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Deleting Temp files in the Windows Folder

by billsmasher / September 18, 2008 12:10 PM PDT

Can someone tell me if it's safe to delete .tmp files in the Windows \Temp folder? Which ones are actually trash, and why doesn't this umteenth version of the Windows operating system (xp)trash them on it's own? I'm also wondering about the files in my C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Microsoft\Windows\Game Explorer folder. It's chock full of files with alphabetical strings as filenames generated by windows that contain shortcuts to the same gamepage. I'm stuck on an old pentium III for now with very little disk space and need to ecomomise it's disk space.
Any help is welcome.
PEACE,
billsmasher

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Generally
by Jimmy Greystone / September 18, 2008 12:40 PM PDT

Generally, yes, it is safe to delete them so long as you don't get some error message about the file being in use. However, aside from some obsessive compulsive anal retentive mentality about cleanliness, there's really no point to clearing them out. They don't hurt anything by being there, disk space is cheap and plentiful that we don't need to worry about a few stray MBs, and you can cause some problems by deleting a file that was still needed by some program.

As to why Windows doesn't clear them out... To Windows, they're just like any other file. They aren't any more or less significant than some word processing document you made, or the main executable file for that new game or software package. It's up to the programs to clean up after themselves, and as you can see, it's not something a lot of them do. If you think of it from the standpoint of the Windows programmers, how exactly are they supposed to be able to tell which temp files can be cleared out and which can't? Especially for programs they've never heard of, or haven't been released yet. Just because a file isn't in use at the moment doesn't mean it won't be in use later. The safest course of action for them is to just leave it up to the program developers, who frequently drop the ball.

Still, disk space is cheap and plentiful, so unless you have over 1GB of temp files, I wouldn't worry about it. Just leave 'em be, and spend your time on other things. Fun things.

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Reply to reply "Disk space is cheap"
by billsmasher / September 18, 2008 1:35 PM PDT
In reply to: Generally

Dear Jimmy,
Thanks for the time warp response. It's as I suspected, temporary doesn't mean temporary to code heads everywhere.System or gaming programers think differently than the rest of the population. Unfortunately, they've evolved into blatent polluters due to the "space is cheap" wastfull attitude you expressed. My windows drive has a total capacity of 2Gigs, with a virtual drive of another 4, for a whopping 6 gig total. So, disk space may be cheap but it ain't always available. The users who've had to adapt to limited space are the ones who really appreciate it's value. It's not so anal-retentive,etc to expect the creators of todays technology assisted codes to earn their six digit incomes and include simple subroutines separating,filing,and naming required files,regardless of frequency of use, from actual temporary working files to be cleand up and trashed,at the very least,at system shutdown.
PEACE,billsmasher
ps, To quote one of the greatest bands ever..."Really enjoyed gettin' it on"

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There are many potential reasons that ...
by Edward ODaniel / September 18, 2008 2:02 PM PDT

even a well coded application fails to delete its TEMP files (some of which are application or OS crashes).

It is rather easy however for the actual user (you in this case) to ensure the deletion of temp files whenever you feel like doing so with a rather simple command from the command prompt window -
del /s c:\*.tmp (deletes all not in use *.tmp files including those in subdirectories)
del /s c:\~*.* (deletes all not in use files beginning with a tilde including those in subdirectories)

Even easier to simply set it up as a batch file you can double click on on the desktop.

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For cryin out loud-DOS
by billsmasher / September 18, 2008 3:24 PM PDT

Oh yeah thanks Ed,
I appreciate your thoughtfulness and the prompt reply, but please. You confirm my point exactly with the simple suggestion that I, the user, supply the batch program. If it's such a simple thing why isn't similar routines supplied within the commercial products. But I've raved enough about lazy code heads. To return to your suggestion, couldn't I use windows and search for all files with a .tmp extention and delete all files found? Here's where I expose my stupidity and ask if you could elaborate on the creation of a "batch file", or how to make a .txt file act like a .exe file. I like the idea of the simple sounding desktop switch for cleaning house on my C drive.
May God bless those willing to learn and those eager help.
PEACE,
billsmasher

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Re: deleting all temp-files
by Kees Bakker / September 18, 2008 5:46 PM PDT
In reply to: For cryin out loud-DOS

There are several places for temp-files and certainly not all have a .tmp extension.

