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Contents of the WebCache – What you didn’t know.

 

As a developer at Avanite I spend a long time analysing the webcache database.  As well as changing with each release I am always surprised to see the amount of data which appears in there.  Most of you will know that web browsing generates data in the form of cookies, browsing history, DOMStore etc, and some may also realise that running a web based application will generate the same; but what about all those applications which don’t run within a browser.


So I log onto my Windows 10 machine with a new user and so a fresh user profile and wait for the usual “setting things up for you” complete.  Being a user of both Microsoft Edge and Internet Explorer I open both and browse to the www.avanite.com in both browsers and then close them.  Unsurprisingly when I look within the WebCache database I see two sets of data – one for each browser.  But then I see other applications too.  Windows 8 introduced the concept of ‘store’ or ‘universal applications and I can see a number of them listed.  Looking at Cortana I can see that it has DOMStore data and storage for cookies and other data, and on closer inspection I see images and other data downloaded from third-parties – and I still have yet to actually use Cortana


Looking further into the WebCache reveals just how much the internet forms part of our daily lives.  Windows Explorer has been closely linked to Internet Explorer for a number of years and true enough, as I browse my local network and access files both the path and filename are recorded.  Many of today’s applications communicate in some way to servers on the internet, often using third parties such as Google or Facebook as authentication services.  So next time you are sitting down to a game of Candy Crush you may want to think about exactly who you are talking to, and maybe what they are learning about you.


To give users a full rich browsing experience web data must be preserved, which means preserving the WebCache for the user – but how much unnecessary data are you keeping alongside this.  Avanite provides software which adds intelligence and management to the storage of web data.  With the ability to address Windows store applications, and settings such as the removal of all third party cookies it ensures that you only keep the data you truly need and remove all the data you don’t want.

 

Simon Thompson (Avanite Developer)

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