Raymond Chen: The TEMP Directory

Mr. Raymond Chen of Microsoft has made an interesting post on his blog regarding the TEMP directory in Windows.  In his post, he states that “The TEMP directory is a dumping ground of random junk.”  He’s quite correct.  Many programs, including installers, use the TEMP directory for storing temporary data.  Unfortunately, there are many programs who use the TEMP directory for permanent storage. 

Obviously, as time moves on, some of these programs are bound to bump heads as they copy files with the same name, etc. to that same directory.  The most common issue I have seen is installations failing because of stuff left behind from previous installs.

Fortunately, there is a fix that I have found works often.  Use the disk cleanup tool in Windows.  Open up Windows Explorer, go to My Computer, and then right-click your C drive and choose Properties.  You should see a button called Disk Cleanup right there on the General tab.  You will want to change some of the options for the Disk Cleanup tool to make sure it does get temporary files. 

Once you run the wizard, you should have a few Gigs back on your drive and the issue with files in the TEMP folder interfering with new installs should be mitigated.