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TMP File

As it follows from its name TMP file extension is used to name files which store temporary information. An application or an operating system creates TMP files to store information which it currently doesn’t use. TMP files is common between different operating system like Linux, Windows, Mac OS or Unix.

Below are some typical uses of TMP files:

  • Applications could use TMP files for autosave purposes. While user edits document application will save a version of the document to TMP file once in a certain period. This ensures data recovery in case of application, operating system or computer crash.
  • Another way how applications use TMP files is to accumulate large amounts of information in a single file. For example when video processing app generates final output video it may use TMP file to write video content to. When file generation is finished TMP file will be renamed to a target video file.
  • Certain parts of content could be written by application to TMP files. For example document editing app can store images in TMP files. Data from TMP files will only be loaded when image is opened by user or when file is stored to disk in its final form.
  • Technically TMP files could be located anywhere on a computer but typically they are located in special folders. Naming of these folders varies depending on operating systems. For example on Windows OS C:\TEMP folder is used while on Mac OS, Linux and Unix systems /tmp and /var/tmp folders are used. For more persistent temporary files /tmp folder is used while /var/tmp is used for temporary storage.

Typically TMP files do not contain dangerous information and since they are not executable it is not possible to run them. But still TMP file can contain renamed EXE or DLL files which can make them dangerous. But because TMP files are not executable you won’t be able to harm your computer by running them. But anti-virus software may still viruses in TMP files if they were derived from executable or scripting files.

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