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Feel the need for speed?

by Herb Payton

Microsoft Internet Explorer can be customized in many ways to fit both your need for optimum browsing speed and the space limitations of your hard disk, making your time spent on the Web both fruitful and efficient. One thing that makes this all possible is the Temporary Internet Files folder. Let's talk about the folder itself, and then about some of the options you can use with this folder to add some zip to your browsing.

What is the Temporary Internet Files folder?
Also sometimes referred to as the cache, this folder contains a kind of travel record of the items you have seen, heard, or downloaded from the Web: graphics, banners, sounds, Web pages, even cookies. Typically these items are stored in the \Windows\Temporary Internet Files folder.

The cache is instrumental in offline reading--a fast way for you to view Web pages by downloading them first and reading them later when you're not connected to the Internet.

More speed or more room?
If you have ample disk space and tend to go online a lot, you might want to increase the size of your Temporary Internet Files folder. This is because Internet Explorer will read already-viewed files from the cache first rather than take the time to download the same page from the Web, thus saving you time and money. So the larger the cache, the better!

  1. On the View menu, click Internet Options.
  2. In the Temporary Internet Files area, click Settings.
  3. Slide the bar to the right to increase the amount of disk space you use.

Settings dialog box

Adjusting how often to update
While it's true that the more files you can load from your hard disk, the faster your browsing speed, it's also true that those pages on the Web might have changed since being stored on your computer. You might not want to miss fresh content just to save a little time. Fortunately, in addition to the size of the cache, you can also customize how often Internet Explorer checks the Web for updated content and downloads it to your computer.

The Settings dialog box offers three ways to check for newer versions of pages that are stored in the Temporary Internet Files folder:

  • Every visit to the page
    You're assured of the most current content, but it's slower to browse previously viewed pages.
  • Every time you start Internet Explorer
    Your first visit to a page will be checked, but subsequent visits in the same browsing session will not be checked.
  • Never
    This option is fastest, but you could be viewing old content from the cache. To refresh the page, press F5 on your keyboard. You'll connect to the page on the Web. (This downloads the information to the Temporary Internet files folder.)

(Note: If a site has expiring content, such as news or sports, Internet Explorer checks for new content regardless of the setting.)

Try several combinations of these options and cache size to find the best fit for your needs. You may need to use the settings for a few days to fully gauge how they are working.






If you don't have enough room on your hard disk drive, you may need to clear out your Temporary Internet Files folder from time to time:

  1. On the View menu, click Internet Options .
  2. Under Temporary Internet Files, click Delete Files .
  3. Click OK .