Remember to clean out your temporary files.

Well, its been an interesting couple of days. Earlier this week my machine just started “going nuts” when it stopped being able to perform the simplest tasks:

  • Open legacy Word documents (.doc files).
  • Open legacy Excel documents (.xls files).
  • Install updates to Windows Live Messenger.
  • Pull back and sort the list of Windows Live Messenger contacts.
  • Post content to this blog using Windows Live Writer.
  • My start menu was telling me it couldn’t display all the items.
  • Other odd stuff….

Today I finally got the sh*ts with it and decided to figure out what was going wrong. It turns out that all these things were related to my TEMP folder having too many files. My %TEMP% folder was sitting at about 9.6GB and my suspicion is that Windows was actually having trouble allocating temporary file names, as a result, all of the operations above which tend to require temporary files started to fall over.

It took me about ten minutes to delete the files (boy does my disk need a defrag) but everything seems to be working correctly again. The problem with this particular problem is that it manifests itself as lots of seemingly unrelated things and things kinda keep working. I suspect only very heavy computer users see this problem because you need to allocate ALOT of files to run out of temporary filenames (I had about 65,000+ temporary files).

Oh well – I might of held off a rebuild for another couple of months…

2 thoughts on “Remember to clean out your temporary files.

  1. Jason

    It’s a shame that out of the box Windows doesn’t wipe out %TEMP% on reboot or delete files older than a few days.

    Writing programs to remember to clean up their own temp files can be tedious as it is.

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