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How to Speed Up Browsing in Internet Explorer

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What do you do when surfing the Internet is more like surfing a sea of molasses? In this article, Windows 7 Your Way author Michael Miller shows you several things you can do to make Internet Explorer run faster — and speed up your web browsing!

Browsing the web isn’t always as fast as you’d like. Sometimes web pages take forever to load – and not always because your Internet connection is slow.

Indeed, one of the easiest ways to speed up your web browsing is to upgrade to a faster Internet connection. But there are also some things you can do to Internet Explorer to make browsing a bit zippier – without costing you a penny!

Clear Your Cache

You may not know this, but Internet Explorer stores a temporary copy of each web page you visit. This is called a cache, and it takes up space on your computer’s hard drive. While the cache is designed to speed up browsing (your browser simply accesses the local cache when you want to revisit a recent page), too big of a cache can actually slow your browser to a crawl.

You see, over time your browser keeps adding web pages to the cache file, and these pages aren't automatically deleted. So the more web pages you visit, the bigger the cache on your hard drive – and too large a cache file puts a drain on your web browser. That’s because Internet Explorer has to sort through the cache every time you load a web page, looking for a cached version of that page. Put simply, a bigger cache takes longer to reference.

The solution to cache-based sluggishness is to clean out the cache. In essence, what you do is delete the cache file; this "empties" the cache, frees up valuable hard disk space, and makes it much easier for your browser to search for previously cached pages. Fortunately, this is easy to do.

Here's how you clean out the cache in Internet Explorer 9:

  1. Click the Tools (gear) button and select Internet Options.
  2. When the Internet Options dialog box appears, select the General tab.
  3. Go to the Browsing History section and click the Delete button.
  4. When the Delete Browsing History dialog box appears, check the Temporary Internet Files box.
  5. Click the Delete button.

This deletes the temporary cache file on your computer and should speed up browser performance. Note, however, that you'll need to perform this operation on a regular basis; there's no way to configure Internet Explorer to automatically delete the cache.

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