There's the Temporary Internet Files for example, that - normally - are cleaned from inside Internet Explorer or Control Panel>Internet Options.
There's c:\windows\temp. Mine contains .txt, .dat and .log files.
There's the Recycle Bin (has an option to clear itself).
There's the undo-folders for Windows update c:\windows\$NT*
There's the System Restore area (System Volume Information) that can only be cleared by turning system restore off.
There's the Documents and Settings/<username>/Local settings/Temp folder (that contains quite a lot of subfolders and files).

The general ways to keep the system tidy and clean:
- Delete files and folders from Windows Explorer or My Computer
- The Disc cleanup wizard does a good job
- The ccleaner-program (free download) does an even better job.
- Make your own batchfile if you prefer (I don't)

The idea for batchfiles is to write the necessary command-prompt commands in a file. Notepad is the usual tool to maintain it. The one thing to be careful with: select file type All Files (*.*) and use a filename that ends with .bat. With the default save as textfile, it will be saved as yourfile.bat.txt and that won't work.

Then once you have such a batchfile, just doubleclick it in Windows Explorer or My Computer to execute it.

To write the batch you need, knowing the workings of 2 commands is necessary
- cd
- del
And of course you should know the details of using folders, filenames, extensions and wildcards. And how to switch to another drive in your batchfile.

Generally, ccleaner does the job and there's no need to add anything yourself in a batchfile.

Kees

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Yes, you could use Windows ...
by Edward ODaniel / September 19, 2008 6:00 AM PDT
In reply to: For cryin out loud-DOS

file search functions to locate all the *.tmp files then select all and delete all BUT if any of the selected files is in use you get an error message and the deletion ends at that point. With the command line there is a message about the file in use but all the rest are deleted before the command halts.

As was noted, there are many "temporary" files with various file extensions such as *.log, *.dat, etc. and they too could be eliminated with a batch file BUT there are also several applications that make use of files with those extensions to recore application activities (such as install.log) and deleting the file causes problems down the road.

The two I mentioned are safe to delete and a batch file to delete them would be simply placing the commands into a text file created in NOTEPAD (or another text editor that does not include formatting characters) and saving it with a BAT extension.

Right click the desktop and select New | Text document. Now doubleclick that empty text file and it opens in your text editor.

Copy and paste these two bolded text commands into the file -
del /s c:\*.tmp
del /s c:\~*.*


Save the file and close it.

Select the file and RENAME IT something like DELTEMP.BAT

If you have other partitions/drives you simply add them to the batch file but DO NOT add removable drives that may or may not be present when running the batch file and that includes CD or DVD drives. Asssuming that you have a drive C:, and a Drive D: and CD_ROM drive E: and DVD drive F: your batch file would contain -

del /s c:\*.tmp
del /s c:\~*.*
del /s d:\*.tmp
del /s d:\~*.*


As I said, there are any number of reasons that even a well written application fails to perform housekeeping chores and many are beyond the ability of any programmer to rationally provide for. This batch file for instance can easily be included in your "Startup Folder" to ensure all TMP files are deleted before Windows even starts but I would not advise it because many applications, updates, patches, etc. require you to restart Windows before they can complete and they rely on some TMP files to finish the installation at boot time but would be unable to do so because the temp files were removed.

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Ummm...
by Jimmy Greystone / September 18, 2008 3:12 PM PDT

Ummm.... I think you're mistaken here. Programmers are paid absolutely crap wages most places. In fact, most of the coding done in the US is done by H1B visa workers who don't have to be paid the same wages as US Citizens. They're sort of like international temp workers, in that companies can pretty much have them deported on a whim and import a fresh batch any time they want. Some coding is obviously outsourced to countries like India and China where working conditions we would consider sweat shops are perfectly legal.

Even those US citizens who are able to find a job programming tend to make probably less than 50,000USD annually. Some of the lucky ones who got in early at places like Google might be worth quite a bit more on paper due to stock options, but their salaries are still probably not all that much better than someone who flips burgers for a living, despite generally having a 4 year degree, if not a graduate degree.

I doubt there's a coder out there who makes a six figure income.

