Friday, February 8, 2008

Cache and Carry

When web browsers were first developed, the Internet was slow. And slow Internet caused problems displaying pages and graphics. So web browsers created cache files.

The idea was simple. If you went to a website, the site was saved on your hard drive. If you went there again, your browser would check to see if the site had been updated. If it had, it downloaded the new page. But if the site has remained the same, it displayed the cached version. This loaded faster since the page didn't have to be downloaded.

Nowadays, this caching isn't really an issue for most users, especially since pages have dynamic content and change much more often then they did in the early days. But the cache remains, taking up space on your hard drive. It's always a good idea to clear it. Each browser has a different method.
  • Internet Explorer. MSIC doesn't have cache files -- it has "Temporary Internet Files" Microsoft has a propensity for renaming things that already have perfectly good names. You clear your Temporary Internet files by clicking on "Tools," and "Internet Options." In MSIE 7, look for a section that says "Browsing History" and click on "Delete." There are several options. Most are fine to delete except for "cookies." Not that deleting cookies are a problem, but sometimes the data is used for logins and such; if deleted, you may have to log on to sites that kept your login data for cookies. Your call.
  • Firefox. Click on "Tools," "Options," and "Advanced." There is a "Clear Cache" button.

You should clear your cache from time to time just as basic maintenance. Also, it can be a place where spyware hides, so clearing it can occasionally help in that respect.