Skip to Navigation | Skip to Content

Deleting Web Browser Cookies & Cache

search the site

did you know?

  • Clearing your cache can significantly improve the speed and performance of your browser and ensures that anyone who uses the same computer and browser after you (particularly on public computers) will not see your private information.

About Browser Cookies

Websites send small text files known as cookies to your web browser in order to store information about your connection to their server, including authentication information, details about your online session, and any preferences you may have saved. Cookies are particularly useful when you want a website to auto-sign you into a web service, but like the cache, they could be used to compromise your privacy if someone gained access to your computer. Some people choose to delete their cookies periodically (though you should keep in mind that any authenticated sites you use will not remember you the next time you return).

About the Browser Cache

In order to speed up web browsing, browsers are designed to download web pages and store them on your computer in an area called the cache (pronounced cash). When you visit the same page for a second time, the browser speeds up the display time by loading the pages locally from the cache instead of downloading everything again. This sometimes results in less than current versions of web pages being displayed, along with problems on registration and authentication pages.

Over time, this process may actually begin to slow down your browser as large amounts of data are saved to your hard drive. A cache does not empty itself and anyone who gains access to your computer can tell from these files what websites you have visited. To make matters worse, this caching is not limited to pages, but can also include login IDs, passwords, banking information, and other sensitive information.

Clearing your cache can significantly improve the speed and performance of your browser and ensures that anyone who uses the same computer and browser after you (particularly on public computers) will not see your private information. It's a good habit to clear your cache from time to time.

How to Clear the Browser Cache and Delete Cookies

Select your web browser:

Internet Explorer for Windows

To find your version of Internet Explorer, click Help, then select About Internet Explorer. If you don't see the Help menu, press Alt to reveal the menus.

Internet Explorer 6:

  • Open Internet Explorer, choose the Tools menu, and select Internet Options.
  • Select the General tab. 1st part of step 1.
  • In the Temporary Internet files section, click Delete Cookies, then click OK in the window that opens. Depending on the number of cookies you have, this can take anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes.
  • Click Delete Files. In the window that opens, check the box next to Delete all offline content, then click OK. Depending on the number of files, this could take anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes.
  • Click OK to save your changes.
  • To be safe we recommend you close and reopen Internet Explorer.

Internet Explorer 7:

  • Open Internet Explorer, choose the Tools menu, and select Internet Options.
  • Select the General tab.
  • In the Browsing history section, click the Delete... button.
  • Click Delete cookies. Depending on the number of cookies you have, this can take anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes.
  • A window will open that reads Are you sure you want to delete cookies? Click Yes.
  • Click Delete files.... A window will open that reads Are you sure you want to delete all temporary Internet Explorer files? Click Yes. (Depending on the number of files, this could take anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes.)
  • Click OK to save your changes.
  • To be safe we recommend you close and reopen Internet Explorer.

Internet Explorer 8:

  • Open Internet Explorer, choose the Tools menu, and select Delete Browsing History.
  • Check the boxes next to Temporary Internet Files and Cookies.
  • Click the Delete button.
  • To be safe we recommend you close and reopen Internet Explorer.

Firefox for Windows & Mac

Firefox 3.5x for Windows:

  • Open Firefox, select the Tools menu, and choose Clear Recent History.
  • Under Time Range to Clear drop-down menu, select Everything.
  • Select Details and check the boxes next to Cookies and Cache.
  • Click Clear Now.

Firefox 3.5x for Mac:

  • Open Firefox, select the Tools menu, and choose Clear Recent History.
  • Under Time Range to Clear drop-down menu, select Everything.
  • Select Details and check the boxes next to Cookies and Cache.
  • Click Clear Now.

Safari for Windows & Mac

For Windows:

  • Click the Settings button in the right-hand corner of the browser window and select Reset Safari.
  • A box will appear that reads Are you sure you want to reset Safari?
  • Make sure that the checkboxes next to Empty the Cache and Remove all cookies are selected. (Deselect any of the items you don not want to reset.)
  • Click Reset.

For Mac:

  • Open the Safari menu and select Preferences.
  • Click the Security icon at the top right. 1st part of step 1.
  • At the bottom of the window, click Show Cookies (see above).
  • In the new window that opens, click Remove All then click Done. 1st part of step 1.
  • Click the Red X button at the top left corner of the window to close Preferences.
  • Open the Safari menu again and select Empty Cache... 1st part of step 1.
  • In the window that opens, click Empty (or Empty Cache) to remove the saved files.

Chrome for Windows & Mac

For Windows & Mac:

  • Click the wrench icon in the right corner of your browser toolbar.
  • Select Tools.
  • Select Clear browsing data.
  • In the dialog that appears, select the checkboxes for the types of information that you want to remove.
  • Use the menu at the top to select the amount of data that you want to delete. Select the beginning of time to delete everything.
  • Click Clear browsing data.

Page last reviewed: April 25, 2011