Tech Tips How to clear cache memory

Published on October 2nd, 2013 | by Tom Wake

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How to clear your Internet browser’s cache memory (and fix annoying glitches)

How to clear cache memoryIf you sometimes find web pages won’t update properly… or you get error messages when you try to login to certain websites… or your hard drive keeps filling up and making your computer run slowly, here’s something that might help.

Try clearing your cache memory.

Cache what?! 

Don’t worry, this is actually dead simple. Let me explain what cache memory is first, the problems it can cause and finish up by showing you a simple way of clearing it on any computer in seconds.

But first, so there’s no confusion…

How on earth are you supposed to pronounce ‘cache’ without sounding like a complete berk?

Like so many new fangled tech terms there doesn’t seem to be a rulebook.

Is it ‘cash’, ‘catch’, ‘kaysh’? Or maybe there’s a continental twist and it’s ‘cashay’ darling, with a seductive wink? 

Funnily enough in my survey of a whopping FIVE people I found ‘cashay’ to be most popular. Thankfully my test subjects were completely and utterly wrong and the correct pronunciation is: 

CASH.

Here it is spoken out loud by a posh pronunciation robot on YouTube:

May that put an end to a 40,000 pub arguments.

What is cache memory and how does it work?

When you surf the Internet using a browser, such as Firefox or Internet Explorer, images and files of virtually everything you browse (up to a point) are saved onto your hard drive as ‘cache memory’ or temporary Internet files.

This information is saved to help speed up your browsing experience.

So instead of having to download every single image again the next time you visit the same website, your browser will just recall the files it already has from your hard drive.

It’s a smart computing solution that was especially useful in the days of dial-up Internet when it often took 20 minutes for pages to load up. These days with broadband and fibre optic connections becoming more common it’s becoming less important.

Why would I ever need to clear my cache memory?

The problem with cache memory is that it’s old information. It’s information from a previous visit that your computer assumes is fine to drag up and use for your current visit.

It might not be fine.

If you’ve got an older computer and the cache memory is clogging up your hard drive with hundreds of megabytes of data it could really slow your machine down as it struggles to find space to perform other tasks.

It can also affect websites you’re visiting. They may have changed round a few things but you’re not seeing any of these changes because the cache memory is dragging up the old version.

This can be absolutely infuriating if you’re changing the look or feel of your own website.

You make a load of changes, load up the page expectedly… only to find it looks exactly the same!

But don’t throw your keyboard out of the window because it’s not your fault – the changes are almost certainly in place it’s just that the cache memory is showing old information. 

It’s a bit like your passport photo. You’re stuck looking like a grumpy teenager/prison inmate/bewildered 70s pornstar (delete as appropriate) until you get a new one…

Luckily you don’t have to wait 10 HUMILIATING YEARS to replace your cache memory.

Method 1: How to clear your cache memory in seconds using a simple keyboard shortcut

By FAR the quickest way to clear the cache memory on your computer is to use a keyboard shortcut.

Here’s how to do it on a PC:

While in your web browser hold down (at the same time):

Ctrl, Shift, Delete

Now follow the onscreen instructions. Typically it’ll ask you for a time range (choose ‘everything’) and then ask you to tick what you want deleted (choose ‘cache’).

Here’s how to do it on a Mac:

While in your web browser hold down (at the same time):

CMD, Shift, Delete (or backspace)

Now follow the onscreen instructions. Time range to clear should already have ‘everything’’ selected. Now tick ‘cache’ from the tick box selection and uncheck anything you don’t want deleted.

That’s it!

Method 2: How to clear your cache memory via your browser menu

The first method should work for most operating systems and browsers but if it’s not working for you don’t worry. It’s easy to do it in a few clicks view your browser options.

I could write 45,000 words here explaining how to clear cache on every different Internet browser known to man but it would be a gigantic waste of time because a team of wiki geniuses have already done it for us.

Take a look here:

13 ways to clear your browser cache

1. Click on the link which corresponds to your browser. e.g. Firefox

2. Follow the instructions

If you don’t know which browser you’re using don’t panic. You can find out by clicking here:

What broswer am I using?

Clever isn’t it?

I hope you found this article helpful. If you’ve got any comments I’d love to hear from you below.



About the Author

My name's Tom Wake and I'm the editor of Insider's Edge. I bring you tips, tricks and shortcuts to help you save money, make money and save time.



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