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Windows XP Power Hound by Preston Gralla

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Cache Flow

As you surf the Web, your browser keeps a copy of everything you download, including pages, graphics, Java applets, and sound files. The copies wind up in a folder known as your browser's cache , which just refers to a bunch of stored files.

Note

Many Web sites include interactive features such as games you can play online. Often, these features are actually small programs that run inside your browser, called Java applets. Java is a programming language that lets developers write programs that can run on many different operating systems, including Windows XP, the Mac, and Linux. An applet is a little program.

When you visit a Web page, your browser first looks at its cache to retrieve whatever it's saved on your own computer before downloading items from the Internet. This process speeds up browsing, because your browser doesn't have to download the same images, text, or other files over and over again. But it can also clog up your hard disk, and some people worry that snoops can peek into their cache and know what sites they've visited—which is in fact possible.

Windows XP lets you customize the size of your browser's cache, its location, and how they system uses it.

Note

The hints in this section apply specifically to Internet Explorer, but all browsers have similar features.

Customizing the Cache

The first thing you should probably do is decrease the amount of disk space Windows XP devotes to the cache. Internet Explorer typically uses about three percent of your hard disk ...

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