The default user profile structure has changed since Vista, therefore this Temporary Internet Files folder (aka IE cache) are also got moved because of that. If you still remember, it used to be located at %userprofile%\Local Settings\Temp in Windows XP or 2000, and is hidden in that folder.
By the way, to find out where the %userprofile% points to, you can simply run command “set” in Command Prompt window.
Back to Windows 7, this “Temporary Internet Files” folder is located at
It’s also a hidden folder that won’t show up if “Hide protected operating system files” option is checked.
Dig one step deeper, there are actually more folders inside this Temporary Internet Files folder. However, you will have to type the folder name in Explorer address box in order to accessing them.
%userprofile%\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Temporary Internet Files\Content.IE5
And that’s the folder that stores all files that you open directly from your Internet Explorer.
Note that accessing directly in the Temporary Internet Files is quite dangerous, as it’s hotbed for all kinds of malware downloaded from Internet. In some cases, you do need to access it, especially for the documents you downloaded and saved. However, doing so with high cautious that you might trigger one of the bad monsters.
Can I change this location to somewhere else?
Yes, you definitely can change it from Internet Explorer. Open Internet Options from Internet Explorer, click Settings button in Browsing history section, and select Move folder … button to migrate from the current one to a new location.
The same thing we discussed here also applies to Vista, as they share the same user profile structure.