The tilde (~) file in Windows and what it means

  • June 1, 2004
  • Read 37,276 times

Table of Contents

  1. What is the ~ file.
  2. Is it safe to delete the ~ file?

What is the ~ file

A common question that many people ask is what is the ~ file that you occasionally see on your desktop, Documents and Settings folder, or other location on your hard drive. This brief tutorial will explain what this file is and give suggestions on how to use it.

When you edit a contact in the Outlook Express Windows Address Book, or WAB, a file named ~ may be created. This file is simply a backup of your Windows Address Book and is nothing to worry about. If you have Internet Explorer 6 Service Pack 1 or MS03-014: April, 2003, Cumulative patch for Outlook Express installed on your computer than this will occur. Both of these updates contain a bug that that causes this problem. Normally Outlook Express creates a backup in of your address book in C:\Documents and Settings\User_Name\Application Data\Microsoft\Address Book, but when the bug occurs, the backup will instead be created on your desktop or other location.

Is it safe to delete the ~ file

The simple answer to this question is "Yes, you can delete this file without any harm occurring to your computer.". The more thorough answer, though, is that if you do not mind the file being there than you should leave it alone. This is because the file is a backup of your address book and if something were to happen to your address book you can use this backup to restore it.

If you do decide you want to delete this file I would recommend the following steps that will not only remove the file, but allow you to keep this backup.

  1. Insert a blank formatted floppy disk labeled Windows Address Book into your floppy drive.
  2. Right click on the file and click on the rename option. Change the name of the file to backup.wab and press enter.
  3. Now right click on the file backup.wab, and click on the send to menu, and choose the floppy drive. This will copy the file to the floppy you inserted in step 1.
  4. Remove the floppy and store it in a safe place.
  5. Now right click on the backup.wab file and select delete to remove the file.

Every time you modify your address book in the future you should repeat these steps.

Lawrence Abrams
Bleeping Computer Microsoft Basic Concepts Tutorial Computer Support & Tutorials for the beginning computer user.

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