Fix Temporary Files not Deleting [Automatically, Disk Cleanup]

Find out how to delete temp files that cannot be deleted

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Key notes

  • Temporary files can take up a lot of space on your PC, and according to users, sometimes you might have issues removing these files.
  • Why won't temporary files delete? Your account might not have the necessary privileges to do this.
  • If you are looking for how to manually delete temporary files in Windows 10, make sure to check out our first solution.
Windows 10 11 temporary files will not delete

Temporary files are generated when users create a new file, and their role is to temporarily retain the information until the file users are working on is saved.

Why are temporary files taking up space? Temporary files should be deleted from time to time. Otherwise, they unnecessarily load your computer’s drive, reducing your system’s overall performance.

However, there are situations when users cannot delete temporary files.

This is quite a complicated situation because temporary files can sometimes use hundreds of gigabytes of your computer’s memory.

Here’s how users describe this issue:

here you can see in this snapshot that there is 5.49GB temporary files. but I’m unable to delete them I had tried this serval times but its not performing any deletion operation. it shows that we are cleaning up your temporary files come back in a bit to check out result. but no result I got.

kindly help me to solve this issue. my c driver is getting full day by day.

Users tried various methods to clean temporary files: ranging from running the Disk CleanupWizard to performing clean boots and drive error searches, but nothing worked.

If you’re having trouble deleting temporary files on your Windows 10 computer, follow the below steps to solve this problem.

Why some temp files cannot be deleted?

There are multiple reasons why the TMP files or the temporary files don’t get deleted automatically. Here are some of the common causes:

  • Your PC did not shut down properly.
  • Some programs use files stored in the Temp folder, not allowing deletion of all files.
  • The account you are logged in with does not have the necessary permissions to clear the temporary folder.

You can try turning on the option under the Storage Sense settings that says Keep Windows running smoothly by automatically cleaning up temporary system and app files option.

Temporary files can take a lot of space on your PC, and according to users, sometimes you might have issues removing these files. Speaking of issues, these are some problems that users reported:

  • Can’t delete temporary Internet files Windows 10 – If you’re unable to delete temporary Internet files, you might be able to do that using the DiskCleanup tool.
  • Disk Cleanup won’t delete/not deleting temporary Internet files – If Disk Cleanup is not deleting files, you might be able to fix the problem by using a third-party application.
  • Unable to delete temporary files Windows 10, 7, 11 – Temporary files not deleting – Issues while removing temporary files can appear, but if you encounter any issues, you might be able to solve the problem by using one of our solutions.
  • Word temporary files not deleting – You can opt to use a third-party software solution that we have listed below, in order to end this issue as quickly as possible.
  • Temp files not deleting automatically – You can use Command Prompt to delete the files manually in case they won’t delete automatically.

What happens if you delete temporary files?

Deleting temporary files is a fantastic method to reclaim storage space, but it’s also likely that doing so can assist boost the performance of your computer if it’s operating a little bit slower.

If achieving that is your objective and removing the temporary files didn’t help, you should try clearing the cache on your computer.

Without further ado, let’s just jump right in!

How do I force delete temporary files?

1. Delete the files manually

  1. Press Windows + R.
  2. Type %temp% and click OK.
    Unable to delete temporary files Windows 10
  3. Press Ctrl + A to select all files. 
  4. Click Delete.
  5. Press Windows + R.
  6. Type prefetch and click OK.
    Can't delete temporary Internet files Windows 10
  7. Select all and click Delete.

When using the delete option, you can also press Shift+Delinstead of a regular delete, to permanently delete files and not just send them to the recycle bin.

This issue related to temporary files has been plaguing users for more than a year, yet Microsoft hasn’t rolled out any official fixes to solve this problem, as users will remark:

This forum is a year old now with many followers all with the same problem and no one from Microsoft has stepped forward with a solution that actually works.  So I do not believe you when you say “We will be glad to assist you.”

If I am wrong and Microsoft is working on solving this problem, then enlighten me regarding what is being done and I will gladly stand cotterted.

2. Use a third-party software

According to users, if you can’t delete temporary files on Windows 10/11, you might want to try using Fortect.

If you are unfamiliar, Fortect is a simple and handy utility that can help you scan your PC and remove unnecessary files that take up space for no reason. Thanks to this tool, you can quickly free up space and remove temporary files.

To use Fortect, you need to follow these steps:

  1. Download and Install Fortect from their website.
  1. Select the Scan icon to find all the unnecessary files.
    Fortect scan process
  1. After selecting the Scan button, the temporary files will be erased soon.
  1. Enjoy a healthier PC performance.
fortect optimization interface

After this process, the temporary files should be removed, and you’ll free up space on your system drive.


