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Optimising Internet browser

Do you ever wonder why your computer slows down after awhile? If you're as active an Internet surfer as I am, your computer is probably drowning in temporary files and cookies. They slow down your operating system. Every time you go on somebody's web site, you're probably also downloading files that are only useful for that particular site. After awhile, your computer may be drowning in clutter.

More than once I've been told to declutter these temp files. More than once I've had to be reminded of the exact sequence of steps. Here are some guidelines from the Hungry Poet who is a computer guru in real life. Thank you for sharing your wisdom with analyticalQ readers.

Setting Internet Explorer to delete all temp files on exit is a good practice, but may not be adequate in case there are still partial contents remaining. I have experienced that this does not 100% remove all components, and partial contents may remain on disk.

Manually clearing cache will not only remove from disk all the temporary files and components downloaded during page views. It will also cause Internet Explorer (MSIE) to treat subsequent page accesses as "fresh" or "first time" accesses to the page and download all components. In addition, very critical for those using online banking and secure content access, clearing cache will also erase in-memory secured contents and components (eg passwords, account numbers, login ids) which is resident in your computer's internal memory (not hard disk) after last accessing secured websites. If these components remain, accessing a maliciously formed website can enable very smart hackers to retrieve internal memory contents such as passwords.

Clearing cache is also a simple way to determine if you have problems loading a web page. If you do not clear the cache, and try to load a page visited previously, MSIE will usually recover old components already resident in the cache or in the temporary download folder, hence new problems arising from the website may not show up until you clear your cache.

In addition to clearing cache, you also need to remove downloaded components (active-X and plug-ins) which are automatically installed if you really want to go all the way to clean up downloaded components, but I will not go into this (a little complicated) unless you are really interested.

This is how you can clear your cache memory for the following browsers:

Netscape Navigator 4.x
  1. Click "Edit"
  2. Select "Preferences"
  3. Click "Advance"
  4. Select "Cache"
  5. Click both "Clear Memory Cache" and "Clear Disk Cache"
  6. Click "OK"
Internet Explorer 4.0
  1. Click "View"
  2. Select "Options"
  3. Select "General" panel (the default)
  4. Under "Temporary Internet Files" section click on "Delete Files"
  5. Click "Yes"
  6. Close your browser
Internet Explorer 5.0
  1. Click "Tools"
  2. Select "Internet Options"
  3. Select "General" panel (the default)
  4. Under "Temporary Internet Files" section click on "Delete Files"
  5. Check the box "Delete all offline content" (if available, not sure)
  6. Click "OK"
  7. Close your browser
Internet Explorer 6.0
*** Allows you to delete cookies too, if you do not wish to be tracked.
  1. Click "Tools"
  2. Select "Internet Options"
  3. Select "General" panel (the default)
  4. Under "Temporary Internet Files" click on "Delete Files"
  5. Check the box "Delete all offline content"
  6. Click "OK" (this could take minutes! if you havent deleted for a long
  7. time)
  8. Under "Temporary Internet Files" click on "Delete Cookies"
  9. Click "OK"
  10. Close your browser

Note: you must close all MSIE windows. In fact, for a full and complete deletion you should not call up the "Internet Options" from within any MSIE windows, you should access Internet Options via the Control Panel. The temporary files of any MSIE windows that remain open is not deleted because it is currently in use.

Here's the procedure for the full and complete clearing of cache based on MSIE 6.0, for all systems running MS Windows 9x/ME/2000. (Not sure if this is correct for systems running under MS Windows XP).

  1. Close all Internet Explorer windows
  2. Click the Windows START button located on bottom left of screen
  3. Click "Settings" then select/click "Control Panel"
  4. Double click on "Internet Options" icon
  5. Select the "General" panel (the default)
  6. Under "Temporary Internet Files" section click on "Delete Files"
  7. Check the box "Delete all offline content"
  8. Click "OK" (this could take several minutes if you have never deleted files before)
  9. Under "Temporary Internet Files" click on "Delete Cookies" (MSIE 6.0 only)
  10. Click "OK"

9 August 2002 Friday

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