Temporary Internet Files Folder location in Windows 7/8/10

Those who had moved from Windows XP to Windows Vista were puzzled as to where the Temporary Internet Files were located in this operating system.

Where is the Temporary Internet Files Folder located

Starting with Windows Vista, and continuing in Windows 7, the Temporary Internet Files folder is located at:

C:\Users\username\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Temporary Internet Files

In Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 the Internet Cache or Temporary Internet Files are stored in this folder:


Assuming that your Windows is installed on the C drive. To see it, not only do you have to check Show hidden files & folders option in the Folder Options, but also uncheck Hide protected operating system files/folders option.

Where is the index.dat file located

And then, where is the index.dat file located in Windows 7 | 8? Index.dat are files hidden on your computer that contain all of the Web sites that you have ever visited. Every URL, and every Web page is listed there. To access it, you will have to type in Explorers address bar the following location and click go:

C:\Users\username\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Temporary Internet Files\Content.IE5

Only then will you be able to see the index.dat file. Conclusion ? The Content.IE5 folder is super hidden!

Now the question which naturally arises is: Why did Microsoft decide to give the status of a Protected System Files / Folder to it?

The ‘Temporary Internet Files’ folder (Cache) is, after all, a hotbed and a breeding ground for Virus, Trojan Downloaders and other malware downloaded from the Internet. Apart from your ‘Windows’ folder, this is one folder where one can expect to find most such malware files. So why is such a ‘hotbed’ being given such protection, when even some Windows dll‘s are not accorded such privileges?

Temporary Internet Files Folder Location

Browsing the Internet can expose one to certain security risks. You could end up with malware on your PC or have a Trojan downloader surreptitiously download an unwanted program, or you could even find your browser hijacked! By clicking a link, innocently, in an e-mail or even mistyping a web address, you can find your browser visiting a ‘hostile’ site.

To mitigate against these threats, IE in Windows Vista and later runs in Protected Mode. And the Cache is now considered as a virtual folder with the same low privilege as that of the Internet Explorer process itself.

Generally speaking, in Windows 7, processes run with integrity levels as defined by MIC (Mandatory Integrity Control) Feature. ‘Protected Mode’ Internet Explorer, runs as a ‘Low Privilege’ process. This prevents the Internet Explorer from writing to areas of the file system or the Registry that require a higher privilege! What then happens, is that, Windows creates a set of folders and files, for use with Protected Mode’ Internet Explorer.

These folders and files share the same Low Privilege level as Internet Explorer. These 4 ‘low privilege’ folders, used by Internet Explorer in Windows, in the course of daily operation, are Cache, Cookies, History & Temp.

  • %LocalAppData%\Microsoft\Windows\Temporary Internet Files\Low
  • %AppData%\Microsoft\Windows\Cookies\Low
  • %LocalAppData%\Microsoft\Windows\History\Low
  • %LocalAppData%\Temp\Low

Windows 7/8 also creates Virtual Folders to store files that Internet Explorer tries to save in protected locations. So, instead of causing an ‘add-on’ to fail when it tries to write a data file to the Windows folder or Program Files, Windows 7 or Vista redirects the write operation to a virtual equivalent. Thus, the program continues to operate, believing that it wrote the files to the system location; little realizing that the data actually got written in a virtualized hidden folder, that mirrors the actual path and is stored under the ‘Temporary Internet Files’ folder.

In a similar fashion, if there is any attempt to write to the registry, it is redirected to a Low-integrity area of the registry.

Managing the Internet Cache

To manage the Internet Cache, open Internet Explorer > Internet Options > Tools > Internet Options > General Tab > Browsing History.

Temporary Internet Files Folder location

Choose the Size you want for your Cache here.  You can also see the Downloaded programs here, by clicking ‘View Objects’.  Rather than un-hiding folder, etc, from the explorers Folder Options, you can see the contents of the Temporary Internet Files folder, simply by clicking on ‘View Files’.  If you want to move the cache to another location, click on ‘Move Folder’ to do so. You will be prompted to set a new location.

Control How Internet Explorer Should Use The Cache

You have 4 options:

  1. Every Time I Visit The Webpage: This ensures that the information you see is always current, but it can slow your browsing a bit.
  2. Every Time I Start Internet Explorer: This will cause IE to check for a newer version, one time, per IE session. A check is made the first time you visit a page, but not again until you restart the browser.
  3. Automatically: This is the default option. Here IE see’s how often pages are actually updated. If a page is not updated frequently, IE reduces the frequency with which it checks that page.
  4. Never: With this option, Internet Explorer never checks for newer files and always displays what is in the cache.

