How to Clear Cache on Windows 11

You may notice your device running a little slower than usual from time to time. One way to help speed it up is by clearing the cache. Cache is a temporary storage location for files downloaded by your device. Over time, this cache can become full and slow down your device or even cause errors. This guide will show you how to clear the cache on Windows 11.

Note: The cache is simply a temporary storage location for files. Clearing it will not delete any of your data or files.

Delete Cache Using Disk Cleanup

Disk Cleanup is a utility for Windows that can clean up a lot of the junk accumulated over time, including cache.

Note: Each file has a brief description. Make sure to read the descriptions before deleting anything.

  1. Press the Windows key + R to open the Run dialog box.
  2. Type “cleanmgr” into the box and press Enter.

    Type cleanmgr.
    Type cleanmgr.
  3. This will open the Disk Cleanup utility. Select the drive you want to clean and click OK.

    Select the drive you want to clean.
    Select the drive you want to clean.
  4. Click the checkboxes for the files you want to delete and click OK.
Click the checkboxes for the files you want to delete.
Click the checkboxes for the files you want to delete.

Delete Temporary (%temp%) Cache Files

Temporary cache files are created by programs when they are running. When you open a program, it loads various files into memory. These files are stored on your drive in the “temporary cache.” The location of this folder is hidden, but we can access it through a command prompt or by simply opening the temp folder in the start menu.

  1. Navigate to the start menu, type “%temp%” into the search bar, and press Enter.

    Type %temp%
    Type %temp%
  2. This will open the temp folder, which contains all the temporary files on your computer.
  3. Click Ctrl+ A to select all the files in the folder and then press the Delete key to delete them.

    Click Ctrl+ A to select all the files then delete them.
    Click Ctrl+ A to select all the files, then delete them.
  4. A pop-up window will appear. Check Do this for all current items, then click Continue.
A pop-up window will appear, click the Do this for all current items checkbox, then click Continue.
Click Continue.

Clear Temporary Files in System Storage

System storage is a location on your hard drive where Windows stores temporary files. These files are not necessarily from programs but are system files used by Windows. Some cache files may be found in your storage settings.

Note: Each file has a brief description. Make sure to read the descriptions before deleting anything.

  1. Search for “storage settings” in the start menu and open the Storage settings application.

    Open the Storage settings application.
    Open the Storage settings application.
  2. In the Storage settings application, select the Temporary files option.

    Select the Temporary files option.
    Select the Temporary files option.
  3. In the Temporary files window, click the checkboxes for the files you want to delete and click the Remove files button.
Click the checkboxes for the files you want to delete and then click the Remove files button.
Click the checkboxes for the files you want to delete and click the Remove files button.

Clear File Explorer Cache

When you open a folder in File Explorer, Windows stores a cache of thumbnails and metadata for that folder. If you frequently access the same folder, the Explorer cache can speed up the process by displaying thumbnails and metadata from the cache instead of generating a new one each time.

However, the Explorer cache can also become outdated if the files in the folder change frequently. In that case, it can slow down your workflow because you might see outdated thumbnails or metadata.

  1. Press the Windows key + E to open File Explorer.
  2. In the File Explorer window, click the three dots located near the top of the File Explorer window.

    Click the three dots icon.
    Click the three dots icon.
  3. Click Options to open Folder Options.

    Click Options.
    Click Options.
  4. In the Folder Options window, go to the Privacy section and click the Clear button.

    Click the Clear button.
    Click the Clear button.

Flush the DNS cache

DNS is the Domain Name System. It’s a network protocol that translates human-readable website names into computer-readable IP addresses. When you visit a website, your computer will first look in its DNS cache to see if it has the IP address of that website saved. It will load the website from that cached IP address if it does. If it doesn’t, it will query the DNS server to get the IP address and then load the website. Over time, the DNS cache can become outdated or polluted with incorrect entries. This can cause issues when trying to load websites. To fix this, we can flush the DNS cache, which will clear all the entries in the cache and force your computer to query the DNS server for the correct IP address.

