How to Change the Default Internet Explorer 8 Temporary Internet Files Settings & Make It Stay There

by Ken Burnside
Fixing the mysterious migration of Internet Explorer's choice of temporary folders may require editing the Registry.

Fixing the mysterious migration of Internet Explorer's choice of temporary folders may require editing the Registry.

While Internet Explorer 8 is no longer the current browser for Microsoft's Windows operating system, and Windows 8 comes with Internet Explorer 10 preinstalled, IE 8 is the most modern browser available for users on Windows XP systems. Due to changes imposed by the June 14th, 2011 service pack update on XP systems, the default location of these folders was changed in the Windows Registry. This means that when the standard procedure for changing the location of temporary Internet files is done within IE, the changes aren't permanent, and will roll back to the revised location when the system reboots and reloads the registry. This problem does not appear to occur in Windows Vista, Windows 7 or Windows 8.

Changing Directories From Within Internet Explorer

Disconnect from the Internet by turning off your computer's wireless adapter, or unplugging the Ethernet cable.

Turn off any antivirus software. Sometimes antivirus software interferes with attempts to change the temporary Internet files directory in Web browsers.

Start Internet Explorer 8.

Click "Tools" then select "Internet Options" to launch pop-up window.

Select "General" and under the section Browsing History, click the button marked "Settings." The window "Website Data Settings" opens and displays your current location.

Click the button marked "Move folder…." A Windows File Explorer window opens. Select (or create) the folder desired. If you're changing the location of your temporary Internet folders to boost performance, pick a folder on a different physical hard drive to reduce seek times with cached files.

Click "OK" to close this window, click "OK" to close the Website Data Settings window and then click "Apply" to save the changes.

Changing the Directory with the Registry Editor

Start the Windows Registry Editor by clicking the "Start" menu, then clicking "Command Prompt" and typing "regedit.exe." The Registry Editor opens.

Click on the folder on the left called HKEY_CURRENT_USER.

Click on the subfolder named "Software," then "Microsoft" and then "Windows."

Click on "Current Version," "Explorer" and then "User Shell Folders."

Double-click on the "Cache" entry. A pop-up window displays with the directory path for temporary Internet files. Change the directory path in the pop-up window and click "OK."

Click on "File" and then "Exit" to save your changes.


  • These steps also work for the latest version of Internet Explorer, Internet Explorer 10.


  • Always be careful when working with the Registry Editor in Windows.

About the Author

Ken Burnside has been writing freelance since 1990, contributing to publications as diverse as "Pyramid" and "Training & Simulations Journal." A Microsoft MVP in Excel, he holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Alaska. He won the Origins Award for Attack Vector: Tactical, a board game about space combat.

Photo Credits

  • John Howard/Photodisc/Getty Images