In any case, while I may agree with you in principle, the reality of the situation is that most programs don't do a very good job of cleaning up after themselves. You can complain all you like, and you may well be entirely justified, but it doesn't change the fundamental reality of things. Things are the way they are, and all the complaining in the world won't change how things are right now.

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Outsourcing programers ...
by billsmasher / September 18, 2008 4:34 PM PDT
In reply to: Ummm...

Jim,
You're correct, I had no idea creating code was high risk employment.I hinted my thoughts on the probable decrease of the burden, bordom, and burnout of a programing career due to the assistance of twentyfirst century technology.The work has got to be more pleasent than writing FORTRAN or something. It's difficult for me to transform my idea of the VERY "White collar" programmer, a successful, intelligent graduate into a kind of "day laboror" or earning a fry cooks wage. Well, no wonder the work produced is a bit lacking! How did it turn out like that? As for the "that's just the way things are" remark, you should be ashamed of yourself. Why, given your presence here, and your obvious IT knowledge, you were once , most likley, an enthuestaic explorer type. Now you sound like a sod busting "settler". A political "Whole Earth Catalog" activist who by the turn of the century, probably doesn't even vote. p:} I'm kidding, of course, I don't even know you. I hope you understand my over reaction to the new reality you have put me wise to. I'll try to recover, but man it's like a bad acid trip or something...Appears machines really are taking over the world. Either that or it's Bill Gates, and both spell disaster.
What's a batch program look like?
To quote my departed Grandad:"I might not always be right, but I'm almost never wrong."
PEACE, and good night, tommorrow's a work day
billsmasher

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Deleting the Temp Files
by helljack6 / September 19, 2008 6:16 AM PDT

Aside from the cheesy remarks about low wage paid H1B visa riders doing all the programming, let me shed some programming light on you infidels.

Windows makes use of two different temp folders, C:\Windows\Temp and C:\Docs and Settings\User~\temp, also know as %temp% from the run line.

These two folders house any and all files of any and all nature that the system feels necessary to hang on to in the event that the system crashes, it can quickly recover files that were open during a crash, restart Internet explorer sessions from last viewed pages/tabs and the like.

ALSO, when ever you use any type of Instant Messaging program, or you have MS Outlook, or some other program that runs a scheduled cycle or function or scan, during that program's time of activity, it creates a temp file in either of or both of those locations in the event it can't complete, it knows where it left off at, what it was last doing....etc..... SO, pretty much ANYTHING you do on your computer under your username creates a temp file in a temp folder and that's literally all they are. Once the system recognizes that you're done using that file, it doesn't go back and delete them.

Now, for you smart guys out there trying to toss out codes for a batch file to delete these files from these folders that DON'T work, this is for you......you can't delete most of them because they have system locking handles on them that prevent the primary system from deleting them because they're probably still in use at some point. SO, like some of the other H1B low waged paid programmers, someone designed a program called File Unlocker 1.8.7 that removes the handles attached to locked files so you can continue to delete these files regardless of system usage. You should do your homework before spitting out random lines of code that don't work. Us H1B visa riders work hard at finding out and knowing the things you only speculate on.

To those out there, including the moderator of this forum, I personally took offense to the comment about the H1B visa low wage paid workers/programmer statement. If my post is inappropriate, perhaps you should lock this topic.

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For your education ...
by Edward ODaniel / September 19, 2008 11:43 AM PDT

you might try the deletion commands and discover for yourself that they do work (and have for many years) as they simply skip over any file that is actually in use. The one needing to do his "homework" is YOU!

For your further education many applications make use of their own directories rather than the global system Temp directory (default is %windir%\Temp but can be set anywhere desired as an environment variable) or the user's temp (again, the default is within the user's profile but that too can be set anywhere as an environment variable including the same location as the global temp directory) - Microsoft Office applications are fine examples of this.

