Temp files

It appears that in: C:\Documents and Settings\MyUserAccount\Local Settings\Temp there are nearly 60,000 files occupying 500MB that have been put there by Scrivener, in folders with names like:


Are these needed?? Can Scrivener not clean up after itself??



This sounds too unbelievable to be true. But alas, you’re right.
The shocking truth on my machine: 20,000 files. And I just bought Scrivener 2 weeks ago. Imagine the fragmented clutter that other users must have accumulated over several months. A few 100,000 files?

This looks like it’s XP, yes? I looked in my Temp folder under Vista (I’m waiting for Windows 8 ) and I don’t see anything like this.

Vista: C:\Users\UserName\AppData\Local\Temp

Yes, agreed. That’s where I looked. Nothing Scrivener-related was there except something that looked like a qt-related lock file because Scrivener was running at the time. So I can’t confirm the problem.

Seems to confirm what I am beginning to suspect: Dumping thousands of files cannot be by design, not even by mistake. The temp folder allows us to salvage stuff when a pogram crashes and has no time to exit gracefully.

Do you experience this problem: https://forum.literatureandlatte.com/t/odd-behavior-scrivener-103-with-word-2007/16223/1
I am hoping for jravan to say No, and for DougElerath to answer Yes.

I’m on Win XP and I’ve got 16,000 files.

It looks like every time I use the program it keeps a full copy of the scriv folder. The oldest is exactly a month old. Is Windows deleting them after a month?

?? I have Word 2002 and no, have no such problem.

I do not understand the value in Scrivener saving 60,000 files, dating back months, in a Temp folder. Even if these are “just in case”, all you need is the current session. Otherwise you have a backup which, at least for me, is an other location.

Indeed, it appears to me that Scrivener creates these files during a session, perhaps for purposes of undo, or whatever, but then just simply neglects to clean up after itself. There may be options somewhere in Windows to clean up the Windows System temp files on a regular basis, but I expect programs to be well behaved.

For many people, this could be a mysterious source of problems since the Local Settings folder is hidden, and not everybody sets options to show hidden folders. I only went looking for it when my machine began to slow down and act tired. I suspect heavy fragmentation, or something.

I also have this problem and a the Word normal template problem. What would happen if we cleared out these temp files? I also sync my backups with dropbox.

Looking at the dates and times of the created temp folders also provides us with an interesting clue. Last of these created were yesterday at 20.54 and 20.57 which are roughly times that I used the back up now command in Scrivener. I have temp files that date back to the beginning of 2011!! I’m assuming its safe to remove them but I’m not associated with L&L in anyway?

Has anyone on the Windows side had a response from one of the mods since Christmas? Should one of us try emailing tech support?

For the record I am not a windows guy. But I am stuck supporting windows on a pretty regular basis.

So into the system settings (right click my computer, properties, and then I forget as I have delegated this stuff to others these days), and set your “temp” directory to C:\TEMP instead of in the user profile directories. There are issues with windows not properly cleaning temp fils out of user temp dirs. I thought this had been fixed but a quick call to one of my staff tells me that he is still seeing this on win7 using office '10.

If it works you’re welcome. If it doesn’t then you are no worse of than before and I apologize for the goose chase.

Thanks Jaysen!

Found over 2 GB of temp files so far…!

@StefanG: You are correct. I am not experiencing the “Normal.dotm” problem. I do not have, nor have I ever had, Microsoft Word on my machine.

And are folks aware of this thread, including Lee’s description of why WinWord.exe runs at Scrivener startup? Lee’s explanation is the fourth post in the thread.


Thanks jravan,
for your link to the other post. I wish we had a sticky topic “Known issues”, maintained by the moderators. The FAQ are not up to date, searching the forum yields too many results, and reading through relevant threads is just too time-consuming.

To my knowledge, it is the responsibility of programs to clean up their stuff. It could be disastrous if Windows intervened by erasing folders which the application has in its use.

I think we are mixing up two things here:

  1. temp files (some of them preceded by a tilde ~ which reside in various user folders and which indeed have been known for surviving longer than they should.
  2. temp folder, an environment variable. Moving %temp% to C:Temp will only tell Scrivener to dump its data there. But not solve the problem.

Sounds like a good idea. Please report back to us. I did have responses from moderators since Christmas, but only concerning other issues.


Just to let you know that I saw this thread yesterday and emailed Jennifer and Lee about it. Jennifer could reproduce it and has referred it to Lee for investigation. Lee has only just got back into Australia and will be back up to full speed this week - he has been away over the Christmas and New Year visiting family (and us) in the UK. Apologies for the delay - this is with him as a high priority to investigate, as obviously it sounds like something is seriously awry here, and either he or Jennifer will reply here as soon as they have figured out what is going on.

Thanks for your patience, and for reporting this.

All the best,

Could be my server predominated world, but temp is just that, temp. If you reboot it should be wiped clean with 0 contents. Windows is the only OS where using temp for anything that is expected to survive a reboot is considered normal.

My apologies if my server-cerntric view has led anyone astray.

thanks for the info, glad to hear about the high priority status.

I thought it’s the same on Linux and Mac. Installing software may require a reboot, after which the program will pick up its temp data to continue and finish the installation. Also, in the case of blackouts and power failures it’s good to have the temp folder surviving reboots.
In other words: Temp means temp as long as the application considers it temporary, not the OS.

I have no experience with servers. Guess they are much better protected against blackouts and other failures. And no installing on users’ workstations anyway.

I promise to end this after this post.

The temp/tmp directories are not for persistent (post reboot) data. From their inception the os was to clean them to ensure that non-RAM space was available for IPC and other uses. The most obvious fact of this can be seen in the Solaris OS where /tmp is actually RAM and disk combined. Note this is not swap space (vm) but a separate slice of disk space than can be accessed using standard file IO which can be very powerful is used properly.

In the cases that you mention the installer/program should be using dedicated space in the application directory for crash recovery (Words ~name files in the same location as the real files (which makes me quite happy to see)) or a process resumption (installers should have a “resume” executable in the application install dir that is called at server start up).

This is a pertty pedantic discusion as most developers, and even OS suppliers, have simply decided to ignore the “right thing” and simply take the easy way out. All to the loss of the end users such as … you.

Sorry to have bored the audience to death, but for those of you with the big WB you can add this to the useless things you have read instead of writing.

Well, practically speaking, it is easier for me to clean up Temp than various other, more appropiate places. I don’t mind Scrivener following the mainstream here. As wrong as that may be.

I worry more about the many files than about the location. %Temp% is just an environment variable. You can already direct it to, say, “Interim” or “Crash Data” or whatever sounds more appropriate.

Thank you. One of the (many) nice things about Scrivener is the level of support! :smiley:


Yesterday I read this post and discovered that I had the same problem. BUT… but it was not that big because I do an automatic cleanup every weekend. I was surprised at first because there were more temp files to erase but the computer dit its work without any problem.

So, what do I do? Right click on the icon of the “C” disk then click on “Properties”. There’s an option for cleaning the disk. I don’t know how it is written because I’m French so the message is “Nettoyage de disque” (Cleaning up the disk?).

Clicking on this message starts a program which gives you the opportunity to erase the temp files cleanly. That’s why I didn’t have so many temp files.

Another way to do it is to access the temp folder. You do this by cliking “Start” and entering “%Temp%” (without the quotes!) in the command line. There, you can erase the files manually. This method works fine but is less safe than the previous one.

Hope I could be of help to some of you.