User Tools

Site Tools


Clean Temp Files

Any windows machine will fill up with temporary files, and many applications do not clean up after themselves very well. We have had times when a Windows Workstation had over 300 Gigabytes, just in the Windows temp directory (C:\Windows\Temp), and Microsoft has no GUI tool that will clean this that I know of.

Getting users to clean their own temp directories, or even clean up their web browser caches' is pretty much useless also, so for our Windows Servers, I prefer to simply do a quarterly task that does this for them. It can also be extended quite easily to clean up other directories, like Downloads, etc…

Power Shell

This is a manual procedure. I did not want to have it automatic since there is a good chance of failure, and I'm not very good at Power Shell.

This will show you how much disk space is used a part of the system, then the second command will allow you to delete it. You must make sure no one is logged into the server before running this.


# This gets the space used for each item, in gigabytes
# You can copy/paste this first block directly into PowerShell
# first, the system temporary directory, which never gets cleaned out by anything.
"System Temp {0:N2} GB" -f ((Get-ChildItem -force -recurse C:\Windows\Temp | Where-Object{$_.CreationTime –lt (Get-Date).AddDays(-30)} | measure length -s).sum / 1Gb)
# Now, all users individual temp directories
"Users Temp {0:N2} GB" -f ((Get-ChildItem -force -recurse C:\Users\*\AppData\Local\Temp | measure length -s).sum / 1Gb)
# Then, Chrome's cache and Code Cache
"Chrome JS {0:N2} GB" -f ((Get-ChildItem -force -recurse "C:\Users\*\AppData\Local\\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Code Cache\js"| measure length -s).sum / 1Gb)
"Chrome Cache {0:N2} GB" -f ((Get-ChildItem -force -recurse "C:\Users\*\AppData\Local\\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Cache"| measure length -s).sum / 1Gb)
# Finally, Mozilla Firefox's cache
"Mozilla Cache {0:N2} GB" -f ((Get-ChildItem -force -recurse "C:\Users\*\AppData\Local\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\*\cache2" | measure length -s).sum / 1Gb)

Do not blindly paste the following lines in. Make sure you know what will happen. The following actually does the deletion. However, the -WhatIf says “show me what you'd do”, so you must remove -WhatIf that before it will actually clean up.

Note, we are only removing files which were created over 30 days ago.

Get-ChildItem –Path  “C:\Windows\Temp” –Recurse | Where-Object{$_.CreationTime –lt (Get-Date).AddDays(-30)} | Remove-Item -WhatIf
Get-ChildItem -Path "C:\Users\*\AppData\Local\Temp" -Recurse | Remove-Item -Recurse -WhatIf
Get-ChildItem -Path "C:\Users\*\AppData\Local\\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Code Cache\js" -Recurse | Remove-Item -Recurse -WhatIf
Get-ChildItem -Path "C:\Users\*\AppData\Local\\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Cache" -Recurse | Remove-Item -Recurse -WhatIf
Get-ChildItem -Path "C:\Users\*\AppData\Local\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\*\cache2" -Recurse | Remove-Item -Recurse -WhatIf


Strongly recommend doing the following, in order

  1. Reboot your server to ensure everyone is logged of and a minimum of processes are running
  2. Log in as an administrator
    1. Open PowerShell as an administrator
    2. Do not run any other programs
    3. Run as many/few of the above commands as desired. Note: This can take several minutes on a bloated system.
      1. Run the commands that only check on space first. You can then see if you want to concentrate on any particular areas. Just copy the first block of code and paste it into PowerShell
      2. Choose the commands to run from the second group. These are the actual cleanup script
        1. Run with the -WhatIf first, if desired. That will show you what will happen
        2. Run the same command again, but without the -WhatIf
          1. Uparror
          2. Erase the word -WhatIf, including the minus sign
          3. Press the Enter key
    4. Reboot Server
  3. Check your disk space

The reason we reboot the server before this procedure is to keep to a minimum which programs/services are running. After you have done this, you reboot to give everything a chance to wake up. You are deleting all files in your temp directory also, and there may be services that need to be restarted so they can realize they need new temp files.

What is going on


This is the system wide temp directory, which is never cleaned out. Since many of these files are necessary, we only look for the ones over 30 days old; anything within the past month is assumed to be in use.

Users Temp

Each individual user has their own temp directory, but the procedure for cleaning it out is somewhat obscure for a normal user. In this case, we assume the user is logged out (thus, not using their temp directory), so we just remove everything from it. When the user next logs in, any temp files they need will be recreated.

Web Browser Caches

All web browsers I know of cache a lot of (all of?) the pages they download off the Internet. While you can set each browser up to keep only a limited amount of information in their cache, it is easier to just clean up after the users.

Chrome keeps every single bit of Javascript it ever runs into, and appears to never clean that out, so we remove that also. Note: A user who visits very Javascript intensive sites (like Nextcloud or Google) will have a slightly longer startup time after you do this as all Javascript must be downloaded again.

microsoft_windows/cleantemp.txt · Last modified: 2022/11/14 03:15 by rodolico