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What You Need To Know About Your Cache
What is a cache?
A cache is a directory set aside for temporary copies of the websites you visit. This is so that when you regularly visit a site, the content found there (especially images, which might otherwise take a while to load) can be loaded from your cache instead. This speeds up the performance of your browser.
Why have I been asked to clear my cache?
For some reason a cached copy of something at LiveJournal is causing or compounding a problem. It may be that you are not seeing updates on your friends page, for instance, because your browser is calling up the cached copy, rather than calling up a fresh copy. In this situation it may be helpful to go into the cache and delete the cached copy manually.
How do I do it?
Before you do it, here's something to try. Hold down the SHIFT key and hit "refresh" in your browser on the page you're having trouble with. In many browsers, this tells your browser to bypass the cache and load the page. This may solve the problem.
If this doesn't help, however, you can clear your cache. In some browsers (particularly IE and AOL for Windows), it is also possible to selectively delete just the problem file.
You should be aware clearing your cache will wipe your cached copies of all the sites you visit. That means that for a little while, the sites you go to regularly will take a little longer to load, because all those images and other files have to be loaded again. It also means that you will consume a little more bandwidth than normal loading them again.
Time and bandwidth might be important considerations if you have a very slow modem, or if you pay for bandwidth by the megabyte. If so, you may prefer to just delete the problem file, if your browser has that capability. This takes a couple of extra steps, but it may be worth the extra work to you. However, for many users, these considerations won't matter at all.
Specific instructions for clearing or selectively deleting files from your cache vary from browser to browser. Links to instructions for a number of browsers appear below. You will note that I don't have instructions for systems such as BeOs, nor for Netscape and Opera for Macintosh. If you can help with these, please let me know.
Many thanks to mortaine and xenofalcon, who contributed their knowledge of Linux, and rahaeli, who looked over these documents.
Clearing Your Cache: Windows: Internet Explorer
Clearing Your Cache: Windows: AOL
Clearing Your Cache: Windows: Netscape, Opera and Mozilla
Clearing Your Cache: Macintosh: Internet Explorer and AOL
Clearing Your Cache: Linux: Mozilla .9.9 and 1.01, by Mortaine
Clearing Your Cache: Linux: Galeon 1.2, by Xenofalcon
Last Updated: 23 December, 2002