  1. Press the Windows key + R to open the Run dialog box.
  2. Type “cmd” and press Enter. This will open the command prompt.

    Open the Command Prompt.
    Open the Command Prompt.
  3. In the command prompt, type the following command and press Enter.
    ipconfig /flushdns

    The ipconfig /flushdns command.
    The ipconfig /flushdns command.
  4. This will flush the DNS cache. 

Delete Prefetch Files

Prefetch files are used to make Windows startup faster. Most modern CPUs have fast and local cache memory, in which prefetched data is kept until needed. In other words, prefetching fills the cache with data that has not been requested yet. In some cases, prefetch files can become corrupted, leading to performance issues. To fix this, you can delete your prefetch files.

Note: After deleting the prefetch files, you may notice a slight decrease in the speed of your PC. This is normal and will go away after a few startups.

  1. Press the Windows key + R to open the Run dialog box.
  2. Type “prefetch” and click Enter.

    Search for prefetch.
    Search for prefetch.
  3. This will open the Prefetch folder. Select all the files in the folder and delete them.

    Select all the files in the Prefetch folder and delete them.
    Select all the files in the Prefetch folder and delete them.

Clear System Restore Cache

System Restore is a Windows feature that can fix specific system problems. It works by creating a restore point, which is a snapshot of your system’s files and settings at a particular point in time. If you experience a problem after changing your system, you can use System Restore to revert your system to a previous state. System Restore points are stored in a hidden folder called _restore. If this folder becomes corrupted, it can cause System Restore to fail. One way to fix this is to delete the contents of the _restore folder.

Note: This method will delete all existing restore points, so you should create a new one after doing this.

  1. In the search menu, type “restore” and click Create a restore point.

    Click the Create a restore point icon.
    Click the Create a restore point icon.
  2. In the System Properties window, go to the System Protection tab and click the Configure button.

    Click the Configure button.
    Click the Configure button.
  3. In the Configure window, click the Delete button.

    Click the Delete button.
    Click the Delete button.
  4. You will now see a warning message saying all existing restore points will be deleted. If you are sure, click Continue.

    Click Continue.
    Click Continue.

Clear Microsoft Store Cache

Microsoft Store also has a cache that can become corrupted and lead to performance issues. Occasionally, you may encounter difficulties while downloading Windows Store applications on your PC or attempting to install or update them. In such a case, the best thing you can do is clear the Microsoft Store cache.

  1. Press the Windows key + R to open the Run dialog box.
  2. Type “wsreset” into the box and press Enter.

    Type wsreset.
    Type wsreset.
  3. This will clear the Microsoft Store’s cache and hopefully fix any issues you were having with it.
  4. Note: This will also sign you out of your Microsoft account, so you must sign back in.

Clear the Display Cache

Windows uses display cache to keep track of information such as your current resolution or color mode. However, this data can become outdated or corrupt, which can cause problems with your display.

  1. Type in “registry editor” in the search menu and click the first result.

    Open the Registry Editor.
    Open the Registry Editor.
  2. In the Registry Editor window, open the following folder in the list.
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\GraphicsDrivers
  3. Right-click the Configuration key and click Delete.

    Delete the Configuration key.
    Delete the Configuration key.
  4. Do the same step for the Connectivity and ScaleFactors keys.

    Delete the Connectivity and ScaleFactors keys.
    Delete the Connectivity and ScaleFactors keys.
  5. Close the Registry Editor window and restart your computer.

Automatically Delete Cache With Storage Sense

Windows 11 includes a Storage Sense feature that can automatically delete temporary and unneeded files to free up space.

  1. Press the Windows key + I to open the Settings app.
  2. Click System > Storage.

    Click System > Storage.
    Click System > Storage.
  3. Under the Storage management section, select Storage Sense.

    Select Storage Sense.
    Select Storage Sense.
  4. Under Automatic User content cleanup, switch the toggle to On.

