On a Windows PC, not all of the space is available to the user for their files and part of the disk is used for the cache of temporary files . Caches are special system folders where files are saved to make uploads faster.
The most classic of the caches is that of the web browser, where files downloaded from websites are saved so that, if they happen again in those same websites, it is not necessary to reload them from scratch. But this is only one of the hidden caches on a Windows PC and you may be surprised by the amount of space these temporary file folders occupy and how much information, even personal, is kept. In general, cache files are useful for speeding up system performance but it is always advisable to delete them at regular intervals, so as to have more disk space and speed up the execution of programs and Internet browsing.
In the following guide we will show you how to clear the main Windows caches so that you know how to clear all their content when necessary without having to use third-party cleaning programs, since Windows already offers everything you need to perform this type of cleaning .
1) System temporary files
Windows has a system folder where all temporary files are stored. Generally speaking, these temporary files are created while using programs such as Word and are then automatically deleted when that program is closed. However, this does not always happen correctly and, over time, the temporary files folder can grow and increase the space occupied.
Open the Start menu, search for Cleanup to find the utility that frees up disk space by deleting unnecessary files and launch it.
When prompted, select the drive where Windows is installed (usually C :), wait for the analysis and, in the window that appears, select the temporary files and press OK .
2) Cache of image thumbnails
Whenever we open a folder with photos and images, Windows creates a file that contains thumbnails of these files, ie thumbnails of the images that appear small inside a folder. This is also the case for video files, when a preview frame is shown.
Thanks to this cache, if you open a folder full of images, you won’t have to wait a long time to see all the previews, which otherwise would have to load again every time. This feature is very useful but it is advisable to delete this thumbnail cache every 2-3 months to avoid it becoming too large and difficult to manage even for the most powerful PC.
To clear the image thumbnail cache, open the Disk Cleanup toolseen in the previous chapter, we select the main disk, uncheck all the boxes except the one called Preview and press OK.
3) Restore points
The System Restore it is one of the emergency functions of useful Windows, to quickly resolve problems and sudden errors. Just in case we urgently need to free up disk space, we can recover a lot of space by deleting files created with restore points.
To quickly delete the restore points, open the Disk Cleanup tool seen a little while ago, press down on System File Cleanup , run a new scan, press More Options at the top and finally click Run Cleanup in the System Restore and Copies section shadow .
If, on the other hand, the restore point files tend to be too large we can reduce their number by configuring the size of the system restore .
4) Browser cache
5) Windows Update Cache
Windows keeps a cache of all Windows Update files, which can come in handy in case you need to reinstall an update. In some cases the Windows update can be very large and take up several GB of space , which we can periodically recover (as soon as we realize that the update was successful).
To clear the Windows Update cache, go to the C: \ Windows \ SoftwareDistribution \ Download folder and delete all the contents inside.
6) Microsoft Store cache
One of the biggest changes in Windows 10 and Windows 11 is the Microsoft Store where you can download applications. Of course, Windows stores information about downloads made through the Windows Store. In case of problems with the store or to recover space, you can clear the cache of the Microsoft Store with an internal tool in Windows called WSReset.exe .
To use it, open a Run window by pressing the Windows + R keys together , write WSReset.exe in the text field and press OK to make the changes effective.
7) DNS cache
When you access a website, your computer asks a network of servers called the Domain Name System where that site is located. . What interests us now is the fact that Windows temporarily stores the requested sites with any browser in a text file which is the DNS Cache.
Clearing the DNS cache can fix any connection problems and completely eliminate traces of what you have seen on the internet. To do this we open the Start menu, look for the command prompt (also typing CMD), press the right button on the executable, choose Run as administrator and, in the new window that opens, type:
ipconfig / flushdns We confirm with the Enter or Enter key on the keyboard. Now the DNS cache is empty and all traces of our browsing are deleted.
8) Font Cache
Windows uses a folder to store the cache of fonts used by programs and browsers. If this folder becomes saturated or corrupted, the selected fonts cannot be opened correctly. To remedy this, open the Start menu, type Services , identify the Windows font cache service , press on it with the right button and choose the Stop item .
After blocking the font service let’s go to the C: \ Windows \ ServiceProfiles \ LocalService \ AppData \ Localfolder by opening each part of the path manually (unlocking the hidden Windows folders ), delete the .dat filesthat we find inside and delete all the contents present in the FontCache folder . At the end, just restart the computer for the changes to take effect.
Clearing all computer caches will help us keep the computer clean and fast over time, also erasing traces of programs and sites visited. Except for DNS Cache all other Windows cache files and even those of other used programs can be deleted in one go using a program like CCleaner , useful to keep the PC clean of useless stuff.
On Windows 10 and Windows 11 we can also use the Memory Sense to keep the hard drive free , automatically deleting unnecessary files.