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cheesy remarks
by billsmasher / September 19, 2008 1:22 PM PDT

Shoooot, I just touched my excape key by mistake and Zapped my post into obvilion. I was almost done, but here I go again with the same greeting.
BRAVO helljack6,
Express yourself, no fear. I'd be very dissapointed in our moderator if this thread was locked because a user posts an opinion. Besides, you had a lot to say. Like the purpose for some Temp files. Saving data to a Temp folder, for whatever reason, should be temporary. However these locations Bill has so uncharacteristicly included as a convience to programers, has become corrupted and overly polluted with files irresponsibly left undeleted containing data needed temporarily for programs to run and or recover successfully. Regardless of anyones opinion of programers, this lazyness has become the norm. Perhaps program efficiency is no longer an indication of quality and we should all go out and buy Apples.
P.S. thanks for the solution on running txt files. Hellfirs6, you say they don't work? Wots a the Deal?
bcinu,
billsmasher

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How?
by Jimmy Greystone / September 20, 2008 3:36 AM PDT

How did things get this way? Greed mostly. Why pay even $50,000/year + benefits to a US citizen when you can contract with some company in India that doesn't have to pay workers anything close to that?

We're all partly to blame too. Our cultural obsession with the lowest price is what fuels this. Rather than pay an extra 50 cents for something made in the US, we'll buy something made by near slave labor over in China or Viet Nam. I also tend to place a lot of blame on the stock market, which perpetuates this idea of making a quick buck, and ultimately forces corporate management to outsource all of this work in an effort to lower costs and meet quarterly projections.

But for the most part, I'm very pragmatic. I agree with you, and all, but I also realize that companies like Microsoft don't care about individual customers like you and me. They care about the Fortune 500 clients who represent the bulk of their annual revenues. We buy one or two licenses a year at most, so we are insignificant compared to companies that may buy licenses by the thousands every year.

I do have rather stringent standards that I keep to, and if some product fails to meet my needs, I have no problem dumping it for something that does. That's about all I really can do. If Program XYZ doesn't work, I'll give my money to the company that makes Progam ZYX that does.

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Deleting TEMP Files
by rfn109 / September 20, 2008 9:04 AM PDT

Not all temporary files are stored in the Temp folder,hence, deleting this will not ensure you that every temp files has been deleted. Here's some tips about deleting almost all of it.
First, close all programs that are running in the background including your anti-virus. Click Start, then Search (for XP Users, it's easier to use the Search Companion). In the Look In dialog box, choose c: drive, or if you have a multiple drives/partitions, select All Local Drives. Click the "More Advanced Options" and check the boxex - Search
System Folders, Search Hidden Files and Filders, and Search Subfolders. Then, in the box "All or part of the name file", type this: *.tmp,*.chk,~*.*
Once it finds all the files, hit Ctrl+a to select all files and then press the delete key. This will delete all temp and chk files from your system. Note that programs usually don't store critical files in these folders, so it's safe to delete. If you're not sure about this, leave the files in the Recycle Bin for a few days until you're sure that all is working properly, then you could delete it permanently.

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Bravo
by helljack6 / September 20, 2008 4:35 PM PDT
In reply to: Deleting TEMP Files

Excellent explaination in problem mediation and resolution. Simple, fast and to the point, that's what users need.

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What Users Need...
by Grif Thomas Forum moderator / September 21, 2008 10:46 AM PDT
In reply to: Bravo

This the "Computer HELP" forum and they expect to find help for their computer issues.... Please note that one of your posts above was removed due to a violation of the forum policies.. Personal attacks and name calling is not allowed..

Thank your for following the forum policies in the future.

Grif

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Personal Attacks?
by helljack6 / September 21, 2008 11:09 AM PDT
In reply to: What Users Need...

Don't you think that allowing forum posters to otherwise slam H1B visa workers and holding them responsible for the poor programming of the software that the forum posters are asking for help with in the first place isn't a personal attack? Perhaps you should have locked this thread the minute you allowed that to be said or at least removed that post as it was inappropriate, condescending and immature as well.

But the fact that called it the way I have seen it since i've been here, i'm the one getting my posts removed for violation of the forum policies, so it really is about us H1B visa workers having a say isn't it? Who's YOUR boss, i'd like him to see this forum posting and determine that you're NOT being unbiased. Lock the forum, remove my posts, there's other tech support forums out there on the internet that these people can go to for help.

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Not Relevant..
by Grif Thomas Forum moderator / September 21, 2008 11:50 AM PDT
In reply to: Personal Attacks?

The post you've mentioned wasn't directed at you, to anything you had posted at that time, or to any other person in this forum or thread.... (You only decided to join the topic AFTER the post mentioned was made.)

