Q:

How often should you clear your browser history for top computer performance?

A:

Quick Answer

Browser histories require clearing less often than many people assume. In fact, clearing the cache does not usually improve computer performance or speed, it may slow the machine down instead.

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Full Answer

Clearing browser history is common advice given when computer users ask how to speed up their PCs. The reality is that clearing the cache does not speed up the computer at all. The opposite may be true, because cache files mean that commonly used information does not have to be downloaded or generated repeatedly.

What matters when it comes to browsing speed is latency or the time lapse between initiating a process and receiving the results. Most people have noticed that the first time they visit a site it takes longer to open than subsequent visits, and that is thanks to the cached information saved in the browser history. When one deletes that history, the computer must do all that initializing again the next time. Therefore wiping the cache can slow the computer down, rather than speed it up.

There are, however, times when the browser’s history requires deletion. Examples of this include when a computer doesn't have enough drive space and there are too many temporary files, when cache corruption is present, and when the user is concerned about privacy issues.

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