Optional Web Browser Configuration

Optimizing your cache, maximizing screen real estate, and maintaining a history file should improve browsing performance and usability for most users:

  • Using a cache. You can specify how much of your local hard disk to put aside to temporarily store the web pages you visit. As described in the previous pages, if you visit a site more than once in the same session, the page can be retrieved quickly from your local drive instead of over the Internet. In general you can set aside as much disk space as you wish, although a rule of thumb is no more than 10 MB is needed and no more than 10% of your available space should be spared.

    Explorer: Tools / Internet Options / Temporary Internet files / Settings

    Firefox: Tools / Options / Privacy / Cache

    You can also clear your cache to ensure that every page you visit will be loaded fresh across the network. If you are having trouble updating a page this sometimes helps ensure you get a clean reload.

  • Optimize toolbars. The following configurations help maximize your window size:
  • Explorer: View / Toolbars
    – Turn on only “Standard Buttons” and Address Bar”
    View / Status Bar
    – Turn on
    View / Explorer Bar
    – Turn off all options.

    Firefox: Right-click on top File / Edit bar, select Customize, then Show: Icons.

  • Maintain history file. You should set a maximum amount of time for keeping pages in your history file, which also records the links you’ve visited so that they can then be set in a darker colour. If you set links in your history file to be deleted after a certain number of days, then you will have no way of knowing if you’ve already visited them, and may click on them again by mistake.

    Explorer: Tools / Internet Options / General / History
    – Set “Days to keep pages in history” to maximum, generally 99.

    Firefox: Tools / Options / Privacy / History
    – Set “Remember visited pages for the last … days” to 987654321.

Also see recommended browser configurations.