Your post on the other hand, WAS directed at specific individuals and violated forum policies.. Disagreement with another poster's statements and discussing your point of view is certainly allowed AS LONG AS it stays with forum rules.

And YES, the overall forum administrator sees EVERY post that is removed by the mods..

As mentioned earlier, thank you for following the forum policies in the future.

Grif

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Opposed to lock
by billsmasher / September 21, 2008 2:35 PM PDT
In reply to: Not Relevant..

Now my curiosity is just too much to say nothing. What the heck could helljack6 have said that caused his post to be removed? I'm not sure those who make the rules are aware of the mentality of their user base. I'd like to think we're all intelligent concerned individuals with a common purpose. That being the open communication among sensible people seeking advice and assistence and those willing to contribute. Allowing others to decide on what we're offended by? Sounds unAmerican to assign that power to anyone? I know, it's probably somewhere in the fine print of the sign-up page, but forbiding a post because of what was described as a policy violation, I, for one would like a further explaination.If, someone leaves the "topic" to comment on something they feel needs addressing,what "policy" could they be violating? As users, we should be given the opertunity to review these "rules" and "policies" and granted a say in their vallidity. An activist, I'm not. A patriot I remain. Why are we expected to ignore the Bill of Rights just to participate in this forum? Are it's founders proud of that? Who do they think they're protecting? And from what threat do they feel we need isolating from? I implore you to reconsider your actions, or at least adjust your thinking in the direction of creating a way to allow the people themselves to review and edit the policies they must abide by.
Disapointed, disillusioned, discusted, and denied,
billsmasher

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Forum Policies
by MarkFlax Forum moderator / September 21, 2008 9:15 PM PDT
In reply to: Opposed to lock

Hi Bill.

Forum Policies. The link is also in the column on the left, under the CNET Forums heading.

A member's post was deleted. If we were to reproduce any of the words used in the offending post, to satisfy the curiosity of those who wonder why, that would defeat the purpose of the deletion. So, I regret, but you will not see them posted again.

CNET runs a tight ship in these forums, and that is why you will see little of the language used, the advertising, image posting and signatures with links, that you might see in other forums. These are help forums, and CNET took the decision early on to keep the forums clean of any extraneous content that might detract from the advice that people seeking help with their computer and other technical problems are seeking. We like it that way, and so do the majority of the members here.

You mention the Bill of Rights. I am not a US citizen myself, (I live and work in the UK), and so the American Bill of Rights does not apply to me. These forums have many international members, and it is, therefore, difficult to apply the content and meaning of the Bill of Rights to all members.

But even if that was possible, even if the US Bill of Rights did apply to myself and to the other international members, I am not aware that your "Freedom of Speech" allows members to use inappropriate and/or offensive language against other members. Indeed, I suspect that common courtesy applies to US citizens as much as it does to anyone else, and that the US Bill of Rights does not include the inalienable right for people to be rude to each other, or otherwise use inappropriate or offensive language, in any context. I also suspect that the Founding Fathers, mainly Puritans if I remember my history correctly, certainly would not have included such rights when they were formulating the laws of the fledgling United States of America.

Perhaps I am wrong. But I think not.

You have asked that members here should be given the opportunity to review the rules and policies, and be granted a say in their validity. Those rules and policies are available for all to see, the link I provided is available for every member, and every visitor, and if any member feels that they need to comment on them, they are free to do so in a number of ways. The "Forum Feedback" forum is perhaps the best way for members to air their views, or there are other ways to contact CNET and say what they wish.

Just to close this off; CNET is proud of its forums, and the majority of the members, including us Moderators, are proud to be a part of them. This is due in no small part to the forums being a friendly and considerate place to be. We intend to keep the forums clean of anything that we consider to be inappropriate, and not conducive to the atmosphere of an exchange of ideas and a willingness of the members to help others.

I hope you understand this.

Mark

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Ouch......but maybe........
by helljack6 / September 22, 2008 1:24 AM PDT
In reply to: Forum Policies

Mark, I appreciate you doing your job as a moderator and normally don't have issues in forums with rules and whatnot. However, I would like to point out that my whole going off about what's been said in this forum, if not directed at me for me to respond, should have been addressed early on and identified that it was NOT me you were addressing, and I would have immediately dropped the issue.

