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What does IE's Automatic caching setting do?

Posted on 2004-09-13
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Last Modified: 2012-05-05
Hi Experts,

According to Microsoft, setting IE to Automatic caching does the following:

"This is the same as the previous setting [Every time you start Internet Explorer], but with a logic algorithm to understand the habits of Web page behavior. This setting specifies that when you return to a page you viewed previously, Internet Explorer should not check to see whether the page has changed since you last viewed it.

If you select this setting, Internet Explorer checks for new content only when you return to a page that you viewed in an earlier session of Internet Explorer or on an earlier day. Over time, if Internet Explorer determines that images on the page are changing infrequently, it checks for newer images even less frequently. "

However, my experience is that, on the contrary, a page will be re-loaded within a single IE session, but I cannot figure out the rule behind it. Sometimes it does... sometimes it doesn't. Does anyone know how this really works?

Thanks.
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Question by:metalaureate
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Skonen earned 2000 total points
ID: 12051122
There are several prominent possibilities:

#1. In addition to adjusting the page caching to handle infrequently modified pages... The browser also decreases the time between caching if a page is modified frequently. Meaning pages which are updated on a hourly/daily basis, will be associated with more cache times. This is the most likely explaination.

#2. IE Sends a request to the server and receives only the headers, checking for the "Last-Modified" header. If it's newer than the version on the cache, it's reloaded, if not it remains unaltered. This much less likely as a large number of sites do not implement such a header.
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