How to Recover Temporary Internet Files

By Kate Evelyn

Whenever you open an attachment in an email, download something from the Web or navigate to various websites, the information is stored as a temporary Internet file. Frustration can ensue when you try to find these files, especially after you close your Internet browser. This is because temporary Internet files are not saved in a typical directory; they are saved in a hidden system directory. However, you can find them and recover them if you know how to look.

Step 1

Click the Windows "Start" menu and select "Computer. Click the "Organize" drop-down menu and choose "Folders and Search Options." Click the "View" tab, check "Show Hidden Files, Folders and Drives" and uncheck " Hide Protected Operating System Files."

Step 2

Click the Windows "Start" menu, select "Computer" and then navigate to "C:" | "Users" | (username) | "AppData" | "Local" | "Microsoft" | "Windows" | "Temporary Internet Files." There you will see all the files.

Step 3

Also, you can get to them through Internet Explorer. Launch Internet Explorer, click the "Tools" menu and choose "Internet Options." Click the "General" tab and click "Settings" under the Browsing History section. Choose "View Files" to see the temporary Internet files.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you deleted your temporary Internet files through the “Tools” menu in your Web browser or by using your security software, there is no easy way to get them back. You may have to take your drive to a data recovery specialist.
  • Save important email attachments in a permanent location as soon as they come in. You can always delete them later.
  • Temporary Internet files do not have intuitive names. Often, they are just strings of numbers. You may have to open several of them before you find the right one. Don't rule out a file just because you don't recognize the name.
  • Never delete your temporary Internet files until you’re sure you no longer need them.