Note: Even after you Refresh a page, you get the impression that your IE appears to be reading from the cache, like say reading yesterdays news, when it should be downloading afresh , simply hold down the Shift key and then click to Refresh.

It’s always a good idea to clean up your cache once in a while depending on your browsing habits. Make it a weekly or atleast a monthly habit. You may use the Disk Cleanup Utility or Quick Clean to do it.

Go here to find out why Temporary Files are created in Windows, and here to read about the Location of Cookies folder in Windows 7/8Windows Installer folder is another system folder you might want to read about.

Post ported from WinVistaClub.com and updated and posted here.

Posted by on , in Category Windows with Tags
Anand Khanse is the Admin of TheWindowsClub.com, a 10-year Microsoft MVP Awardee in Windows (2006-16) & a Windows Insider MVP. Please read the entire post & the comments first, create a System Restore Point before making any changes to your system & be careful about any 3rd-party offers while installing freeware.


  1. Mike

    disappeared in windows 8.1

  2. tmoblak

    is there any way how to change the location of the internet downloads – other then windows drive? my hdd is kinda small and the c: size is ALWAYS shrinking – i cannot even download bigger files, just because (even if i save them on another disc) they are always being downloaded twice – space on c: is always going down to a pint when a download stops because there is literally no space….

  3. yo

    looked for temp folder following directory at top for windows 7 but their was no “Temporary Internet Files” folder at the end??????

  4. Stephen C Zinn

    i was unable to locate INetcache in Windows 8. I also had to leave Internet Explorer because it will no longer function on my computer. Whenever I launch it now, I immediately receive a message that it failed, and windows tries to fix it. That fix never happens, so I started using Google Chrome instead. Unfortunately, Google Chrome doesn’t allow the “Empty Temporary Internet Files…” function that you find under the Advanced tab of Internet Explorer/Tools, and if you choose to Tools/Clear Browsing History/Browsing History, it’s a lot more harsh than just deleting your Temporary Internet Files.

  5. Stephen C Zinn

    If you are talking about Internet Explorer 11, I first receive a message box that says “Internet Explorer has stopped working. Windows is checking for a solution to the problem.” When the “solution” fails to happen, which it always does, that box is then replaced with one that says “Internet Explorer has stopped working. A problem caused the program to stop working correctly. Windows will close the program and notify you if a solution is available”. When I close that box, the original box pops up again within about 5 seconds. I barely have time to close out IE before it happens again.

  6. Stephen C Zinn

    OK, I got into Tools/Internet Options/Advanced and clicked on “Reset”. That seems to have cured the problem, as I am no longer receiving the messages. Thanks for the help.

  7. Jean Raven

    is there a safe way to rid my computer of IE 5 temp files and why are they there anyway thank you.

  8. SSXT

    Windows 7 embedded – printing from IE9 doens’t work UNLESS I ‘Run As Admin’ for IE – logged in as Admin.
    Workaround was to remove the ‘Read-Only’ on the LOW folder in the %temp% directory.
    How to remove the Read-only for all users that will use this thin client?

  9. david

    The guy I bought the computer from (his store) put in a internet explorer file which I can’t get rid of. My registry cleaner clears out everything but that one file and my AGV antivirus says it has been put in a vault, but when I run the cleaner, it’s still there. Any ideas

  10. Danny Tang

    hi, how about the mp4 and video like files? in previous computer (win XP+ie8), i can find the video from temporary internet files. however, i just found image or gif like my now (win7+ie11), what is the issues and how to get the video files? thx.

  11. nlcatter

    does not exist if IE was removed!! DUH!!!

  12. guest

    I just got a message saying this and that file in inetcache is a trojan. Why isnt there a way of tracking down where that file came from?????

  13. Will be difficult to track it. Delete that file, else use Disk Cleaner to clean all PC junk.

  14. This is not related but does anyone know how to prevent a window going behind another window as soon as I click on it it vanishes Microsoft couldn’t fix after about 9 hours of trying. All suggested fixes never worked this happened on an upgrade

  15. Not clear. Could you please elaborate? 🙂

  16. I’ll try to; as soon as I click on a window it goes behind the original window. An example is the task bar on the far right in the notification area I can’t go to it at all to overcome this I have them all on the task bar in view so I have no space to pin a program to it some one told me to disable aero peak it never worked

  17. Arun Kumar

    Maybe you can use default settings for notification area so that you get ample space to pin items on taskbar. I did not understand when you said your taskbar is far right in the notification area. Which version of Windows are you using?

