Delete Temporary Internet Files and Cookies

Clear them often to improve your web browser's performance

woman using laptop on sofa

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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 principal works well here—keep the Internet Explorer cache small and clear it often.

This guide applies to Internet Explorer 11 and higher.

How to Delete Temporary Files and Cookies

If you want to delete your temporary files and/or cookies, follow these steps:

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

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

  2. Select Internet Options.

    Screenshot of the Internet Explorer browser with the Tools menu opened and Internet Options highlighted
  3. Under the Browsing history section, select Delete.

    An Internet Explorer browser with the Internet Options window opened
  4. Check boxes next to the files you want to delete. Temporary internet files and cookies should be checked by default, but if you want to preserve your saved passwords, for example, make sure that box is unchecked.

  5. Now that the files and cookies are gone, take steps to minimize their impact going forward. While still in the Internet Options menu, go to the Browsing history section and select Settings.

  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 50-250MB.

    Screenshot of the Website Data Settings in Internet Explorer 11
  7. Press the OK button to save your changes.

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

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