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This page includes instructions on how to manually clear out your web browser's cache in multiple different web browsers. Clearing browser caches may help resolve performance issues, issues loading/ displaying pages, or problems signing-in to pages.

 

Background

Every web browser maintains a cache, a chunk of disk space reserved to store copies of the thousands of little files (images, text bocks, etc.) which make up the various web pages you visit every day. The idea is that if you frequently visit the same page over and over again, rather than downloading the same graphics every time you visit, the browser will instead load the images from its cache. This is intended to improve performance, speeding up the time it takes to display all the elements on the page. Unfortunately, the cache can cause a few problems.

One of the most common issues is that most browsers reserve far too much space for the cache. While more space might seem better (as it so often does), more disk space means more files, and more files take longer to sort through (e.g. consider most graphics on a web page are small, say 20kb; if the cache is set to 200mb, that's 10,000 files). Sorting through all these files can in fact increase the time it takes to display the page.

The other problem is that browsers can cache (remember) previous forms that you've visited, and try to load older versions of those forms, including any information you may have entered in the past. This can include usernames and passwords which, as you can imagine, will cause real headaches.

Browsers don't do a particularly good job of clearing out this stored information, but they all contain options that allow us mere mortals to do this housekeeping manually. If you find yourself having problems with your browser - e.g. if it doesn't load pages properly, or it doesn't seem to be accepting your username or password - you should try clearing out the old information. This fixes about 70% of all browser problems and should always be your first step. The steps necessary to do this are listed below.

How to Clear Browser Cache?

Internet Explorer

Internet Explorer is one of the worst offenders in cases where a form will not accept your username and password. In addition to clearing the cache, you should periodically clear out the "Usernames and passwords on forms" option in AutoComplete. (In fact, ideally, you should not use this option at all).

  1. Select Tools > Internet options<BR>
  2. Click on the Delete Files button, then click OK 
    1. Note: It may take a few moments for the cache to clear.
  3. Click on the Delete Cookies button, then click OK 
  4. Click on the Content tabAutoComplete 
  5. Select Clear Forms button, then click OK 
  6. Select Clear Passwords button, then click OK 
  7. Click OK to close the pop-up, then restart the browser.

FireFox

There are two versions of FireFox in common use at the moment, and the instructions are a little different for each. Check your version by selecting Help -> About Mozilla Firefox - the box that opens should have the version number near the middle.

Versions 1.0.nnn

  1. On a PC: Select Tools > Options<BR> 

  2. On a Mac: Select Firefox > Preferences
  3. Click on Privacy
  4. Click on the Clear button (next to Saved Form Information)
  5. Click on the Clear button next to "Cookies"
  6. Click on the Clear button next to "Cache"
  7. Click OK to close the pop-up, then restart the browser.

Versions 1.5 Onwards

  1. Select Tools > Clear Private Data
  2. Check the "Saved Form Information" box.
  3. Select the "Cookies" checkbox.
  4. Select the "Cache" checkbox.
  5. If the "Saved Passwords" option is available, select that checkbox.
  6. Click on the Clear Private Data Now

Chrome

  1. Click the wrench icon right of the address bar.
  2. Click "Options".
  3. On the new Options tab that appears, click Under the Hood
  4. To the right of "Privacy," click "Clear browsing data"
  5. On the Clear browsing data form that appears, make sure "Empty the cache" and "Delete cookies and other site data" are checked.
  6. Click on the Clear Browsing Data

Safari

  1. Select Safari > Preferences
  2. Click on the Privacy tab.
  3. Click on the Remove All Website Data button....if prompted select Remove Now