Delete Temporary Internet Files and Cookies

Clear them often to improve your web browser's performance

To speed up browsing, Internet Explorer caches web pages you visit and cookies coming from those pages. If left unchecked, the burgeoning folders can 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

To delete 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 options in Internet Explorer
  3. In the Browsing history section, select Delete.

    The Delete History screen in IE with the Delete button highlighted
  4. Select the check boxes 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, minimize their impact going forward. In the Internet Options menu, go to Browsing history > 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 MB and 250 MB.

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

  8. Select OK to exit the Internet Options menu.

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