Delete Temporary Internet Files and Cookies

Clear them often to improve your web browser's performance

Internet Explorer caches web pages you visit and cookies coming from those pages. While designed to speed up browsing, if left unchecked, the burgeoning folders can sometimes slow IE to a crawl or cause other unexpected behaviors. In general, the less is more principle works well here—keep the Internet Explorer cache small and clear it often.

Instructions in this article apply to Internet Explorer 11. In 2015, Edge replaced Internet Explorer as Microsoft's default web browser. Support for IE is expected to cease in 2025.

How to Delete Temporary Files and Cookies

If you want to delete your temporary files or cookies, follow these steps.

  1. Open the Tools menu (the gear icon in the upper-right corner of the screen).

    The keyboard shortcut for the Tools menu is Alt+X.

  2. Select Internet Options.

    Internet Explorer's settings menu with Internet Options highlighted
  3. In the Browsing history section, select Delete.

    The Delete History screen in IE with the Delete button highlighted
  4. Select the checkboxes next to the files you want to delete. Temporary internet files and cookies should be selected by default, but if you wish to preserve your saved passwords, for example, leave that check box empty.

    Internet Explorer's delete browsing history window with the History item highlighted
  5. Now that the files and cookies are gone, take steps to minimize their impact going forward. In the Internet Options menu, go to the Browsing history section and select Settings.

    Internet Settings in IE with the Browser History Settings button highlighted
  6. Next to Disk space to use, lower the amount of memory IE uses to store temporary internet files. Microsoft recommends you set this number between 50 and 250 MB.

    IE settings with the Space to Use option highlighted
  7. Select OK to save your changes.

  8. Select OK again to exit the Internet Options menu.

You may need to restart the browser before the changes take effect.