Temporary files

Many users of computers and laptops know that among their large number of files on their devices there are so-called «temporary files”. Some believe that they need to be removed in one way or another. Other users are wary of doing this because they think it will damage their computer. What are temporary files? Where are they stored and should they be deleted?
What are temporary files?
Word Temporary Files
How to recover temporary Word files ?
Excel temporary files
How to recover temporary Excel files?
Temporary Internet Files

What are temporary files?

Temporary files are created by the operating system or programs during their work. Why do you need it? The RAM of the PC stores the codes of the running programs, as well as the intermediate, input and output data that the processor processes. The amount of computer memory is not as large as the volume of hard drives. Obviously, the less memory is loaded, the faster the computer works.

Based on these considerations, large amounts of information processed by the system or running programs are not stored in RAM, but in special files called temporary files. Temporary files may also contain backup copies of the data currently used. For example, MS Word creates temporary files of running documents. If a PC crashes, the information can be restored from a temporary file.
Temporary files are stored in special folders. They are easily recognizable by the TMP extension at the end of the file and sometimes by the tilde sign (~) before such a file.
Temporary file
Under normal PC operation, these files are closed and deleted upon Windows shutdown. But, when some computer or software malfunctions occur, these files do not close correctly and are not deleted when the computer is turned off. Over time, they can accumulate a lot, and this will affect the performance of the PC.

Experts recommend periodically cleaning the PC from temporary files. This can be done in different ways. For example, manually by clearing the TEMP folder. Its location depends on the version of Windows. For example, in Windows 7, temporary files are stored in two places: in the folder with the address С: Windows\Temp and in the folder C:Users\user_name\App Data\Local\Temp.
In addition, there are a large number of programs that automatically clear temporary files. These applications allow you to safely release your PC from temporary files, which allows even novice users to use such programs.

Word Temporary Files

MS Word office application automatically determines where and at what point you need to create a temporary file. Temporary Word files are stored until the application is closed. As soon as work with Word is completed, temporary files are automatically closed and deleted. Why does Word create temporary files? There are two reasons.

  • Increase application speed. If, when working with Word, the computer does not have enough resources, the program moves part of the document from the RAM to disk that is not currently in use. There are transferred unused elements of the application code. This frees up a significant part of the PC’s RAM, which ensures high speed of work with MS Word.
  • Create a backup copy of the document in order to avoid loss of information in case of any malfunction of the application or computer. Word from time to time creates a backup file of the processed document with the same name as the original.

Word Temporary Files
Often, temporary files can save information lost due to a PC crash. The user is only required to perform a series of sequential steps to recover Word data from a temporary file.

How to recover temporary Word files ?

What may be necessary to restore a temporary Word file? You will have to turn to temporary files when you have been working with a Word document for some time, and then the PC or application crashed. In this case, if you reopen the document, the unsaved data will disappear. How to recover lost information? First, you can try to restore the unsaved data by means of the Word application itself.

To do this, after the failure, restart MS Word and go to the “File” menu. Select “Open”. A window will appear, at the very bottom of which will be the inscription “Recover Unsaved Documents”.
Restore Temporary Word Files
When you click on this caption, a list of files appears, among which you should select the desired file. After clicking on it, a document will open with the last automatically saved information.
Unfortunately, the above method does not always work, and you have to use other methods to recover lost information. For example, you can use the data stored in Word temporary files.

Close all MS Office applications and open Word. Click on the “File” item in the main menu and select the “Options” section. Go to the “Save” tab and in the “AutoRecover file location” section look for the path to the folder with temporary Word files.
Auto save Word
Copy the path to the folder where the temporary Word files are stored, and paste it into the Explorer search box. Go to this folder and find the document you need by file name, date and time of its last change. Right-click on the selected file and select the item “Open with” in the context menu. As an application to open the file, select Word.

As a rule, these methods help in solving the problem of recovering information lost due to the failure of MS Word. But, unfortunately, this does not always happen. Therefore, it is recommended to save changes to documents more often by pressing the “Ctrl+S” or “Shift+F12” buttons, or by saving the document by pressing the diskette icon in the MS Word menu.

