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How to Completely Clear All Cache in Windows 10

Windows 10 operating system has different caches depending on the functionality. Here are the steps to follow to clear all cache types in Windows 10.

Considering how big Windows is, it has several different caches for various functionality. The cache helps your system run faster and smoother. Often, the cache even helps Windows launch frequent applications faster. However, when one or more cache types get corrupted, Windows can sometimes behave oddly or run not-so-smooth. There might be any number of reasons for the corrupted cache. This includes but not limited to sudden power failure, corrupted program, failed uninstallation, etc.

No matter the reason, if you think the Windows cache is causing unnecessary problems, you can clear it pretty easily. Since Windows has several different caches, follow the steps shown below one after the other to clear all cache in Windows 10.

Jump to:

1. First, Clear Local Temp Cache (%temp% folder)

Windows stores a lot of cache files in the Local Temp folder. You can easily clear them as and when needed. All you have to do is just delete the files from the temp folder.

  1. First, open the Windows File Explorer with “Win + E” keybinding.
  2. Type “%temp%” in the address bar and press Enter.
  3. Select all the folders and files in the temp folder with “Ctrl + A” keybinding.
  4. Press the “Delete” key on your keyboard to delete all those files and folders.

Note: If you see a warning message or admin prompt, press “Yes” or “Continue“.

As soon as you press the Del button, Windows will delete all the local temp files and folders. If some files are in use, Windows will not delete them and shows an error message. It is perfectly fine. Ignore the files/folders you cannot delete and proceed with the rest.

2. Next, Clear Windows Temp Cache

Along with the Local Temp folder, you can also find another temp folder in the main Windows folder. Deleting the files in that folder will clear Windows temp cache.

  1. Press the “Win + R” key binding.
  2. After opening the Run window, type “temp” and click “Ok“.
  3. Select all the files and folder and press “Delete“.
  4. If you see a warning message, click “Yes” or “Continue“.

As soon as you confirm the action, the Windows temp files are cleared. If any files are in use, Windows cannot delete them. It is normal. Just delete what you can in the temp folder and close File Explorer.

3. After that, Clear Prefetch Cache

Prefetch is a system folder that caches the files related to the programs you launch or run on a daily basis. The Prefetch folder makes the programs start faster thanks to the Windows caching mechanism.

By default, the Prefetch folder is self-maintaining. i.e, Windows takes care of what cache files to delete and when to delete. However, when needed, you can manually delete the Prefetch cache files.

  1. Press “Win + R” shortcut on your keyboard.
  2. Type “prefetch” in the Run window and press “Enter“.
  3. If you see a warning message, press “Continue“.
  4. Now, select all the files and folders with “Ctrl + A” keybinding.
  5. Press the “Delete” key to delete the files.
  6. If you see a confirmation window, press “Yes“.

Once you confirm the action, Windows will delete the prefetch files. If some files are in use, Windows might not be able to delete them. Ignore those files and delete the rest.

Do keep in mind that once the Prefetch cache files are deleted, the programs might take a tiny bit longer to start for the first time.

4. Delete Windows Update Cache

Windows update stores all the downloaded updates and cache files in a special folder called Software Distribution. Sometimes, this folder can consume more than 10GBs at a time. If this folder got corrupted, you might not be able to update Windows properly.

Here are the steps to clear the Windows update cache folder in Windows 10.

  1. Open the Run window (Win + R).
  2. Enter “C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution” in the dialog box and click “Ok“.
  3. Go to the “Download” folder.
  4. Click the “Continue” button if you see a permission window.
  5. Select all the files and folders and press the “Delete” key to delete them.

That is all.

5. Proceed to Clear Windows Store Cache

Like with many things, the Microsoft Store in Windows 10 also has its own cache. If the cache is corrupted, you will face problems installing apps from the store. You can clear Windows store cache using the wsreset command.

  1. Open the Start menu.
  2. Type “Command Prompt“.
  3. Right-click on the Command Prompt result and select “Run as administrator“.
  4. In the CMD window, type “wsreset” and press “Enter“.

As soon as you execute the command, Windows will clear the Microsoft Store cache and completely reset the store app.

Related: How to reinstall Microsoft store in Windows 10

6. Clear DNS Cache Completely

Since we want to clear all cache in Windows 10, it is better to flush the DNS too. Here’s how.

  1. Press “Win + R” to open the Run window.
  2. Type “cmd” and press “Enter“.
  3. Execute the “ipconfig /flushdns” cmd in the Command Prompt window.

As soon as you execute the command, Windows will completely clear the DNS cache.

7. Delete Icon and Thumbnail Cache

Every thumbnail and icon you see in Windows is cached in their respective folders. These are called as icon cache and thumbnail cache folders. This cache makes it so that the icons and thumbnails load faster without having to regenerate every time you open the File Explorer.

  1. Open the Start menu.
  2. Type “CMD” in the search bar.
  3. Right-click on “Command Prompt” and select the “Run as administrator” option.
  4. In the CMD window, execute the below command.
    cd %homepath%\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Explorer
  5. Now, end the Windows Explorer process using the below command. Your taskbar and desktop might go blank. It is normal.
    taskkill /f /im explorer.exe
  6. Next, execute the below command delete icon cache.
    del iconcache*
  7. Now, execute this command to delete thumbnail cache.
    del thumbcache_*.db
  8. After clearing the icon and thumbnail cache, start Windows Explorer using the below command.
  9. Close the Command Prompt window.

With the above actions, you’ve successfully cleared both icon and thumbnail caches.

That is all. By following all the above steps, you’ve successfully cleared all cache in Windows 10. I hope that helps. If you are stuck or need some help, comment below and I will try to help as much as possible.

3 thoughts on “How to Completely Clear All Cache in Windows 10”

  1. Avatar for Zot Barazzotto

    I didn’t set up the computer (a Beelink) but the command prompt is C:\Users\19373>

    The good news is that “taskkill /f /im explorer.exe” worked and returned “SUCCESS: The process “explorer.exe” with PID 9504 has been terminated.”

    When I put the next command in from the same prompt “C:\User\19373>del iconcache*” the command fails and returns error message “Could not find C:\User\19373>del iconcache*”

    Same basic message with “C:\User\19373>del iconcache_*.db” Could not find “C:\User\19373>del iconcache_*.db”

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