Delete Microsoft Word’s Tilde (~) Temp Files

October 5, 2009

As much as we may not like it Microsoft Word crashes now and then. Now if Word crashes too often, it can actually be caused by other factors in your network, which is beyond the scope of this post.

However in some cases these crashes can be caused by too many temporary files left by previous times MS Word has crashed.

When you open a Word document, the software automatically creates a temporary copy of the document. That temporary file has the same name, but starts with a tilde (~) and is located in the same directory or folder that you opened the file in. It simply looks like this;

Sample MS Word Temporary File

Sample MS Word Temporary File

When you finish working on that document, save it, and exit MS Word, that temporary file gets removed automatically.

However if for some reason MS Word crashes on you while editing that document, that temporary file can be left behind. This is normal as when you restart MS Word, this temporary file is what is used to try and recover what you may have lost when the program crashed.

But again, sometimes even after that attempt at recovery, the temporary file can still be left behind.

One small business that I am familiar with had all of their customer related documents in hundreds of folders located on a server, and in each of the folders there were dozens of these temporary documents,  totaling almost a thousand of them scattered through all of the folders.

The Repeated Crash

The sample picture I have above shows Sample.doc with the ~Sample.doc temporary file. In some cases, if MS Word crashed on that Sample.doc and the temporary ~Sample.doc file got left behind, the next time you try and open the original Sample.doc, you have a pretty good chance of MS Word just blowing up again.
And then again.
And then again

Search And Delete

Periodically, search your server document storage folders for left over temporary files starting with that tilde and just delete them.

You may be surprised that many exploding documents no longer explode when trying to open them

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2 Responses to “Delete Microsoft Word’s Tilde (~) Temp Files”

  1. elliotross Says:

    Heh Heh – Yes you are too correct!

    And at this time it is still the 800 Lb gorilla in the SME room 🙂


  2. John B Says:

    However if for some reason MS Word CRASHES on you…?


    Of course.

    You’re probably still on Windows.

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