Your browser’s cache is full and may interfere with your Gmail experience.

A while back, I wrote an article about Gmail’s cache complaint message. In order to believe the Google claim, you’d have to believe that IE’s cache is implemented in such a way that it doesn’t know how to clear space automatically when it gets full. Every cache I know of does that, so it seems pretty hard to believe. I thought it might be voodoo. Since I never heard an answer, I finally stopped being lazy and investigated myself.

Turns out that Google’s right. IE6 really is that lame.

To test this, I first started up Fiddler, a great little utility for tracing HTTP requests. Then, I navigated to my favorite brother-in-law’s website (Don’s Drug), and loaded two pages. Here is the trace:

www.donsdrugs.com
Page1:
/ 200 1027 bytes
/styles-site.css 200 4075 bytes
/c/header-dd.jpg 200 26774 bytes
Page2:
/archives/cat_news.html 200 868 bytes
/styles-site.css 200 4075 bytes
/c/header-dd.jpg 200 26774 bytes

Ack – see that? The second two pages got reloaded with HTTP 200 responses! Those were static and should have been cached, or at the very least we should have seen “304 not modified” responses from the server (which saves us from having to redownload all the bytes).

Then I cleared the cache and loaded another two pages (my cache was set to the max size of 32GB, so it took about 5 minutes to empty):

Page1:
/archives/cat_drugs.html 200 813 bytes
/styles-site.css 200 4075 bytes
/c/header-dd.jpg 200 26774 bytes
Page2:
/c/about.html 200 546 bytes

Aha! So this time the static content that we had previously fetched (styles-site.css and header-dd.jpg) were now fetched from the cache. So, Google’s right. Web browsing will really suck if you leave your IE6 cache full for too long.

What does this mean? Well, it means that if your cache is full, and you are browsing a site like “CNN”, every page has to keep downloading the content which is common to all CNN pages. And, this can be the bulk of what you download. You could easily see 2-3x faster web browsing by clearing your cache manually.

The IE7 team has been doing a lot around caching and performance, so I bet this is fixed. I’m going to hit them up to make sure.

20 thoughts on “Your browser’s cache is full and may interfere with your Gmail experience.

  • January 13, 2007 at 1:20 pm
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    Hi, I do not think it is fixed in IE7….I am being tormented by such messages…..

    Reply
  • February 21, 2007 at 4:42 am
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    I was able to get rid of this message by disabling the option “Do not save encrypted pages to disk” in IE7. I am using https: protocol to connect to gmail. All the attempts to clear cache (including by using Microsoft’s “ClearIECache.msi” that supposedly clears out cache even if there is something damaged) did not help.

    It could be that gmail is not handling this configuration and just checks if downloaded files appear in cache.

    Reply
  • April 20, 2007 at 3:31 pm
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    I am now getting this error and haven’t been able to get rid of the error msg from gmail.

    Reply
  • November 4, 2007 at 3:49 pm
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    I began receiving this when I changed my IE7 settings to check for newer version of file to “check every time”… Once I put it back to Auto or every time I start IE it went away…

    Reply
  • November 9, 2007 at 10:02 am
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    Try changing “Check for newer version of pages at every visit” to “automatically” That sorted it for me.

    Reply
  • November 27, 2007 at 7:59 am
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    Hi I’m an IT and I’ve got the same problem. I’ve cleared the cache, about 100 times, ran MS ClearIECache.msi, and nada, same problem. Here is something else, when this happens, anytime I try to right click and save a pciture, it will only save it in *.bmp format. I hate computers.

    Reply
  • November 27, 2007 at 8:19 am
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    Update: Here is what I did to resolve the problem.
    Where to go:
    Tools>Internet Options> “Temp Internet Files” >Settings.
    What to do:
    Click “Move Folder…” Select ANY spot on the PC other than where it currently is. I used Desktop. PC will need to log you off, ok. Log back on, and go back to the same settings and put the destination of Temp Int files back where it originally was. For me it was C:Docs and SettsmynameLocal SettingsTemp Int Folder, that should do it, it did for me, good luck.

    Reply
  • April 24, 2008 at 10:00 am
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    Francis, I’ve done the recommended Microsoft workaround for clearing cache (move the “temporary internet files” folder, delete it and re-create it) and also rebooted my computer and I still got the error. I was curious to see Andre’s comment about “Do not save encrypted pages to disk” and noted that mine is disabled, also. The annoying red banner goes away when I use https://mail.google.com as the url. Weird!

    Reply
  • April 30, 2008 at 10:26 pm
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    I have this problem recently. But I wonder why it appears now ? Why not before ? what causes it to appear ?

    Reply
  • May 14, 2008 at 10:48 am
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    I’ve got a third-party pop-up/script blocker running. If I tell it not to block http://mail.google.com, the problem goes away.

    Reply
  • May 21, 2008 at 7:21 am
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    Brian, you are a genius!!!! I tried everything else (IE7!!) and it comes back. after using HTTPS I went back to HTTP and guess what? It still fails, so I’l stay secure!!!

    Reply
  • May 22, 2008 at 1:25 pm
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    I tried with a clear install of Vista. Gmail was a first website I visited. I got the message. I don’t think it is IE problem.

    Reply
  • June 5, 2008 at 4:46 am
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    Try this,
    tools > popup blocker > settings
    add in mail.google.com to the allowed sites.

    Reply
  • June 8, 2008 at 11:53 pm
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    Michael/Brian you’re spot on.
    This must be a gmail issue I’ve even update to IE8 beta in an attempt to resolve this. I just switched to https and it goes away :)
    how happy am I!
    Cheers

    Reply
  • July 2, 2008 at 10:26 am
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    @Mike – Love the homegrown Captcha. I did the same thing. 😉

    @Andris – Your “do not save encrypted files to disk” setting change worked for me as well. I have a work computer that is periodically updated with centralized Group Policy security settings, and I’m guessing this was one of them (which of course makes total sense from a security standpoint). if only gmail didn’t pass plaintext passwords over HTTP.

    Reply
  • July 4, 2008 at 1:14 am
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    Thnks a lot.
    using https works:)

    Reply
  • July 28, 2008 at 6:49 am
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    You can now go into your gmail settings and select “always use https”. Do this and the problem is solved.
    I previously edited the xml for the gmail button on my google toolbar, to take me to the secure site, but the iGoogle gadget still tool me to the regular http: site. This is now a moot point.

    Reply
  • August 2, 2008 at 4:23 pm
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    for those experiencing the “Your browser’s cache is full and may interfere with your Gmail experience” message when using Internet Explorer, the workaround / fix is to ALLOW encrypted pages to be saved to disk.

    launch Internet Explorer
    on the Tools menu, select Internet Options, then Advanced,
    UNcheck the box that says, ‘Do not save encrypted pages to disk’
    close ALL instances of IE, and lauch IE again

    the ‘browser cache full’ problem will go away after that.

    (note: when the box IS checked, data over https is NOT cached, and that’s when gmail complains about the browser cache being full)

    Reply
  • August 11, 2008 at 5:54 am
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    I think u have firefox installed and u use it very often. i used it earlier, i had the problem, i stopped using it, cleared IE cache and the banner disappeared. But when I used firefox again, the problem reappeared. Then i closed it and cleared IE cache again. The problem disappeared this time also!

    Reply
  • August 25, 2008 at 11:46 am
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    unblocking mail.google.com…worked
    using https…did not
    Moving the temp folder…did not
    allowing encrypted pages to be saved to disk…did not

    Reply

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