Where to Find Internet Explorer's Temporary Internet Files

Reset the temp files folder location or view temporary files

Computer File Search
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Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE) uses temporary internet files to store copies of web content on the local hard drive. While it's useful for improving network performance, it can quickly fill the hard drive with large amounts of unwanted data.

If your computer has lots of random images and other temporary internet files from Internet Explorer, you can delete them to clean up space and maybe even speed up IE.

Temporary internet files in Internet Explorer are not the same as the temporary files in Windows.

These directions are relevant for Internet Explorer in Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista, and Windows XP.

IE Temporary Internet Files Location

Internet Explorer has a default location where temporary internet files are stored. Depending on your operating system, temp files should be in one of these three locations:

C:\Users\[username]\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Temporary Internet Files
C:\Documents and Settings\[username]\Local Settings\Temporary Internet Files

You can not only see all the temporary internet files but also sort them by the file's name, address, file extension, size, and various dates.

The first temp files location is relevant in Windows 10 and Windows 8, the second is where temporary internet files are stored in Windows 7 and Windows Vista, and the third folder is where Windows XP IE temp internet files are stored.

The [username] part of these locations should be replaced with your own username.

C:\Windows\Downloaded Program Files

This last folder is where downloaded program files can be found.

However, if you don't see these folders, it's possible that they've been changed. You can see which folders your computer is using by accessing the settings described below.

Temporary internet files are different from web browser cookies, and are stored in a separate folder.

How to Access the Settings for Temp Internet Files

All of the temporary internet files settings can be accessed through Internet Explorer's Internet Options screen. This is where you can not only change the temporary internet files folder location but also adjust how often IE will check for cached website pages and how much storage can be reserved for temp files.

  1. Open Internet Options.

    Network and Internet Control Panel screen in Windows 8

    You can do this through Control Panel (Network and Internet > Internet Options), the Run dialog box or Command Prompt (inetcpl.cpl command), or Internet Explorer (Tools > Internet options).

  2. From the General tab, select Settings in the Browsing history section.

    Internet Properties screen in Windows 8
  3. Select the Temporary Internet Files tab (if you see it) to access the different options you have when dealing with temp files in Internet Explorer.

The Check for newer versions of stored pages option lets you pick how often Internet Explorer should look in the temporary internet files folder for cached pages. More frequent checks should, in theory, speed up access to websites. The default option is Automatically but you can change it to Every time I visit the webpage, Every time I start Internet Explorer, or Never.

Another option you can change here is how much storage space is allowed for temporary internet files. You can pick anything from 8 MB to 1,024 MB (1 GB), but Microsoft recommends setting the disk space usage from 50–250 MB.

You can also change the folder in which IE keeps temporary internet files. This is useful if you'd like to store the cached pages, images, and other files on a different hard drive that has more space, like maybe an external hard drive. To do that, select Move folder and then pick which folder to use for temp files.

The other buttons in this Website Data Settings screen are for viewing the objects and files that IE has stored. These are the folders mentioned above.