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Clearing your browser's cache


Well-Known Member
Hardly a day goes by when someone doesn't contact me with an online problem. And 99 times out of 100, I tell them how to clear their browser's cache and never hear another word from them.

Some of you are likely wondering what browser cache really is. Well, it's a trick used by the people who code browsers to try to keep a smile on your face. Some Web servers are faster than others and some Web sites are not as heavily trafficked as others, which means those sites will load into your browser much more quickly. If a site is on a slower server and there is a large amount of users on the site, pages load slower. So the coders use browser caching to make it seem those slower sites are faster than they really are.

When you open up your browser and tell it to come to this site, for instance, your browser contacts the server this site is stored on and downloads whatever page you've requested. Your browser then interprets the code on that page's file and displays it appropriately on your monitor. If you move to another page, that process is repeated. But, if you return to the first page, it will seem to load quicker on the second visit. It really isn't loading any quicker, it is just displaying faster. Because your browser saved a copy of the page to a temporary file on that first visit. On the second visit, it dumps the page out of memory, rather than making you wait for the page to load. If the site is an active site, it might not support browser caching, so you won't miss any updated information that might be available on the second visit. Some sites allow caching, so a page gets dumped in out of memory, as the browser is downloading it a second time. If there is an update to the page, you might not see it until you've visited the page a third time, or have performed a manual refresh of the page.

Caching keeps you from having to wait for most pages to load, on subsequent visits. But be aware, every page you visit gets saved in that temporary file. So every day you fail to clear out that file, the bigger it gets. And the more time it takes your browser to access it, locate the page you're requesting and to display it. Until it finally gets confused, chokes and starts showing you yesterday's weather report, instead of today's. Or it shows you yesterday's breaking news, instead of today's. Or maybe you are trying to log into a forum that is trying to issue you a new session ID and the browser wants to cling to yesterday's ID, which prevents you from logging in properly.

Some people think the best bet is to simply disable browser caching. That's OK with me, but don't come griping when pages suddenly take forever to load and when Web sites forget your preferences.

So clearing cache needs to happen on a regular basis. If you are a casual surfer, I recommend clearing cache at least once a week. If you're a power surfer, you better clear your cache once a day. On most days, I clear cache at least twice and often will do it a third time.

Right about now, some of you are starting to get moist palms and your respiration rate is climbing. You're really not too sure where your computer's On/Off switch is located and you certainly have zero clue how to go about clearing your browser's cache. Take deep breaths and relax, that's what this post is all about. I'm even going to show you pictures, so you can't get it wrong. So read through, follow all the steps for your particular browser and you'll be a techie before you know it.

First, let's locate your browser. Be advised, I don't waste my time trying to run out-dated software. If a piece of software I use has an update, i figure there must be a reason for said update and I install it. So all of my browsers are up to date and state of the art. (The version of Firefox 4.0 I use is a nightly build, called Minefield, if you can imagine.) If the screenshots I have provided don't look exactly like your browser version, they should still be close enough to get you by. My suggestion to you is to update to these versions, if you've not already done so. It costs nothing, other than a few minutes of your time and you just might find there is a lot more to the Internet than you ever imagined. Particularly if you're running something like Internet Explorer 6 <SHUDDER>.

Since most of you follow the "Ein Volk, Ein Reich, Ein Fuhrer" principle now known as "Ein Volk, Ein Microsoft, Ein Bill Gates", let's lead off with Internet Explorer. These screenshots are from Internet Explorer 9.


In the upper-right corner of the screen, click on the gear icon. in the dropdown menu, click on Internet options.


Under the General tab, in the second section identified as Browser history, click Delete.

Now all the Apple users are feeling put out, because I made them wait, so I better do Safari next. This is from a Windows version of Safari 5. Yes, I know, I'm too lazy to walk into the great room, wake up the iMac, log it out of whatever flavor of Linux it is running on, boot it up into Snow Leopard and start Safari. Sue me, as soon as you land your Lear jet or dock your yacht.


In the upper-right corner of the screen, click on the gear icon. In the dropdown menu, click on Reset Safari.


Be sure all the boxes are ticked and then click on Reset.

Moving on to Google Chrome 10 -


In the upper-right corner of the screen, click on the wrench icon. In the first dropdown menu, hover your mouse pointer over Tools. In the second dropdown menu, click on Clear browsing data.


In the top dropdown menu, select the beginning of time, be sure the boxes are all ticked and click on Clear browsing data. (Note: For security reasons, I never use Autofill or Password Managers, so you will often notice those selections are not ticked.)

Time to move on to Opera 10 -


Click on Menu, in the upper-left corner of the screen. In the dropdown menu, select Settings. In the second dropdown menu, select Delete Private Data.


In the next page, click on the arrow next to Detailed Options, make sure all the boxes are ticked and then click Delete.

Now we move on to a real browser, Firefox. This is from a nightly build of Firefox 4.0, but Firefox is Firefox. So even Seamonkey and IceWeasel will look like this.


In the top menu, click on Tools and in the dropdown menu, select Clear Recent History.


Make sure all the boxes are ticked and click on Clear Now.

Once you have sorted how to access the proper menus for your browser, follow these steps, exactly as I've written them.

STEP NUMBER ONE - Move your browser off this site. Go anywhere, as long as it is not this site. Go to Google's page, for instance.
STEP NUMBER TWO - Follow the instructions for your browser.
STEP NUMBER THREE - Once the cache clearing process has completed, shut down your browser. Close it clear down.
STEP NUMBER FOUR - Re-open your browser.
STEP NUMBER FIVE - Pat yourself on the back, you're already finished.

See how simple the process is? It's not rocket science. the entire process will take less than two minutes of your time and your browser will suddenly start behaving itself again.

What? That's too difficult for you? :rolleyes: OK, if you're running Windows, you need to install CCleaner. Kwitcherbitchin'. Just visit the link, download the latest version and install it. Every day, when you are getting ready to call it quits on the InterWebz, close your browser and your e-mail client and then run CCleaner. Yes, it's going to take a few minutes to run. Wah. Just run it.

Pick one of these options and adhere to it. You are likely going to find all of your online problems will disappear.

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