How To Clear A Browser Cache
Ghacks regulars know how to clear the cache of their web browser. I get support emails occasionally from new readers who do not know how to do that, or who, when asked to clear the cache, do not know how to do it.
Telling customers how to clear the cache was a regular thing back when I worked in tech support, and it was not always easy to guide those users through the process.
Before we start with explanations on how to clear a browser cache, we are going to look at the cache briefly. What is it? Why is it there in first place?
The cache is a temporary storage on your computer. It is usually located on a hard drive but can be moved freely around, for instance to removable drives or even to the RAM.
Page elements are stored in the cache whenever you visit a website. This is done to speed up the loading times on your next visit, or if you navigate to another page on the website.
A basic example. Say you view ten pages on Ghacks. Instead of having to download the static Ghacks logo ten times you only download it once from the server. The logo is loaded from cache when you open the other nine pages of the website. This saves bandwidth and connections to the server which speeds up the display of the website in the web browser.
The cache can be the source of problems as well. This is for instance the case if I change the Ghacks logo after it has been stored in your cache. Your browser may display the old logo even though a new one has been uploaded to the site. While it is usually not a problem for logos and such, it could very well be problematic if you get a "site maintenance" information which does not go away, even if your friends are telling you that they can access the site again.
That's why it is important to know how to clear the browser cache. Unfortunately, it is a different procedure with every Internet browser. This guide covers the five popular browsers Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Opera and Safari.
How To Clear A Browser Cache
Internet Explorer 8 and newer (includes Internet Explorer 10 and 11)
- (Press the Alt-key if the menu bar is not shown), and click Tools > Safety > Delete Browsing History
- Or, press Ctrl-Shift-Del
- Or, click Tools > Internet Options > Delete
- Or, open Start Menu, click Control Panel, select Internet Options > Delete
Make sure Temporary Internet Files is selected. A click on Delete clears the browser cache in Internet Explorer. You may clear cookies, the browsing and download history, form data, passwords, and ActiveX Filtering and Tracking Protection data as well.
Microsoft Edge users may clear the Edge browsing cache in the following way:
- Use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl-Shift-Del to display the clear browsing data dialog.
- You can click on Menu > Settings > Choose what to clear instead.
Make sure "cached data and files" is selected, and hit the clear button to remove the cached files. You can clear the browsing history, cookies and saved website data, tabs you set aside or closed recently, download history, form data, passwords, and other data such as media licenses or location permissions using the menu as well.
- Tap on the Alt-key and select History > Clear recent history
- Or, press Ctrl-Shift-Del
- Or load about:preferences#privacy and select "clear your recent history" under history.
Make sure Cache is selected in the options. It may also be necessary to switch the time range to everything to make sure that everything that is currently stored in the cache gets deleted.
You may also delete the browsing and download history, form and search history, cookies, active logins, offline website data and site preferences.
- Click Menu > Settings > Privacy & Security > Clear Browsing Data.
- Or, load opera://settings/clearBrowserData
Make sure cached images and files is selected before you activate the clear browsing data button. You can also clear the browsing and download history, cookies and other site data, passwords, and autofill form data.
- Click Menu > More Tools > Clear Browsing Data
- Or, use the shortcut Ctrl-Shift-Del
- Or, load chrome://settings/clearBrowserData and click on Clear browsing data
Make sure "cached images and files" is selected before you click on the clear browsing data button. You can also clear the browsing history, and cookies and other site data in basic mode, and the download history, passwords, autofill form data, site settings, hosted app data, and media licenses in advanced mode.
- Click Safari > Empty Cache
Clearing the browser cache manually, Cache Locations
You can also clear the browser cache manually. It is usually not necessary but handy to know anyway.
- Windows XP: C:\Documents and Settings\username\Local Settings\Temporary Internet Files
- Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7, Vista: C:\Users\username\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Temporary Internet Files
- Windows 10: C:\Users\user_name\AppData\Local\Packages\Microsoft.MicrosoftEdge_xxxx\AC\#!001\MicrosoftEdge\Cache\
- Windows XP: C:\Document and Settings\username\Local Settings\Application Data\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\code.default\Cache
- Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7, Vista: C:\Users\username\AppData\ Local\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\code.default\Cache
- Linux: /.mozilla/firefox/.default/Cache/
- Mac: ~/Users/username/Library/Caches/Firefox/
- Windows XP: C:\Documents and Settings\username\Local Settings\Application Data\Google\Chrome\
- Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7, Vista: C:\Users\username\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Cache
- Linux: ~/.cache/google-chrome
- Mac: ~/Library/Caches/Google/Chrome
- Windows XP: C:\Documents and Settings\username\Local Settings\Application Data\Opera\Opera
- Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows Vista, 7: C:\Users\username\AppData\Local\Opera Software\ProductName\Cache\
- Mac: Check Menu > Help > About Opera.
- Linux: Check Menu > Help > About Opera.
- Windows XP: c:\Document and Settings\username\Application Data\Apple Computer\Safari
- Windows Vista, 7: C:\Users\username\AppData\Local\Apple Computer\Safari
- Mac: ~/Library/Caches/Safari/
Third-party software can help you clear the cache regularly. The most popular Windows tool to do so is the free CCLeaner.
It supports all major browsers and support for other programs can be added by installing CCEnhancer or by adding their cache locations manually.
Simply make sure that Internet Cache and Temporary Internet Files are selected in the program to clear the cache.
Linux users can check out BleachBit instead.Advertisement