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TIP > Internet Explorer Cache Overflow

NOTE: There are no test results loaded for this PC, the information here may not be relevant to this system. Test your system or load previous test results to determine whether this information applies and to get specific advice.

About IE Cache Overflow

Systems with a cache overflow act erratically when browsing the internet. Microsoft documents several of these problems, such as 306907 and 260650, that you might not associate with a full cache. Since many portions of Internet Explorer are integrated into the operating system, it can cause other applications to behave erratically as well. For example, an attachment may not open in Outlook when the IE cache overflows.

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All versions of Internet Explorer have a bug in the way they handle the browser cache. In some circumstances, such as when a page isn't fully loaded because you press the stop button, IE will not update its cache information but does not delete the partial file. IE has lost track of these files, and they will not be deleted if you clear the cache through IE's menu option (Tools | Internet Options | General tab | Delete Files). You can demonstrate this by using the menu delete option and retesting; you will probably still see several megabytes of disk space being used by your IE cache.

Solutions

For manual deletion, use this method:

  1. Open an Explorer folder window (for example, double-click My Computer). From the Explorer menu select Tools | Folder Options | View. Make sure that you have checked the box next to "Show hidden files and folders" and uncheck "Hide protected operating system files".
  2. Start Internet Explorer and click Tools | Internet Options | General tab | Settings | View Files.
  3. IE should have opened up a folder window, typically viewing a folder with the name of C:\Windows\Temporary Internet Files. Put your cursor in the Address area of the folder window and add the name \content.ie5 to the name, so in our example the Address bar would now read c:\Windows\Temporary Internet Files\content.ie5.
  4. You should see a series of four or more folders with random eight-character names like ADOZMZS1. Delete each of these randomly named folders. You may get an error that some files are in use, this is normal if you are currently at a web site since those files are in the cache. Hold down the Shift key when deleting the files so they do not go to the Recycle Bin.
  5. If desired, reset the folder options you changed in step 1.

In some cases, the IE cache index (INDEX.DAT) file may be damaged and should be deleted. Microsoft documents 306837 and 293402 have additional information on symptoms of the problem and how to remove the file.

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