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The Browser Cache – an overview

Table of Contents
Page 1
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Internet Caches: What they are and how they work (You are on this page)
The Advantages and Disadvantages of Caches
How to clear your Internet Cache

Have you ever come across something you’ve never seen or used before, and decided to keep it somewhere close to you so that, if you need it later, you know where to find it and can therefore get it quicker? In technology speak, all the things you put away like this are collectively called your “Cache” (ka-shay); and each time you put something new away like this, it’s known as “caching” it.

Computers work in a similar way. Some programs – and built-in functions of your computer – will save data your computer hasn’t seen before to your computer, so that next time you use the program, it can load the existing data, eliminating the need to create it again, thus speeding up the process.

A long time ago, Microsoft saw fit to bring this whole Cache paradigm to the Internet (whether they invented it or not is a point of debate, but certainly their version set the standard), introducing to its browser a function that downloaded things it hadn’t seen before, so that the next time you visited a website it would load quicker. Other browsers followed suit, and for many years now a cache has been a standard part of any half-decent internet browser. While Microsoft refer to files saved in this way as “Temporary Internet Files”, most other browsers simply call it the “Browser Cache”. Read the rest of this entry »

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