When people talk about speeding up a PC, one of the most common solutions is to clear out your browser’s old data. What exactly is this data, and how does it affect your PC?

Every time you log onto the internet, your browser automatically makes a record of what you’re doing. This data comes in several different shapes and forms, each of which affects your computer in different ways.

History data: In its history, the browser saves which websites you’ve clicked on. Some browsers even note the time of day that you visited each site! Cleaning out the history files on your browser won’t free up a significant amount of space, but it will certainly make your life a lot more private.

Cache: A miniature record of every website you visit is stored in the cache. Images, style sheets, and sometimes even videos are stored in the cache automatically. Over time, this collection of internet browsing activity can turn into a massive wasteland of useless files. Depending on which websites you’ve been visiting, the cache can even hold viruses in the form of scripts and other malicious file formats. If you’ve noticed strange activity in your browser, or on your computer in general, it’s always a good idea to clear out your cache. At the very least, it will free up quite a bit of space on your computer.

Cookies: A lot of people know that we collect cookies when browsing the internet. Not everybody knows what exactly these cookies do. Basically, these files attach themselves to your computer and communicate with your internet browser to tell it which sites you’ve visited in the past. In its most innocent form, a cookie will help you automatically log into a website that you’ve previously visited.

However, malicious browsing cookies can cause serious harm. Any time a file is collecting data from your computer, it has the potential to use that information in malevolent ways. Cookies can take your information, browsing history, and search patterns in order to create advertisements that fit your needs. Worse still, some cookies will repeatedly direct your browser to malicious websites, creating a loop that is difficult to escape from. To prevent this from happening, regularly clear out the cookies on your PC.

How easy is it to clear out my old browser files?

Put simply, cleaning out your unnecessary browser files is an easy and free way to drastically improve the speed of your PC. Some programs will even do it for you. Alternatively, you can clear your cache, cookies, and history manually from your Firefox, Internet Explorer, or Chrome browser.

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