I realize you probably aren't paid to be anyone's babysitter and I don't expect you to be. However, I do know that cnet.com is a United States company based out of California and thereby is subject to our laws in the US, where as you might not be due to residing and working in the UK. Since you are then working for a US company, it would be good of you to be familiar with the laws of the country that govern the company you work for so you don't infringe on the rights of the people in the country the laws apply to by using your own interpretation of YOUR country's laws in our country.

This isn't meant to be rude, mean or otherwise. It's meant to be a system of clarification. If someone in the United States said something derrogatory about H1B visa immigrants doing poor programming and that poor programing is the reason these forums now exist, In the US, that's our right. Such as it is our right to defend said statements to the contrary. You don't live in the United States, don't try to interpret our rights for us.

This is probably one of the biggest reasons why the US population majority has such a problem with big companies OUTSOURCING to other nations. Because how other nations do business may not always be how the US does buisness and that's what the American public wants, is to do business the way we do business, not the way someone in another country does business.

"....You mention the Bill of Rights. I am not a US citizen myself, (I live and work in the UK), and so the American Bill of Rights does not apply to me. These forums have many international members, and it is, therefore, difficult to apply the content and meaning of the Bill of Rights to all members....." <~~~Here, I think you've already crossed the line of being a moderator and have broken your own forum rules that you're suppose to enforce. Perhaps you should see yourself removed.

".....But even if that was possible, even if the US Bill of Rights did apply to myself and to the other international members, I am not aware that your "Freedom of Speech" allows members to use inappropriate and/or offensive language against other members. Indeed, I suspect that common courtesy applies to US citizens as much as it does to anyone else, and that the US Bill of Rights does not include the inalienable right for people to be rude to each other, or otherwise use inappropriate or offensive language, in any context......"<~~~~~ Again, don't go interpreting rights that don't apply to you, for us. The Bill of Rights, and Freedom of Speech gives each and every American the right to CHOOSE. Common courtesy, offensive language, it's a CHOICE. One by law that every US citizen is ALLOWED TO MAKE themselves. That's why we have the laws in Amercia that we have, to give citizens a CHOICE.

This should have never gone to a political posting, but after you decided to start breaking apart our Constitution and Bill of Rights, YOU have taken it down this path. Now you get to deal with the pissed off Americans of this forum whom you've probably done more than insulted, including myself.

I'd seriously think hard and consider whether or not it's in your best interest to post a reply at this point.

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continuation
by helljack6 / September 22, 2008 1:27 AM PDT

or offensive language, that's our CHOICE, that's our RIGHT, by the law, that Bill of Rights that you want to throw around so loosely.

This should have never gone political, but because it has, YOU have crossed a line and have now offended me, as an American, which I consider to be a direct personal attack against me, and my rights, which is a direct violation of THE FORUM policies YOU are suppose to enforce.

I would seriously think long and hard before posting a reply that could be misconstrued as disrespectful.

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Forum Policies Were Agreed To Upon Sign-up
by Grif Thomas Forum moderator / September 22, 2008 2:51 AM PDT
In reply to: Opposed to lock

... Each individual chooses whether they want to abide by those policies. And apparently you missed that the policies can be reviewed by each member by clicking on the "Forum Policies" link in the upper left of your page. Quite simply, being off topic (Topics of Discussion), using "Inappropriate language", "Harrassment or Flaming" which includes personal attacks, etc. are against the forum policies.

Interesting that you brought up the "patriot" and "Bill of Rights" thing.. Clearly, you know that such "freedom of speech" antics only go so far. You might want to read up on exactly when those rights apply in the U.S. This is a private forum with private rules which we all agreed to upon entering. Likewise, if I walk in your home and start calling your family names, or perform acts which you don't agree with, I'll be asked to leave the house and if I don't, you have the right to remove me using appropriate means.

It's a sad thing to see members banned because they can't follow the rules that they agreed to follow.

And unfortunately, since this entire thread has now turned to something completely different than your original question intended, (Deleting Temp files in the Windows Folder )and this forum is about "Computer Help", I'll lock it.

Hope this helps.

Grif

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