Internet Explorer gobbled up my disc space!

I wouldn’t mind so much, but I don’t even USE Internet Explorer normally

Even though Microsoft would prefer us to be using their new browser – Edge – they still include their old browser – Internet Explorer 11 – in Windows 10. Is that because Edge isn’t finished yet? I don’t know, but my concern here is that I had a nasty shock the other day when I realised that I only had 21.2gb free space on drive c: of my reasonably new Dell XPS, and I managed to track the problem down to Internet Explorer being profligate with my storage!

Huh? How come I’ve only got 21.2gb space left on drive c:?
OK, I exaggerate the problem. In fact, I had “partitioned” the drive when it was new and chose to have about 101gb for Windows and programs (on drive c:) and the remaining 361gb for my data (on drive d:). That being the case, I could re-partition it to shuffle things around. Let’s forget that option , though as there are plenty of computers out there now that have a small drive c: (because it’s a solid state drive) and a large hard drive for data. So plenty of people could be genuinely nonplussed at seeing what I saw on my drive c: the other day (without the option of re-partitioning the space).

I recently wrote a blog on SSDs in which I said that you shouldn’t let a SSD (solid state drive) get more than about 75% full as performance will plummet. Assuming that this rule of thumb also applies to partitions of a SSD, I could well expect to see my drive starting to struggle any time soon, so I needed to do something about it.

That’s where a lot of it has gone
Where’s all that space suddenly gone? That is the obvious question I asked myself, so I turned to that invaluable tool Treesize Free to answer just that question. It revealed that a whole 21.5gb had been swallowed by something called INetCache. A quick google revealed that the contents of this folder are files cached by Internet Explorer. Now, anything that is “cached” is, almost by definition, put somewhere temporarily in order to make access to it quicker. After the program that is using it is closed, it’s almost always safe to delete any cached content that has been left behind. But it’s not exactly safe to go around deleting anything at all that is in the Windows folder without knowing the consequences. So, I went back to Mr Google and learned that the way to deal with this situation is as follows:

  • Start Internet Explorer
  • Click on the “Settings” gearwheel (top right of screen)
  • Click on “Internet Options”
  • Click on the “General” tab
  • Under “Browing History”, click on “Settings”
  • Click on the “Caches and databases” tab
  • Remove the tick (by clicking on it) next to “Allow website caches and databases”
  • Close both the dialog windows that are open in Internet Explorer
  • Close Internet Explorer

Untick the box to get the space back and stop it happening again

There are other ways of deleting temporary internet files, but this method prevents Internet Explorer from getting you into the same situation again. I can’t promise what saving this will produce on any other system, but in my own case it doubled my free space to over 40gb, putting my SSD back into the comfortable position of having 40% free space.

(Last updated 11/09/2023)