Definition of Windows Temporary Files

A Windows temporary file is created under the following three circumstances:

 
  1. Windows Desktop applications, such as Write, and multiple document interface (MDI) applications, such as Excel, create temporary files to handle necessary user editing.

    Because a Desktop application cannot have multiple documents open at once, it must immediately create a temporary file that allows you to undo any editing. MDI applications create temporary files only when necessary (for related editing), rather than for every worksheet that is open.
  2. When you run an MS-DOS-based standard application with Windows/286, Windows/286 creates a temporary file (for example, ~PIFCHFA.TMP) so that it can swap to disk to make room for other applications to use memory.
  3. When you print from Windows or any Windows-based application with the spooler enabled, Windows creates temporary files on the hard disk. Windows spools the print job to the temporary file and then sends it to the appropriate printer as a background operation.
Note: Microsoft recommends that you have approximately 2 megabytes (MB) of free disk space available for the creation of temporary files.

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