closes, or you'll get them the next time you delete manually.

Some people may suggest that you reboot before deleting anything, but
that's not necessary, for the reason described above (on the other
hand, it doesn't hurt to do it).

Ken Blake - Microsoft MVP since October 2003

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Last updated June 11, 2021 Views 279,150 Applies to: