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Alter the "LastAccess" value for cleaning the Temporary files using Disk Cleanup utility

Published: April 23, 2005
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Symptom

When you use the Disk Cleanup utility (cleanmgr.exe) to delete the files in %TEMP% folder, some of the files may not be deleted by the utility.

Cause

For temporary files cleanup, the Disk Cleanup utility does not delete files which have been accessed in the last 7 days.

Resolution

You can configure Disk Cleanup utility such that it deletes all the files in the %TEMP% folder, irrespective of the last accessed date. To do so, alter the LastAccess value in this registry key:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \ SOFTWARE \ Microsoft \ Windows \ CurrentVersion \ Explorer \ VolumeCaches \ Temporary Files

MSDN article Creating a Disk Cleanup Handler explains the LastAccess registry value as follows:

The number of days that must have elapsed since a file was last accessed or a directory was created for that file or directory to be considered for cleanup.

Modifying the LastAccess value

  • Click Start, Run and type Regedit.exe
  • Navigate to the above registry key
  • Backup the key to a REG file
  • Modify the LastAccess value accordingly

Note that the default LastAccess value is 7 for Temporary files cleanup. You can change it to 4 or 5 (days). Setting it to 0 removes all the files in the folder.

Related article

Automate Disk Cleanup in Windows XP