I'm configuring GPO's for Windows Storage Sense. The GPO's are very straight-forward and Storage Sense itself is a simple concept. One thing that bothers me though, what exactly does Storage Sense classify as "Temporary files"?

I'm attempting to do some basic testing against storage sense to make sure it's working as expected and I can't get it to clean my C:\Windows\Temp or C:\Users<username>\AppData\Local\Temp and Downloads directories. I'm filling up my drive with junk to trigger a low disk space event, even changing timestamps to back date them to make them look older but storage sense just won't touch them. I have several GB's worth of data scattered in directories that should be getting nuked and they're left untouched.

I'm sure it's trying to be smarter than just blowing everything older than 30 days up and I'm fine with that. I'd just like to know what the rules are so I can explain it.

Is there a technical breakdown of what exactly (directory\file basis) is evaluated and removed by storage sense?

1 Answer 1


This is not a complete answer, because I couldn't find an exact technical documentation on this, but you can get pretty good idea for yourself. Go to Settings > System > Storage, click Temporary Files and wait for Windows to scan your files.

This is what I have in the list:

  • Downloads (unchecked, I believe this is controlled separately via ConfigStorageSenseDownloadsCleanupThreshold)
  • Windows Update Cleanup
  • Windows upgrade log files
  • Thumbnails (unchecked)
  • Microsoft Defender Antivirus (unchecked)
  • Delivery Optimization Files (unchecked)
  • Temporary files (I guess this is user's Temp folder)
  • Temporary Internet files
  • Windows error reports and feedback diagnostics
  • DirectX Shader Cache

My guess would be it only deletes files in user's Temp folder. Or, only categories which are checked in the list. I guess this can be investigated further by configuring it and checking this list again after scheduled clean up.

Please note, that Storage Sense runs only on system drive and only after user sign ins

  • 1
    I appreciate your comment thank you. Yeah I had seen that list as well. Unfortunately I have a feeling MS is intentionally trying to be vague about it. I guess I'm ok with that, it's just annoying lol. I'll mark this as the answer because I think it's about as good as we'll get! Sep 13, 2021 at 16:25
  • Windows Storage Sense also deletes files in C:\Windows\Temp not only in the user's temp folder.
    – riQQ
    Nov 15, 2022 at 9:04
  • Yeah its probably going to need someone to experiment, most of the pre ticked boxes are ok except the shader cache, recompiling shaders can make games stutter. so those been wiped regularly could annoy people. Mine also lists device driver packages (if wiped prevent easy rollback), and setup log files as ticked.
    – Chris C
    May 14, 2023 at 16:48

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