Delete temporary files and clean your PC with this intuitive and secure software.
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3. Use Command Prompt

According to users, if you can’t delete temporary files, you might be able to do so by using Command Prompt. To do that, you need to follow these steps:

  1. Press Win + X to open the Windows menu.
  2. Now choose Command Prompt (Admin) or PowerShell (Admin) from the list.
  3. When Command Prompt opens, enter del /q/f/s %TEMP%* and press Enter to run this command.
    Delete temporary files Windows 10 manually

Once the command is executed, all your temporary files should be deleted, and the problem will be resolved.

This is a quick and relatively simple solution, and if you don’t want to delete your temporary files manually, be sure to try this solution.

4. Install the latest updates

According to users, sometimes, the inability to remove temporary files is caused by a bug in your system.

Bugs can interfere with your system and prevent you from performing certain operations. Therefore you must keep your system up to date.

By default, Windows 10 automatically installs the missing updates, but sometimes you might miss an update or two. However, you can always check for updates manually by doing the following:

  1. Open the Settings app by pressing Windows + I.
  2. When the Settings app opens, go to the Update & Security section.
    Delete temporary files Windows 10 manually
  3. Now click the Check for updates button.
    Disk Cleanup won't delete temporary Internet files

Windows 10 will check for available updates. Updates will be downloaded automatically in the background if any updates are available. As for the updates, they will be installed as soon as you restart your PC.

Once your PC is up to date, the problem should be resolved, and you’ll be able to remove temporary files without any issues.

5. Delete the contents of the SoftwareDistribution directory

Several users reported that they could not delete temporary files due to the SoftwareDistribution directory. This folder holds Windows Update files, which can sometimes prevent you from deleting specific files.

However, you can quickly solve this issue by deleting the contents of this directory. To do that, just follow these steps:

  1. Make sure that Windows Update isn’t downloading any updates. To do that, check for available updates. If no updates are available, you can proceed to the next step.
  2. Press Windows + R and enter %WINDIR%SoftwareDistributionDownload.
  3. Press Enter or click OK
    Disk Cleanup won't delete temporary Internet files
  4. Select all files inside the Download directory and delete them.

After doing that, you should be able to remove temporary files without any issues.

6. Uninstall Skype and Spotify

According to users, sometimes third-party applications such as Skype and Spotify can interfere with your system and cause problems with temporary files.

According to users, the issue started appearing after the update when these two applications were installed automatically.

However, you can fix the problem simply by removing these apps. To do that, just follow these steps:

  1. Open the Settings app
  2. Go to the Apps section.
    Unable to delete temporary files Windows 10
  3. A list of installed applications will appear.
  4. Select Skype on the list and click Uninstall.
    Temporary files not deleting

Now follow the instructions on the screen to remove the application. Next, repeat the same steps for the Spotify app. This is a strange problem, but several users solved it by removing these two apps, so feel free to try it out.

7. Remove the temporary files from Safe Mode

If you’re having problems with temporary files, you might want to try removing them from Safe Mode. To access Safe Mode, do the following:

  1. Open the Start Menu.
  2. Click the Power button, press and hold the Shift key and choose Restart from the menu.
    Delete temporary files Windows 10 manually
  3. Choose Troubleshoot.
  4. Select Advanced options.
  5. Click on Startup Settings.
  6. Press the Restart button.
  7. Once your PC restarts, you’ll be presented with options. Select any version of Safe Mode by pressing the corresponding key.

Once you enter Safe Mode, you should be able to remove temporary files without any issues.

Why does my computer keep making temporary files?

The computer makes temporary files to load all your settings for your PC or a program faster. Temporary files are a program’s settings files that remember your selection for a specific program.

So, using these files, your PC can load programs and other system tasks much more efficiently and faster.

Let us say an editing tool when you use any program; then your PC will store a temporary file for your created work. Temporary files are created as a part of the internal process of the program or in situations when the program cannot allocate enough memory for the tasks.

Why can’t I delete temp files on Windows 11?

If you want to delete temporary files in Windows 11, you need to use the built-in tools, or if you’re an experienced user, you can do that manually.

If a file is open in another program, that might prevent you from deleting it, so you need to find the application using it and turn it off.

If you need administrator permission to delete folder message, it means you don’t have the necessary privileges, so try switching to administrative account and try again.

Most of the temporary files are deleted automatically once the task is complete. However, there are temporary files that continue to stay on your PC for future use. It is safe to delete temporary files, though.

Not being able to remove temporary files can be a big problem sometimes, but you should be able to fix it with one of our solutions.

More about the topics: files, windows 10