Author:  Mike Boesen

Last updated: 23 July 2006

I have been developing some web pages for my Canberra PC Users Group hosted site (  I noticed that after replacing an out of date page with an updated one, when I then browsed the site using Internet Explorer 6 (version 6.0.2900.2180), the page that was visible in IE was the old version of the page, not the updated version.  I know that IE caches copies of downloaded web pages, cookies, URLs and image files in the folder C:\DOCUMENTS AND SETTINGS\<username>\LOCAL SETTINGS\TEMPORARY INTERNET FILES\   

Depending on a number of settings, the web page that is displayed in the IE browser may be extracted from the cache, not actually freshly loaded from the web site visited.  If the Refresh icon is clicked in IE or the F5 button is hit, then IE will load the page on the web site into the browser but only if its time stamp is more recent than that of the web page that is in the cache.  If Ctrl+Refresh is clicked or Ctrl+F5 is hit, then IE is supposed to load the page from the web site irrespective of time stamp data.  This failed to work for me.  
I wanted to check the settings in my IE that have an effect on the refreshing of web pages.  This can be done through Tools/Internet options/General tab/Settings.  However, when I tried to get into the General tab, I discovered that it (and also the Security tab) were missing.  To fix this corruption of IE, I reinstalled it.  This can be achieved this way on an XP system:  in my file explorer (xPlorer2) I opened the folder C:\WINDOWS\INF\  and found the file named IE.INF  Then I right clicked that file, and left clicked the flyout option named Install.  The reinstallation then commences and asks for the location of my XP Installation CD.  (In my case I simply pointed to the folder C\i386\ because I keep that folder with all its contents on my PC and so I don't need to insert the XP CD).  The reinstallation ran perfectly. 

Having reinstalled IE I could then see the Tools/Internet options/General tab/ (and the Security tab). 

Internet options picture

I then cleaned out the cache and changed my Settings to what I thought would lead to a very aggressive refreshing of web pages:  I set "Check for newer versions of stored pages:" to "Every visit to the page".  I also changed the "Amount of disk space to use" for temporary internet files folder to 1 Mb so as to minimise the amount of stuff that would be in the cache.  (Note: these settings are NOT appropriate for most folk because presumably it should mean that there is a new download of a page every time its URL is used in IE.  Not a problem if you have fast broadband and a big download quota.). 

IE settings

I then exited IE.  Rebooted.   I thought that the problem was resolved but got inconsistent behaviour - sometimes the web page loaded automatically from the web site when I went to it, on other occasions it did not. 
From some reports on the web I thought that the problem could be due to Java script problems.  I've fiddled with scripting settings but have now changed them back to what they were. 
Fortunately I can get reliable loading of the latest version of a web page from my web site if I do a forced refresh:  Ctrl+F5 or Ctrl+Refresh icon.  So if you are ever in doubt as to whether or not your displayed web page is the one in the cache on your PC or one freshly downloaded from the web site, do a forced refresh. 

On my PC the way to do a forced refresh in Firefox, is Ctrl+F5 or Shift+Refresh icon.  In Maxthon (previously named MyIE2) it is Shift+F5 or Ctrl+Refresh or Ctrl+F5.  What seems to work in all three browsers on my PC is Ctrl+Shift+Refresh icon.