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What Is a Cache Cleaner?

Pressing the F5 key can bypass a web page's cache and load it directly from the server.
A cache cleaner may be used to clear visited and typed URLs.
Most internet browsers make it fairly simple to clear the cache.
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  • Written By: S. Gonzales
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 04 October 2014
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A cache cleaner is software that can be used when a computer user desires to erase information from his or her personal computer. Good versions of this software delete all traces of the information using government standards. After a cache has been cleaned to standard, files have been completely deleted and are unable to be recovered. This type of software can be useful to someone who keeps detailed financial or otherwise personal records on his computer or shares a single computer with other people.

The type of information that may be targeted by cache cleaners is wide and varied. Typically, saved passwords, Internet browsing histories and autocomplete entries are the things that the average computer user is interested in clearing. A cache cleaner can target anything, including but not limited to: caches, cookies, browsing and search histories, index.dat files, temporary folders and files, visited and typed URLs, run histories, open and save history for documents and recent documents. Quality software can modify all of these aspects of a computer and more.

Technically, the erasing of personal information and details can be done manually. However, many computer users invest in cache cleaner software so that they don't have to learn how to clear information and then perform the task. When users opt to use cache cleaner software, they do so with the knowledge that they can clear a substantial amount of personal information with the pressing of a single button.

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Users can choose to clear their caches once or at specific times. Some software allows users to choose a regular interval for cleaning, such as weekly. More concerned computer users may choose to have their caches cleaned as often as possible. For these users, caches can be cleaned every time they start and shut down their computers to safeguard all of their information.

Despite a cache cleaner's ease of use and seemingly complete erasure of details, users may opt to configure their cache cleaner to only modify certain parts of their systems. For example, if a user does not want to erase the login details of a particular website, the user may prompt the cleaner to ignore the website from its sweep. The cleaner can then make the appropriate modifications based on user preferences and skip information that a user considers important to keep on a system. Advanced cleaner software may also allow users to change computer paths so that the detection of remaining files becomes more difficult for an uninvited guest.

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Discuss this Article

strawCake
Post 11

I'm always amazed at how many people don't realize their computers save a lot of sensitive information. One of my friends was selling her computer, and she didn't realize that even after she thought she deleted everything, it could still be recovered.

Once I told her that someone who was very computer savvy could still recover her files, she went out and got a cache cleaner so she could do a thorough disc clean. That way, when she sold her computer she didn't have to worry about someone stealing her identity or getting their hand on her other information.

indemnifyme
Post 10

@KaBoom - I think most people just make do with the built in Internet cache cleaner. I don't know anyone that has purchased a cache cleaner, but I do have some friends that are obsessive about deleting their browsing history. I have one friend who has hers set to delete everything as soon as she closes her browser!

Anyway, I'm probably not as vigilant about my computer security as I could be. However, I mostly use my laptop at home, so the likelihood of it being stolen is pretty low. I don't see any reason for me to get over-excited about cleaning out my cache.

KaBoom
Post 9

I've never used any cache cleaner freeware or software, but I do delete my Internet history on my browser every so often. I think this kind of counts as cleaning out your cache, right?

Even though it doesn't affect the other parts of the computer, it still clears out your cookies, deletes your browsing history, and deletes autocomplete entries. I feel like this is enough for me, for the moment.

I think whenever I get rid of this computer, I will definitely get a good cache cleaner to make sure all my info is gone. But while I'm still using it, the built in web browser tool works fine.

andee
Post 8

I don't think you can be too careful when it comes to the personal information you have stored on your computer.

Every computer I use is set up to automatically clear the cache when I turn it off. I turn off my computers every day, so know my cache is getting cleaned every day.

I also use a completely separate computer for banking and personal finance information. I know some people think this is carrying things a bit too far, but I would much rather be safe than sorry.

I have known people who have sold their computers or gotten rid of them and have done nothing to clean them up and erase their personal information. To me, this is just asking for trouble.

golf07
Post 7

@John57 - I don't know a whole lot about cache cleaning, but you should be able to do this manually from your computer without any additional software. There should be some type of cache cleaner free on all computers.

Depending on what parameters you want to set up and how detailed you want the cache cleaning to be, you can get other software or apps to do this as well.

When I clean my cache, there are certain websites that I skip because there isn't anything too personal on there.

I always make sure my banking information and any websites where I have purchased something online have my information erased.

Other sites like my regular social networking sites, I don't usually worry about.

John57
Post 6

Is a cache cleaner something you have to buy, or are there places where you can get a cache cleaner download free online?

This is something I have never done, and I think it would be good to get in the habit of doing. I am always worried about someone getting access to the personal information I have stored on my computer.

I find myself getting lazy with passwords and don't think it would be hard for someone to sit down at my computer and find information that I wouldn't want them to have.

myharley
Post 5

Now that our kids are out of the house, I have found myself getting lazy about cleaning my cache on a regular basis.

This article is a good reminder that I need to keep up with something like that. There are many autocomplete entries on my computer that have some sensitive financial information on them.

I didn't want the kids to accidentally gain access to this information so would clean my cache often when I shared a computer with them.

This is something I would always do manually, but it makes a lot more sense to set something up so it will just do it automatically. That would be one less thing I would have to remember to do.

kylee07drg
Post 4

@shell4life - I do the same thing! It sounds terrible, but I sometimes work on side projects in my downtime, and I don’t want my supervisor to be able to see what I have been doing.

I use the same design program that I use at my job when I’m doing side work, so if anyone were to try to open a document on my computer with that program, they could clearly see my other work under “recent documents.” I didn’t notice that until I had been doing this for about a month, and I was horrified!

I got a friend to show me how to use the cache cleaner, and I’ve been doing it ever since. I don’t leave my computer running when I go to lunch, so the cache cleaner clears it out as I shut down.

shell4life
Post 3

I’m glad that my computer at work has a cache cleaner. Whenever I find myself with nothing to do, I browse the internet, and I would hate for my boss to be able to see all the sites I have visited while not working.

I only do it when there is no work to be done, but still, I would feel a bit weird if he were to sit down at my desk, start typing something in the address bar, and see a bunch of bookmarks pop up. The cache cleaner wipes out all that stuff whenever I shut down, and if I want to revisit a site, I just have to remember how to find it on my own.

I sometimes clean it out manually, like before I go to lunch. That way, if my boss uses my computer while I’m out, I’m still safe.

wavy58
Post 2

I keep my computer in a workshop in my backyard, so it is a bit more vulnerable than if it were in my house. Even though I would probably hear my dogs barking if anyone were to try to get in there and use my computer, just to be safe, I use a cache cleaner.

I don’t let my computer remember any usernames or passwords to any sites. I have them all written down in a safe location, and to me, having to type them in again every time I visit a site is a small price to pay to protect myself against identity theft.

Some of my friends think I’m being paranoid, but I would never have a computer without cache cleaner software. That’s just asking for trouble.

anon152408
Post 1

Does a cache cleaner clear images on the hard drive?

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