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How to Clear the Cache in Various Browsers (and Why)

Clearing cacheYour cache is used by your web browser to decrease page loading time.  By storing a copy of the page to load the next time you visit, your browser can skip the loading time associated with loading all the page’s objects, and making database calls, every time the page is loaded.  Typically the cache will clear on a page update – that is, when a page changes, your browser will reload the page’s objects and make new database calls to ensure you’re seeing the newest version of the page.

Why Clear Your Cache?

You may want to clear your cache regularly to free up disk space.  This is especially the case if you are loading lots of media (video, audio) – as that type of content takes up much more space then simple text-based web pages.  It’s also possible that your browser will cache unwanted, malicious content from time to time (aka spyware).  Your anti-spyware application should be able to detect these, and will often delete them for you, but it’s not a bad idea to manually clear your cache from time to time.

After Clearing Your Cache

Once you’ve cleared your cache, make sure you reload the page you’re on. In some instances, you may also need to restart your browser, or force refresh the page by holding down the Ctrl key on your keyboard and hitting F5 (Ctrl+R in Opera).

How to Clear Your Cache (Temporary Files)

Below is a listing of techniques to clear the cache in the most common browsers (listed in order of popularity, by browser name, then edition).  After clearing your cache make sure you close and restart your browser. Those of you using MSN Explorer, simply follow the Internet Explorer directions (ie. click the Start Menu button in bottom left corner (Windows) and proceed with the instructions).

IE 8IE 7 | IE 6 | IE 5 Mac | Firefox 4 | Firefox 3.5Firefox 3 | Firefox 2 | Firefox 2 Mac | Firefox 1 | Safari | Blackberry | Netscape 8 | Netscape 7 | AOL

Internet Explorer 8.0

  1. Browse to Tools -> Internet Options
  2. On the “General” tab, under “Browsing History”, click the “Delete…” button
  3. Check “Temporary Internet Files” and hit the “Delete” button (leave others unchecked if you only want to clear your cache)

Internet Explorer 7.0

  1. Click Start and select Settings, then Control Panel.
  2. Double-click Internet Options.
  3. Click the General tab.
  4. Click Delete under the Browsing History section.
  5. Click Delete Files in the Delete Browsing History dialog box.
  6. Click OK and Close the window.

Internet Explorer 6.0

  1. Click Start and select Settings, then Control Panel.
  2. Double-click Internet Options to open Internet Properties.
  3. Click Delete Files.
  4. Click OK on the Delete Files dialog box.
  5. Click OK.

Internet Explorer 5.0 for Mac

  1. Open Internet Explorer.
  2. Click Edit and select Preferences.
  3. Click the arrow beside Web Browser.
  4. Click Advanced.
  5. Click Empty Now.
  6. Click Ok.

Firefox 4+

  1. Browse to Firefox (orange button in upper left corner)
  2. Hover your mouse over (don’t click) on “History” (right sidebar)
  3. Click “Clear Recent History”
  4. Under “Time Range to Clear” select “Everything”
  5. Hit “Clear Now”

Shortcut: Ctrl + Shift + Del

Firefox 3.5

  1. Click Tools and select “Clear Recent History”
  2. Set “Time range to clear” to “Everything”
  3. Click the “Details” button
  4. Check the “Cache” box (uncheck other boxes if you only want to clear the cache)
  5. Hit the “Clear Now” button

Firefox 3

  1. Click Tools and select “Clear Private Data”
  2. Check the “cache” box (uncheck others if you don’t want to affect other settings).
  3. Click the “Clear Private Data Now” button.

Firefox 2.0

  1. Click Tools and select Options.
  2. Click the Privacy icon.
  3. Click Clear Now in the Private Data area.
  4. Click Ok.

Firefox 2.0 for Mac

  1. Open Firefox.
  2. Click the Firefox menu and select Preferences.
  3. Click the Advanced icon and click the Network tab.
  4. Click Clear Now under the Cache section.
  5. Close the window.

Firefox 1.0

  1. Click Tools and select Options.
  2. Click the Privacy Icon.
  3. Click Clear across from the Cache option.
  4. Click Ok.

Safari

  1. Open Safari.
  2. Select Empty Cache.
  3. Click Empty when it asks you “Are you sure?”

BlackBerry (PDA)

  1. Highlight the BlackBerry browser icon and click the trackwheel.
  2. Click the trackwheel again to display the Browser Options menu.
  3. Scroll down to Options and click the trackwheel to open the browser options screen.
  4. Scroll down to General Properties and click the trackwheel to open the General Properties screen.
  5. Click the trackwheel to open the Cache menu.
  6. Scroll down to Clear Content Caches and click the trackwheel to clear the cache and return to the General Properties screen.
  7. Use the Escape button to page back through the screens to the BlackBerry main menu.

Netscape 8

  1. Click Tools and select Options.
  2. Select Privacy.
  3. Click Cache.
  4. Click Clear.
  5. Click OK.

Netscape 7

  1. Click Edit and select Preferences.
  2. Click the Triangle next to Advanced to expand it.
  3. Click Cache.
  4. Click Clear Cache.
  5. Click OK.

America Online (8 & 9)

  1. Click Start, select Settings and Control Panel.
  2. Double-click Internet Options to open Internet Properties.
  3. Click Delete Files.
  4. Click OK on the Delete Files dialog box.
  5. Click OK.

About Alex Schenker

Alex bring a series of in-depth articles on search marketing and content management systems as well as troubleshooting tips to We Rock Your Web's collection. He is an avid tennis player, nature enthusiast, and hiker, and enjoys spending time with his wife, friends, and dogs, Bella and Lily.
  • Anonymous

    Can not delete Browser History due to the button to clear Browser History is NOT working (faded and nothing happens when clicking on it). I am using Internet Explorer 7.0. How do I adjust this problem so the key will work?

    • Alex

      If the browser history button is grayed out in IE 7, you may have Internet Explorer set to not capture any browser history, or it’s also possible that you do not have the necessary administrator privileges to access this setting.

  • Anonymous

    Hi!!!
    Thanks a lot! Very useful and easy of access information and it come in handy!!! I tried to install and turned to the torrent search engine in order to download file, but only here I understood exactly what must to do!!

  • Anonymous

    Thanks so much – it worked and I can now access gmail.

  • Anonymous

    I was looking for something like this. Thanks!

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  • Anonymous

    The other way is to use portable versions – you have more control in this case.

    I’m going to use portable versions to test my dom and date sites.