Clear the system and browser cache on Windows 11 to free up storage, boost system performance, and fix minor errors.
The cache is the set of temporary files stored on the system by various apps and programs to perform a task quicker on subsequent attempts. This includes both the Windows and browser cache. Over time, the cache may start to consume a lot of storage space and affect the performance of your Windows 11 PC, hence it’s recommended that you clear it periodically.
However, there is no specific location on the system where all the cache is stored and can be deleted in a single go. It may be stored in different folders depending upon the application or program that generated it.
Why Should I Clear the System Cache?
The thing with system cache is that clearing it wouldn’t cross your mind until you encounter an issue with the system performance. However, periodic clearing of the system cache offers various benefits.
- Clears Disk Space: When the let cache files accumulate over time, they may start to consume a significant portion of your hard disk. If your system is running low on memory, clearing the cache would help clear disk space.
- Boosts Performance: If there is low storage space available, it will slow down the system. Hence, clearing the cache will boost the system performance.
- Prevents Error: The cache files may corrupt over time, thus leading to various errors, some of which may crash the Windows. Periodic clearing of cache prevents these errors and keeps your system healthy.
Now that you understand the importance of clearing system cache, let’s see the various methods you can do so.
Clear System Cache in Windows 11
There are various built-in programs and features that help you clear the system cache along with manually clearing it from the location they are stored
1. Clear Temporary Cache Files
These files are created by apps while executing various tasks and should ideally be deleted automatically once the task is executed. However, this is not the case most of the time and you are required to delete them manually.
The folder will again fill up quickly since the apps continue to create these temporary files. Hence it’s recommended that you clear it regularly.
To clear the temporary cache files, press WINDOWS + R to launch the Run command, type ‘%temp%’ in the text field, and either press ENTER or click on ‘OK’ at the bottom. Instead of using the ‘Run’ command, you can also navigate to the following path to open the folder where the temporary files are stored. In the following path, replace ‘USER’ with the account with which you are logged in to Windows.
A confirmation box may appear for some files, choose the relevant response to complete the deletion process.
2. Clear System Cache via Settings
There are certain other temporary files that are scattered throughout the system but can easily be cleared from the Settings.
To clear system cache via Settings, either right-click on the ‘Start’ icon in the Taskbar or press WINDOWS + X to launch the Quick Access menu, and select ‘Settings’. Alternatively, you can press WINDOWS + I to launch the Settings app.
In the ‘System’ tab of Settings, scroll down on the right and select ‘Storage’.
Wait for Windows to scan and assess the temporary cache files stored on your system. Now, click on the ‘Temporary files’ option at the top.
The various cache files will now be listed. Scroll down and select the files that you want to delete and click on the ‘Remove files’ option.
Note: To understand what each of the options listed here signifies, go to How to Delete Temporary Files in Windows 11 and navigate to the ‘List of all Temporary File Types in Windows 11’ section.
Finally, click on ‘Continue’ in the confirmation box that appears to complete the process.
The selected files will now be deleted.
3. Clear System Cache with Disk Cleanup
Disk Cleanup is a built-in utility that scans for cache files and other temporary system files that can be deleted.
To clear the system cache with Disk Cleanup, search for the app in the Search menu, and click on the relevant search result to launch the app.
You will now be asked to select the drive that you want to clean. Click on the drop-down menu, select the drive and then click on ‘OK’ at the bottom. Disk Cleanup will now run a scan to identify the cache files stored on your system.
Once the scan is run, select the files that you want to delete under the ‘Files to delete’ section and click on ‘OK’ at the bottom to delete them. Choose the appropriate response in case a confirmation box appears.
You can also clear the system files with the Disk Cleanup app. These files generally occupy considerable storage space and clearing them will boost the system performance.
To clear the system files, click on the ‘Clean up system files’ option.
Now, select the drive in which the system files are stored, which will most likely be the ‘C:’ drive. Now, wait for Disk Cleanup to scan and identify the system files that can be removed. Once it’s done scanning, select the files that you want to delete from under the ‘Files to delete’ section and click on ‘OK’ at the bottom.
