Temporary Internet Files – Don’t let them stack up

Cleaning out temporary files on our computers (see the archives for Disk Cleanup) remains an extremely important step in keeping them running clean and error free. Programs and Windows create temporary files, when needed, to perform certain functions. The Internet uses temporary files to store cookies, and recently visited web sites and their graphics.

Temporary Internet files serve a useful function when you visit web sites on a regular basis. By storing the graphics and some of the text, our browser doesn't have to re-download the files, thus the page loads faster. On the other hand, these files are extremely small and too many of them on our computer (10's of thousands in some cases) can cause a sever performance drop in our computers.

If you use Internet Explorer as your browser (which you do if you use AOL, Juno, and most other Internet Services), you can limit the amount of space that you allow for the temporary files to build up. I don't recommend that you set the setting any higher than 8 megabytes. Here's how to find and change the setting in Internet Explorer:

  1. From within Internet Explorer, Click Tools –> Options from the menus
  2. Click the Settings button in the "Temporary Internet Files" section
  3. Type 8 in the box next to the slider bar.
  4. Click OK
  5. Click Apply
  6. Click OK

Return to this menu from time-to-time (perhaps monthly), to delete your temporary files and/or cookies.

For Firefox users:

1. Click Tools –> Options
2. Click the Advanced tab
3. Click the Network tab
4. In the "cache" section, set the number to 8 megabytes
5. Click OK

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