  18. If I use the default settings when I use the mouse to go look it just vanishes, I’m using Windows 7 Pro but will try your suggestion and thank you

  19. Sorry, but I am still not clear about the explorer’s behavior. But you can try this. Please start in Safe Mode and see if this problem occurs. If the issue disappears, then maybe some addon or software is interfering with the normal working of explorer.exe. Disable E, as well as Windows Explorer addons, one by one and see if any one of them is the reason. Disable or remove that addon. See Point 2 at https://www.thewindowsclub.com/internet-explorer-freezes-crashes-hangs and Point 9 at https://www.thewindowsclub.com/windows-explorer-crashes-freezes. Hope it helps.

  20. I have had Microsoft working on it via logmein they couldn’t fix it and more or less wiped me, I had to pay a $120.00 too

  21. I’ll try that thank you

  22. johnwerneken

    c:usersusernameAppDataLocalMicrosoftWindowsINetCacheIE on my 8.1 system patched through 09-06-2014

  23. Shantha D

    @Anand Khanse- Fed up of this weired behavior. Your help will be appriciated in this case. http://stackoverflow.com/questions/26884303/why-access-using-ie-browser-and-access-using-windows-explorer-of-inetcache-folde

  24. No idea why you are seeing this behaviour, but when I just tried it now, I see the same thing – IE11 on Windows 8.1.

  25. Shantha D

    I need to write a script which clears this INetCache folder contents(Cache). But not able to get the exact content of this folder. Because it always refers to Folder which contains Low(folder), Virtualized(folder) and counters.dat(file). In my script I want to refer the folder which contains favicon.ico file.

    Yeah. it looks when you access directly, it shows IE11on Windows 8.1 content on a fresh machine. Suspecting my scrip which is doing something wrong here. After executing my script I see this behavior. But I’m not doing anything to change the behavior like this.
    My script contains a single line which tries to delete the content of INetCache folder.

  26. Avery Megan

    Well done. Good work.

  27. Brian

    In Control Panel > System Properties > Advanced > Visual Effects > Custom: unselect “Enable Desktop Composition”
    That should stop things from disappearing when you hover over them with the mouse.

  28. Brian

    sorry, missed a step,

    Control Panel > System Properties > Advanced > (Performance) Settings > Visual Effects > Custom: unselect “Enable Desktop Composition”

  29. Carly

    I did the following: C:UsersusernameAppDataLocalMicrosoftWindowsTemporary Internet Files – go as far as Windows – there was no Temporary Internet Files listed to click on. Only Cache which had almost nothing in there and I know I have a ton of temporary files.

  30. Carly

    P.S. I’m running Windows 7, Home version on 64 bit.

  31. David Booker

    This is just a plug for Internet Explorer, why not just answer the question – how to access the folder.
    Firefox, Pale Moon, Opera, Chrome, Tor, not to mention Yandex and a dozen others.
    IE, you can keep it.

  32. Charles Wright

    I have tried to download incrediblemail on my wifes computer. Each time i try i get the following err message (C:USERMariaappDatalocalmicrrosoftwindowstemporary internet.files) windows cannot access the specified device,path or file. You may not have the appropriate permission to access the item. How can I correct this proble,z????

  33. Type on start button %temp% and all temporary files show you can delete almost all except the ones still in use

  34. Julien

    I do have this folder but there is a sub-folder called ” IE ” ( path C:UsersUsernameAppDataLocalMicrosoftWindowsINetCacheIE ) which contains lot of files. Can I delete all these files ?

  35. Aaron River

    i need to find why non of the movies i stream show up in my %temp% folder any more since installing win 8.1! with xp it was so easy! I just typer %temp% in the run box and then used “unlocker” to open the file and save on my hdd as an flv

  36. Beric2015

    I know it’s a year later, but I just run the free version of ccleaner (crap cleaner) after browsing. It will wipe any folder and optimize the reg. if needed.

  37. John

    This Guide is wrong!!
    The OP assumed Vista and Win7 share the same location but they do not!
    That’s the reason that people are posting they can’t find the files!

    Internet Explorer files in Win 7 are located here.
    C:UsersusernameAppDataLocalMicrosoftInternet ExplorerTemporary Internet Files

    Not here! Vista files are located here
    C:UsersusernameAppDataLocalMicrosoftWindowsTemporary Internet Files

  38. Nahuel Benvenuto


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