Choose the appropriate response in case a confirmation box pops up.
4. Clear DNS Cache
The DNS (Domain Name System) server stores the domain names of the websites visited in the past to quickly load them on subsequent visits. Over time, this server may fill up and the entries may corrupt, thus leading to errors in loading websites. Here’s how you can clear the DNS cache.
To clear the DNS cache, search for ‘Windows Terminal’ in the Search menu and click on the relevant search result to launch the app.
In the Windows Terminal app, the PowerShell tab will launch by default unless you have manually set ‘Command Prompt’ as the default profile. To launch the Command Prompt, click on the arrow icon at the top and select ‘Command Prompt’ from the menu. Alternatively, you can press CTRL + SHIFT + 2 to launch the Command Prompt tab.
In Command Prompt, type the following command and press ENTER to execute it to delete the DNS cache.
The DNS cache will now be cleared.
5. Clear Location Cache
You can also clear the location activity stored on the system.
To clean the location cache, launch the ‘Settings’ app as discussed earlier and select ‘Privacy & security’ from the navigation pane on the left.
Now, select the ‘Location’ option under ‘Apps permissions’ on the right.
Next, locate ‘Location History’ and click on ‘Clear’ next to it.
The location activity stored on the system will be deleted.
6. Clear Microsoft Store Cache
When you access the Microsoft Store and download apps, it creates cache files. You can easily delete these files through a simple command. Let’s see how you do that.
To delete the Microsoft Store cache, press WINDOWS + R to launch the Run command, enter ‘wsreset.exe’ in the text field, and either click on ‘OK’ at the bottom or press
This will open a black window with no text which will disappear once the cache is cleared, and the Microsoft Store app will launch.
Clear Browser Cache
Whenever you open a website, the browser downloads certain files such as images and codes, to reduce the loading time on subsequent visits. It’s not recommended that you clear the browser cache unless you are encountering issues while accessing a particular website.
Clearing the browser cache not just creates storage space on the system but is also a good troubleshooting technique. Many times, if the version of the cached copy of a website is different from the present version, you would face issues accessing it. Clearing the browse cache is an effective fix in this situation.
Before we walk you through the steps to delete the browser cache, let’s first understand the difference between cache and cookies, two terms that are often confused to be synonymous.
- Cache: These are the files downloaded from the website such as images, fonts, and codes. The cache for users visiting the same website will more or less be the same.
- Cookies: Cookies are text files that can be used to track your web activity and the data they enter. When you visit a website, the server passes a cookie to the browser which is saved on your computer. On your subsequent visits to the same website, you would see the data that you earlier entered. The cookies for all users visiting the same website will be different.
Now that you have an understanding of the browser cache, here’s how you delete it.
Clear Microsoft Edge Cache
To clear the browser cache on Edge, click on the ‘Settings and more’ icon at the top-right corner, hover over ‘History’ in the flyout menu, and select ‘Manage history’ from the list of options. Alternatively, you can press CTRL+ H to launch the History window.
Now, click on ‘Clear browsing data’ at the top-right corner.
Next, click on the ‘Time range’ and select the range for which you want to clear the cache. Now, select the checkbox for ‘Cached image and files’ and click on ‘Clear now’ to delete it.
The cache for Microsoft Edge will now be deleted.
How to Clear Chrome Cache
If you have Chrome set as the default browser in Windows 11, then you must clear the cache for Chrome as well.
To clear cache in Chrome, click on the ellipsis at the top-right corner and hover the cursor over ‘History’ from the flyout menu.
Now select ‘History’ from the secondary context menu. Alternatively, you can press CTRL + H to launch the browser ‘History’.
Next, click on the ‘Clear browsing’ data option on the left.
Now, select a time range from the drop-down menu at the top for which you want to clear the cache, select the checkbox for ‘Cached images and files’ and click on ‘Clear data’ at the bottom. Choose the appropriate response in case a confirmation box pops up.
The browser cache for Google Chrome will now be cleared.
The above methods are the most effective in clearing the system cache on Windows 11 and would free up considerable storage space. Also, these methods come in handy in case you are encountering an error resulting from a corrupt cache file.