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The Great Cache Hunt

Knock out the cache files that are slowing down your PC.
As regular readers probably know, I’m a big supporter of Firefox. Their browser has proven to be leaner, quicker, and safer for Windows users than every one of their competitors, Microsoft’s very own Internet Explorer included.

Have you ever gone to a Web site to find an article, story, or a piece of information that you remember reading, only to find that the relevant piece is missing–or worse yet, the entire site–has gone missing? That can be a frustrating experience, especially if you can’t find the information anywhere else.

Enter Resurrect, a Firefox extension that just may save the day for you. The browser add-on allows you to search the Internet Archive (otherwise known as the Mr. Peabody and Sherman-inspired Wayback Machine,) MSN Cache, Yahoo Cache, CoralCDN, and the Google Cache for an archived version of the missing page or Web site. If the first one doesn’t have the information you seek, chances are one of the other four will.

You can activate Resurrect a number of ways, including right-clicking on a missing-page error message or selecting it through the Tools menu. Once you launch the plug-in, you can open the missing page in the same window you’re currently browsing, a new tab, or an entirely new window. Sure, you can go to any of these services without this extension and manually enter the URL of the missing Web page yourself, but this extension is a great resource that makes finding that missing information just a little bit easier.

Resurrect is a free download.


Will Swap Cache for Windows

Unlike the Internet Archive, you don’t want your PC to save everything in its cache. In fact, you should periodically clear your Windows cache to prevent system slowdown. And that’s where MemTurbo 4 comes in. This program helps you not only manage your PC’s memory but also trains your computer to better use available RAM.

Cache, in this case, is an area of physical memory reserved by Windows to store the most recent operations and file requests. When a file is read from the disk, it’s stored in the system cache. If there is another read request for the same file, Windows can retrieve it from the faster system cache memory instead of reading it again from the slower hard disk, which, in theory, will save you time.

File caching, however, can behave erratically after a period of time, corrupting your available RAM. Memory resources available to run applications will reduce and eventually bloat cache memory. In this situation, the system’s performance may degrade, forcing you to restart your computer.

MemTurbo helps prevent that by sealing RAM leaks from poorly written programs, removing unneeded applications from your PC, and installing a memory monitor that keeps everything running smoothly and efficiently. Once the program is installed, the running apps will be able to use allocated memory without forcing Windows to swap from the cache.

The program is easy to install and, once it’s loaded, you probably won’t even notice it’s there. An improved task manager helps you to better monitor processes in memory, while also supporting better graphic displays to improve performance of 3D games and graphics-intensive applications. And if you’re a power user who wants to have more control under your PC’s theoretical hood, you can do that too; MemTurbo allows you to tweak what parts of memory are allocated where, leaving you to decide your own destiny in terms of how your PC runs.

A 15-day trial version is available, and the application costs $19 to register.


Cache for Internet Explorer

The Internet Explorer cache contains a sort of travel record of all the items you’ve seen, listened to, or downloaded from the Internet, including graphics, sounds, Web pages, and cookies. These items, typically stored in the Temporary Internet Files folder, help to improve IE’s speed by not having to reload pages that are already in memory.

Windows Washer, from Web Root, enables you to not only see what you’ve done on the Net, but also to revisit cached Web sites through IE’s internal Web browser. You can also browse through the cookies stored in your cache to see exactly who’s storing them on your PC.

Cache is a great thing, but storing these files can eventually slow down rather then speed up your browser once your cache is full. IE does allow you to flush the cache at will, but Web Root’s program goes one step further by enabling you to delete whatever parts of the cache you deem unnecessary while saving the rest, keeping your browser at optimum surfing speed.

And if you’re worried about security, not to mention disk space, the program can be automatically configured to completely wipe your cookies and cache whenever you wish. In addition to removing Internet cache, Windows Washer can also be set to fully erase your hard drive, files, programs and operating system for easy re-formatting. If you’re selling or donating your PC and you don’t want your files to be seen by strangers, this function is a must if you have anything even remotely sensitive on your PC.

A trial version of the program is available. Registration costs $30 and includes a license for one PC.


Contributing Editor Joe DeRouen writes Windows Advisor monthly for ComputerUser.

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