How to Move IE Temporary Internet Files Folder to Default Location

In Windows 10, 8, 7, Vista, and XP

By default, the Temporary Internet Files folder in Internet Explorer is buried deep within several folders. As the name would suggest, the IE browser uses this folder to store temporary internet files.

If for some reason the location of that folder has moved—like due to a malware issue or a change you made yourself—some very specific issues and error messages can occur, the ieframe.dll DLL error being a common example.

Moving this folder back to its default location is easy through Internet Explorer's own settings, so you don't have to remove and reinstall Internet Explorer or reset all of its options.

If you don't remember changing this folder location yourself, and especially if your computer is behaving abnormally, be sure to run a malware scan to remove any potentially unwanted program that could have changed the folder location without you knowing.

These steps work on Windows 10 through Windows XP, but there are differences to be aware of, so those are mentioned below.

Reset the Internet Files Folder to Its Default Location

  1. Configure Windows to show hidden files and folders. Some steps below require that hidden folders are viewable, so this prerequisite is a must-do.

  2. Open the Run dialog box with the WIN+R shortcut.

  3. Type inetcpl.cpl in the text box, and then press OK.

  4. Select Settings from the Browsing history section.

    Windows 10 Internet Properties settings button
  5. Choose Move folder at the bottom of the window.

  6. Select the down arrow or plus sign (whichever you see) next to the C: drive to open that folder.

    Browse for Folder window in Internet Properties for Windows 10
  7. Select the arrow or plus sign next to Users, or Documents and Settings if you see that, followed by the folder corresponding to your username. For example, I would expand the folder Tim since that's my username.

  8. Navigate to the default folder Internet Explorer uses to store temporary internet files:

    Windows 10 and 8:

    C:\Users\[username]\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\iNetCache\

    Internet Explorer temporary internet files folder in Windows 10

    Windows 7 and Vista:

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

    Windows XP:

    C:\Documents and Settings\[username]\Local Settings\

    Once you've landed on the last folder in the path you see above, just highlight it, you don't need to select the arrow or plus sign next to it.

    Don't see the right folder? Windows may not be configured to show hidden files and folders, or you might need to also show protected operating system files. See Step 1 above for more information. If you complete Step 1 now, you have to jump back to Step 5 to refresh the folders.

  9. Select OK in the Browse for Folder window, and then again in the other window.

  10. Select Yes if prompted to log off to finish moving temporary internet files.

    Your computer will immediately log off, so be sure to save and close any files you might be working in before choosing Yes.

  11. Log back onto Windows and test to see if returning the Temporary Internet Files folder to its default location has solved your problem.

  12. Configure Windows to hide hidden files and folders. These steps demonstrate how to hide hidden files from normal view, undoing the steps you took in Step 1.

Another way to make this change is to use the Windows Registry. It's much easier to use Internet Explorer as described above, but if you can't for some reason, try this method.

  1. Navigate to the HKEY_CURRENT_USER hive and then follow this path:

    Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\User Shell Folders
  2. Double-click Cache on the right side of Registry Editor.

  3. Type the correct value for your version of Windows:

    Windows 10 and 8:

    %USERPROFILE%\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\iNetCache\

    User Shell Folders Cache registry entry in Windows 10

    Windows 7 and Vista:

    %USERPROFILE%\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Temporary Internet Files

    Windows XP:

    %USERPROFILE%\Local Settings\Temporary Internet Files

  4. Select OK.

  5. Repeat Steps 3–5 but under this path, also in the HKEY_CURRENT_USER hive:

    Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Shell Folders

  6. Close Registry Editor.

Still Can't Change the Folder?

If after making the changes above, the location of the Temporary Internet Files folder still won't change, even after a reboot, there are a couple of things to look at that could be the cause.

For starters, check that your antivirus program is running and actively scanning to catch malware. It's possible that a virus on your computer is to blame for these settings not changing when you tell them to.

With that being said, some antivirus programs are over-protective of the registry and will prevent changes, so even if you're making the change yourself, the antivirus program might be blocking your attempts. If you're sure you're not currently suffering from malware, temporarily disable your antivirus program and try again.

If the folder can be altered while your antivirus program is off, reboot and check again just to be sure. If the new folder location stays, turn your security software back on. The change you made should stick since the antivirus program wasn't active during the change.