How To Remove Temporary Internet and Junk Files From A Windows XP and 7 Based PC

Troubleshoot By Selecting Your Zone Type:
Troubleshoot By Selecting Your Zone Type:

This blog will explain what temporary internet files and junk files are and how to remove them to increase the performance of your web browser.

Junk files are inevitable when working in a Windows based environment. These files include temporary Internet files that accumulate through a Web browser, or files left over by orphaned or uninstalled programs. Whichever situation that may occur, junk files will eat up storage space on your computer’s hard drive and eventually cause fragmentation of all files on a hard drive. When fragmentation occurs files are spread out in a severely unorganized manner. Contents of files and directories are scattered across across multiple locations on a hard drive’s internal platters, which causes Windows to work overtime to complete the most simplest of tasks.

Defragmentation is a process that works by reorganizing the contents and locations of files for quicker access. Defragmentation helps put things back in normal order to speed up the responsiveness of your Windows operating system.

Overview Of Temporary Internet Files

Temporary internet files consist of various HTML, GIF, or JPEG images, or downloaded program files, and are often to referred to as cache memory. This cache memory is helpful in circumstances where a particular webpage is viewing multiple times during a Windows session. To help Windows flow smoothly these temporary files needed to be deleted on a regular basis, to make room for newer version of files stored in webpages.

Key Terms and Definitons Associated With This Article:

Temporary Internet Files

Files that a web browser leaves behind after viewing pages in a website.

Cache Memory

A location in a computer where files are stored for quicker access.

Recycle Bin

A directory or folder that Windows uses to store recently deleted files before permanent deletion occurs.

Junk files

Temporary files that a computer accumulates during a Windows session that serve no valid purpose.


Microsoft Windows is a series of graphical interface operating systems developed, marketed, and sold by Microsoft.

Web browser

a software application used to locate, retrieve and also display content on the World Wide Web, including Web pages, images, video and other files.

Remove Junk and Temporary Internet Files

One location where junk files exist are in the Windows recycle bin. When you delete a file through Windows Explorer, the file gets moved to a location in the Windows recycle bin. The file is not actually deleted Windowsis instructed to “empty the Recycle Bin “.The recycle bin is a temporary housing area for recently deleted files.

This temporary housing unit on your hard drive can take a fair chunk of hard drive space if the files aren’t permanently removed on a weekly basis.  To reclaim all free disk space, simply empty your Windows recycle bin.
You can delete individual files from the Recycle Bin or empty the entire Recycle Bin at once.

Do one of the following:

  1. To permanently delete one file, click it, press Delete, and then click Yes.
  2. Open the Recycle Bin by double-clicking the Recycle Bin on the desktop.
  3. An additional location where junk files take up wasted space on your hard disk drive is in the Windows temporary files folder.

During a Windows XP session, Windows creates numerous temporary files to help speed up general Windows operations.

However, these files can become useless after a while (such as when you log off a Windows session).

When this happens, one folder in particular that needs to emptied is labeled as follows:

C:\Documents and Settings\User Account\Local Settings\Temp

replace User Account with the name of your user account.

Location of where temporary Internet files exist on a Windows XP workstation.
Clearing out the temporary files accumulated within this folder will help speed up your Windows operating system.

How To Remove Temporary Internet Files In Internet Explorer

1. Left click the Windows Start Menu.

2. Left click the Control Panel menu item.

The Windows XP Start Menu
Figure 1.1 – The Windows Start Menu Control Panel Link

3. In the Windows Control Panel left click the Internet Options control panel applet.

The Windows XP Control Panel
Figure 1.2 – The Windows Control Panel

After a short delay you will see the Internet Properties window as shown in Figure 1.3 in the next section.

The Internet Properties Window
Figure 1.3 -The Internet Properties Window

On the general tab, left click the Delete Cookies button. A warning dialog box will appear similar to the one illustrated in Figure 1.4 in the next section.

Delete Cookies Dialog Box
Figure 1.4 – Delete Cookies Dialog Box

Left mouse click the OK button to confirm the removal of all cookies.

When it’s complete the window will close and the Internet options window will be shown.

Left click the OK button to close that Window and the process should be completed.

Depending on the number of cookies stored up in your computer, this process may take a couple of minutes

Left click the Delete files button to remove all temporary internet files stored within the computer.

