How to clear your cache to prevent a crash

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

Q. I read somewhere that I should clear my browser cache, but I have no idea what that means. Can you explain what it is and if I need to clear it, how do I do that?

A. A cache (pronounced “cash,” not “cash-ay” or “catchy”) is a place to store something temporarily. When you view a Web page, it is stored in your browser’s cache. When you return to that page, your browser displays it from cache rather than downloading it again from the Internet. When you view a cached page, you are viewing an older version, so click your browser's Refresh or Reload button to view the most current version of a given page.

To keep your browser healthy and avoid browser crashes, freezes or wheezes, clear out your browser's cache on a regular basis. I do it daily, but even once a week should be sufficient. After performing any of the following, close then reopen your browser:

If you're using Internet Explorer 7 or 8, click Tools > Internet Options > General tab. Under Browsing History, find the Temporary Internet Files section and click DELETE. I delete everything except passwords, but you can select whatever you prefer.

IE9 allows you to clear its cache selectively, should you encounter a problem when attempting to visit a particular Web site. To do this, visit the site that's creating the ruckus and press the F12 key to display the developer tools at the bottom of your screen. Click Cache, followed by Clear Browser Cache for This Domain and Clear Cookies for Domain.

In Firefox, click Tools > Options > Privacy tab. I have mine configured to Use Custom Settings for History, and Remember Browsing History for 1 (one) day. I have it remember Search and Form history and to accept cookies from sites and third-party cookies. I also have Clear History when Firefox Closes selected. Clicking the Settings button, I have all items under History selected and no items under Data selected.

In Google Chrome, click the wrench icon in the upper right-hand corner > Options > Personal Stuff tab. Under Browsing Data, click the Clear Browsing Data button. I delete everything except Saved Passwords and Saved Form Data.

Q. I have a folder on my Desktop called My Documents. I'd like to move it to my C: drive, but every time I try, it wants to create a shortcut and not actually move the folder. What am I doing wrong?

A. The My Documents (or Documents) icon that appears on your Desktop is, by default, a shortcut to the My Documents folder that resides on your C: drive. To confirm that, right-click its icon and select Properties. The Target field should display the path to C:\Documents and Settings\User\My Documents.

If the Properties window shows the location as C:\Documents and Settings\User\Desktop, then the folder is physically, located on your Desktop, which would be unusual. If that's the case, using your right mouse button, drag its icon to the C: drive (using Windows Explorer). When you release the button, select MOVE from the menu that appears.

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Mr. Modem publishes "Ask Mr. Modem!” each week, featuring PC tips, tricks, and plain-English answers to your questions by email. For more information, visit www.MrModem.com.