The cache or temporary files are a set of files that are stored on the system by various apps and programs to perform a task quicker. However over time, the accumulated cache might start to consume a lot of storage space and slow down the performance of your Windows 11 PC instead of helping it. Hence it’s recommended that you clear it periodically which might become a headache if you don’t know where to look for it.
Seeing this we’ve created an in-depth guide that explains why and how you should delete the system cache from any Windows 11 PC out in the wild and make it run smoother.
Why Should I Clear The Cache?
Honestly speaking deleting the system cache doesn’t come to mind unless you have a system with performance issues. However, as a matter of fact, clearing the system cache on a regular basis offers a huge number of benefits that can help your PC run much smoother in the long run by:
- Saving Precious Disk Space: If cache files are left untouched and allowed to accumulate for a while then they might start consuming a significant portion of your storage which otherwise might be useful to store your other important files.
- Improving performance: Clearing the cache also helps improve system performance as if you have many files stored on your drives Windows will have a hard time indexing and scanning through it which in turn could lead to slower load times and higher disk usage especially if you’re using a HDD (Hard Disk Drive) over an SSD (Solid State Drive).
- Error Prevention: Cache files can get corrupted over time, causing various errors, which sometimes can cause system crashes which can be prevented by clearing the cache regularly.
Now that you understand the importance and inherent benefits of clearing the system cache, let’s have a look at the different methods that you can use to do that.
Clear Cache in Windows 11
Frustratingly enough, the system cache isn’t stored in one location on the system where it can be selected and deleted in a single go. You see Windows 11 or any other version of Windows that came before it, all of them store the system cache which consists of previous installation/update files, temporary internet files and so on in a different location than where it stores the app cache in order to support a security mechanism called as system restore point that allow you to revert any new software update to a earlier stage without messing with the apps or their files. This means there are two places where you might have to look at as shown below:
Clearing System Cache Within Settings
The easiest way to clear system cache in Windows 11 is through Settings or its legacy disk cleanup app. However to keep this quicker we will be focusing on how to get it done using Windows 11’s native settings app as shown in the following steps:
- Open the Settings app and go to System settings page
- On the System settings page click on Storage.
- Clicking on Storage will take you to the Storage settings page which, after loading for a few moments shows and bifurcates the storage used by various types of files according to its location.
- In there click on temporary files section to uncover more information about it’s composition and unused files that are safe to remove.
- Upon entering the Temporary Files page you will be given the choice to select which files you want to get rid of using the check boxes. (Be careful to not select your downloads folder)
- Once selected, click on the Remove files button followed by the continue button to start the cache removal process. This might take some time depending on weather you’re using a fast SSD versus a much slower HDD.
However, it should be noted that if you choose to delete the previous Windows installations you might lose the ability to revert your system to a earlier version of Windows 11 if you’ve installed a new Windows update within 10 days (the time period before Windows automatically deletes previous installation files).
Clearing App Cache Using a Run Command
When you use an app on your Windows 11 PC, it stores its cached files in the temporary folder, also known as the Temp folder. But, sometimes, the apps don’t clean up these files and start taking up a significant amount of storage, eventually leading us to intervene and manually clear the app cache as shown in the steps below:
- Open the Run window using the “Win + R” keyboard shortcut. Now, type
%tmp%and press Enter.
- Under the “Temp” folder, select everything you see and delete it. You won’t be able to delete some of these files as they might be in use by some active apps, so you can leave them out. This method will clear most of the app cache on your Windows 11 PC. However, we recommend deleting the temp files only when you’re having major slowdowns or misbehaving apps as this might remove the list of recently opened files within some applications such as Adobe Photoshop and After Effects.
That said, as shown in the images below I was able to clear around 20GBs of useless data from my PC with the help of these steps; which if left would have eaten my precious storage space while slowing down my computer.
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