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Q. I go to the same web site a few times every day to check stocks but it never seems to change even though it is supposed to update every 15 minutes.

My son says I should "refresh my browser." I am NOT giving my computer a Coke. What do I do?

A. No, a Coke wouldn't do it. ;-) But your son's advice is good, if incomplete.

When you get on the Internet and look at a web page you are using a program called a web browser, or browser for short. Over 90% of us use the web browser that comes with Windows. It is a Microsoft product called Internet Explorer, or IE for short.

A lot of things are happening in the background when you click on a link to go to a web page in your browser. One of them is that the browser may check to see if it has already loaded some or all of the graphic images or other content from the web site.

Most web pages have pictures or other images on the page and these, along with the speedier-to-download text, take a little time for your PC to grab from wherever they may be hosted.

In order to speed things up so you don't have to wait for the images to download to your PC, your browser may store some of the images of frequently visited web pages in a temporary area of your hard disk called the cache.

This can speed up your web surfing but in some scenarios, such as yours, it can be counterproductive. When you click to check stocks, your browser first looks in your computer's cache to see if you have been there recently and if it has any of the images saved. When it finds that you have recently visited that site, it may just load the site's content from the temporary cache instead of the slower downloading of the stuff on the page again.

But in your case, you don't want the faster content from the cache - you want the latest from the website. The easiest way to get around this is to press the F5 key on your keyboard or click on View - Refresh from the menu bar or click on the icon that has two green arrows going in a circle. All of these will "refresh your browser" and cause your PC to grab the most recent data from the website you are visiting.

This will also take care of other problems. Sometimes you will see an empty box with a little red "x" in one corner, instead of a picture or other content. That means your browser had difficulty getting that information from the web site. You can try again by refreshing via one of the methods mentioned above. It never hurts to refresh.

It is good practice to occasionally clear the temporary cache to speed things up. In Internet Explorer you can click on Tools and then Internet Options. From the General tab look for the middle section that says temporary Internet Files. Click on the Delete Files button and then OK. That clears your cache.

Good luck with those stocks!

Answered by Tech Expert Dan Hanson

If you have computer or Internet questions, e-mail our Tech Guru at tech@ClevelandSeniors.Com

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