    Switch the toggle to On.
    Switch the toggle to On.
  5. The Configure cleanup schedules options now appear. Under each of them, select the time when you want the cleanup to happen.

    Select the time when you want the cleanup to happen.
    Select the time when you want the cleanup to happen.

Clear Clipboard Cache

The clipboard is a temporary storage area for items you copied. These items are stored in the clipboard until you paste them somewhere else. If you find that the clipboard is not working correctly, you can try to clear the clipboard cache.

  1. Search for “clipboard settings” in the search menu and click it.

    Click the Clipboard settings icon.
    Click the Clipboard settings icon.
  2. In the Clipboard settings window, select the Clear button.
Click the Clear button.
Click the Clear button.

Clear Your Activity History

Activity history is a log of your activities on your PC, including webpages you’ve visited, files you’ve opened, and apps you’ve used. Clearing your activity history can help keep your browsing private from others who use the same device.

  1. Press the Windows key + I to open the Settings app.
  2. Click Privacy & security.

    Click Privacy & Security.
    Click Privacy & security.
  3. Scroll down to Activity history and click it.

    Click the Activity history icon.
    Click the Activity history icon.
  4. Click the Clear button under the Clear activity history section.

    Click the Clear button.
    Click the Clear button.

Note: You can also prevent Windows from storing your activity history by unchecking the Store my activity history on this device option.

Uncheck the Store my activity history on this device option.
Uncheck the Store my activity history on this device option.

Clear Web Browser Cache

Web browser cache is a temporary storage location on your computer for files downloaded by your web browser. The purpose of the cache is to help your web browser load websites faster. When you visit a website, your browser will download files and store them in the cache. This allows it to load more quickly the next time you visit it. However, web browser cache can sometimes cause problems. For example, it can slow down your browser, cause errors, or prevent you from seeing updates to a website. To fix this, you can clear the web browser cache.

Clear Google Chrome Cache

  1. Open Google Chrome and click on the three dots in the top right corner.
  2. Click More tools and then Clear browsing data…

    Click More tools and then Clear browsing data…
    Click More tools and then Clear browsing data…
  3. Select the time range you want to clear the cache for. For example, select Last 7 days if you want to clear the cache for the last week.

    Select the time range you want to clear the cache for.
    Select the time range you want to clear the cache for.
  4. Ensure that the Cached images and files option is the only option checked, and then click Clear data.
Click Clear data.
Click Clear data.

Clear Microsoft Edge Cache

  1. Open Microsoft Edge and click the three dots in the top right corner, then Settings.

    Click Settings.
    Click Settings.
  2. Click Privacy, search, and services.

    Click Privacy, search, and services.
    Click Privacy, search, and services.
  3. Under the Clear browsing data section, click the Choose what to clear button.

    Click the Choose what to clear button.
    Click the Choose what to clear button.
  4. In the Clear browsing data window, ensure that Cached images and files is the only option checked, then click Clear now.
Click Clear now.
Click Clear now.

Clear Mozilla Firefox Cache

  1. Open Firefox, then press Ctrl+Shift+Delete on your keyboard to access the Clear Recent History options.
  2. Select the time range you want to clear.

    Select the time range you want to clear.
    Select the time range you want to clear.
  3. Check the Cache box and uncheck all the other boxes. After that, click OK.
Check the Cache and click OK.
Check the Cache box and click OK.

Clear Cache Using Third-Party Applications

Many free (and paid) third-party applications can help clear your Windows cache.

BleachBit

BleachBit is a free and open-source application that can clear cache and other junk files on your device.

  1. Download BleachBit from its official website.

    Download BleachBit.
    Download BleachBit.
  2. Install it and launch the app.
  3. In the main window, there are various apps. Select the Cache option under the app you want to clear the cache for, then click Clean.

    Select the Cache option under the app you want to clear the cache for.
    Select the Cache option under the app you want to clear the cache for.
  4. You can also delete temporary and unneeded files by selecting them and clicking Clean.

    Delete the temporary files.
    Delete the temporary files.

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