Excel temporary files

Office MS Excel, as well as Word, incorporates the function of intermediate automatic saving of files. If this function is active, the application at regular intervals saves backup copies of the Excel file in a temporary file. If this feature is disabled, you can turn it on again using simple steps.

To do this, run the MS Excel application and go to the menu item “File”. Open the “Excel Options” and select the “Save” section. In the window that opens, check the “Save AutoRecover information every” option and set the time interval between the automatic saving of the document. On low-power computers it is not recommended to set the time interval between saves less than 5 minutes, otherwise the computer will work slowly and unstable.
Temporary Excel Files
In the same window, in the “AutoRecover file location” section, you can see in which folder the temporary Excel files are stored, and find the path to this folder.

How to recover temporary Excel files?

If your computer crashes and Excel crashes, it is possible that some of the data entered in the document before the crash will be lost during the next run of MS Excel. You can try to restore them using a backup of the document that is stored in a temporary file. MS Excel stores temporary copies of documents in two types of files:

  • auto save files;
  • temporary files for unsaved books.

The location of the auto save files may vary depending on the operating system and user account. In order to find out where Excel puts the autosave files, you need to go to the program settings.

  1. Open the “File” section in the Excel main menu.
  2. Go to the “Options” section.
  3. In the parameters window that will open, in the “Save” section, find the “AutoRecover file location” field. This field will indicate the path to the folder where the automatically saved Excel files are stored. This path can be copied, pasted into Explorer and in the opened folder to find the file you need.

Auto save Excel
In the event that when you close the Excel document, you select the “Do not save” command or a computer crashes, you can try to restore the contents of the file at the time of its closing. To do this, you will have to use temporary files of unsaved Excel workbooks. MS Excel 2010 and later versions of the application allow you to do this using the tools of the program itself.

  1. Open the Excel file with unsaved changes.
  2. In the “File” menu, open the “Info” section.
  3. In the “Versions” section, click on the “Manage Versions” button and select the “Recover Unsaved Workbooks” option.Restore unsaved books
  4. Browse through the list of document versions one by one and select the desired option. Here you can see the path to the folder in which such files are stored.

Temporary files of unsaved books are deleted after a few days. In addition, these files are deleted even if the user has saved the changes in the Excel file.

Temporary Internet Files

Why do we need temporary Internet files? Any site visited by users is a collection of pictures, text, multimedia files, commands, and more. All this information is stored on the server of the site owner. In order not to download all the information from the server each time you visit the same site, and there are temporary files.

All information downloaded from the site is stored in a temporary file. When visiting a site, the browser checks whether the information has changed on it. The content that remains unchanged is loaded from a temporary file, which significantly speeds up the process of opening the pages of the site.

Thus, during repeated visits to sites, their pages are loaded from the folder with temporary files. Each browser stores these files in their own folders, the location of which depends on the operating system and the type of browser. For example, in the Mozilla Firefox browser, you can view the address where temporary files are stored by typing “about: cache” in the address bar.
Temporary Firefox Files
Temporary Internet files are recommended to be cleaned from time to time and there are several reasons for this. First, it must be done in order to quickly see all the changes on the site page. Sometimes site developers make any adjustments on its pages, but these changes are not displayed in the browser because data from temporary files are loaded. In such cases, clearing the cache (deleting temporary files) helps.

Unfortunately, sometimes when visiting sites you can download some virus, which, like the rest of the content, will be stored in a temporary file, and loaded every time you open the page with the virus. This is also the reason for deleting temporary Internet files.

The third reason is saving computer space. Over time, such files accumulate very much, which, of course, reduces the free space on the hard disk. So, despite the fact that temporary Internet files shorten the page load time, they should be periodically deleted for the reasons described above.

In the settings of any browser there is a section for deleting temporary files, so there is no need to look for them on the disk yourself. In addition, you can use special programs to clean your PC from temporary files.