Where to Find Internet Explorer's Temporary Internet 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.

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

How Do I Access My Temporary Internet Files?

Internet Explorer has a default location where temporary internet files are stored. It should be these two folders (where the "[username]" part is your own username):

C:\Windows\Downloaded Program Files

The first one is the location where the temporary files are stored. You can not only see all the temporary internet files but also sort them by filename, URL, file extension, size and various dates. The second 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 the settings described below.

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

How to Change IE's Temporary Internet File Settings

Through Internet Explorer's Internet Options page, you can change how often IE will check for cached website pages as well as how much storage can be reserved for temporary files.

  1. Open Internet Options. 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, click the Settings button in the Browsing history section.

  3. The Temporary Internet Files tab holds all the different settings for this feature.

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).

You can also change the folder in the location where 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.

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.