What To Do If Your Using Internet Explorer 8.0 or 9.0?

The tutorial in the previous section references Internet Explorer 7.0. If you are using an newer version the process is slightly different.

You will need to left click the Delete button on this window to remove temporary Internet files and browsing history.

In Internet Explorer 9.0 the delete files button to remove temporary internet files.
In Internet Explorer 9.0 the delete files button to remove temporary internet files.

How to Clear Private Data In Google Chrome

You have control over your browsing data. This data includes things like your browsing and download history and saved form data. Use the “Clear browsing data” dialog to delete all your data or just a portion of your data, collected during a specific period of time.

Delete all your data

  1. In the top-right corner of Chrome, click the Chrome menu Chrome Menu.
  2. Select More tools > Clear browsing data.
  3. In the dialog that appears, select the checkboxes for the types of information that you want to remove.
  4. Use the menu at the top to select the amount of data that you want to delete. Select beginning of time to delete everything.
  5. Click Clear browsing data.

Delete specific items from your browsing data

Instead of deleting entire categories of your browsing data, you can pick specific items to delete. Click these links to see more instructions.

How To Clear Private Data In Mozilla Firefox

Temporary Internet Files is known as Clear Private data in Mozilla Firefox. It allows you to clear private information such as browsing history, passwords, personal form information, and cookies, without having to access each tab and clear the content individually.

To Clear Your Private Data:

  1. Select Tools from the menu bar.
    The Tools Menu bar in Mozilla Firefox
    The Tools Menu bar in Mozilla Firefox
  2. Select Options from the drop-down menu.
Select the Privacy Tab in the Options dialog box.
Select the Privacy Tab in the Options dialog box.

Click the clear your recenty history link and you will be prompted with a window shown below:

Clear Recent History Dialog Windows in Mozilla Firefox
Clear Recent History Dialog Windows in Mozilla Firefox
Select a time range to clear by using the drop-down selector to select a time frame.

In the details box check off the items you would like to clear and click Clear Now to proceed with the step.

You can also access the Clear Private Data dialog box by choosing Clear Private Data… from the Tools menu.

Other Location Where Junk Files Exist

You can find below the default locations where every internet browser is storing the temporary internet files depending on the operating system:

Windows XP:

For Internet Explorer:  most common location is:

C:\Documents and Settings\Local Settings\Temporary Internet Files.

Occasionally an additional (hidden) cache named “Temporary Internet Files” may appear in the following locations:

  • C:\Documents and Settings\Local Settings\Temp\Temporary Internet Files
  • C:\Documents and settings\LocalService\Temp\Temporary Internet Files\Content.IE5

Note: The last location can only be deleted by manually accessing the folder and removing it.

For Mozilla Firefox:

  • C:\Documents and Settings\Local Settings\Application Data\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\xxxxxxx.default\Cache

For Google Chrome:

  • C:\Documents and Settings\Local Settings\Application Data\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Cache

For Safari:

  • C:\Documents and Settings\Local Settings\Application Data\Apple Computer\Safari\cache.db

For Opera:

  • C:\Documents and Settings\Local Settings\Application Data\Opera\Opera\cache

Windows Vista/7:

For Internet Explorer:

  • C:\Users\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Temporary Internet Files\
  • C:\Users\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Temporary Internet Files\Low\

For Mozilla Firefox

  • C:\Users\AppData\Local\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\xxxxxx.default\cache

For Google Chrome:

  • C:\Users\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Cache

For Safari:

  • C:\Users\AppData\Local\Apple Computer\Safari\cache.db

For Opera:

  • C:\Users\AppData\Local\Opera\Opera\cache


About Mike Casimir 147 Articles
Technical artist rising upon his client tell. We cater to all audiences in hopes of creating harder working team learning environments, and want to succeed in information technology fields of study or job experiences. We shed light on spirituality, and the heavens are directed as we show choose. Our primal strength is the brain. We acknowledge all absolution from negative behaviours and even life's imbalances, we exist to charge our futures with hope and endeavours. My time is end nearing, but thought I would put the word out there to interested audiences. Please feel free to contact myself in whole through the contact form. I am a technical specialist with emphasis on creating online learning modules. We exist to become better people through learning and creative innovation. We have basic computer literacy with strong computer skills.

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