For any browser running on Windows, Ctrl+F5 forces reload from network, not cache

Posted by Paul Braren on May 6 2014 (updated on Jul 30 2016) in
  • Productivity
  • WebDesign
  • Your browser saves bandwidth by saving parts of web pages, usually to your hard drive, in a system known as cache. This ensures that identical content is downloaded only once. Sometimes, strange website behavior can make it necessary to bypass this cache, forcing your browser to re-download a web page's complete content.

    Pressing the "Refresh" icon near a browers' address bar simply refreshes the page view, mostly from local cache.

    When working on web content, I find it helpful to be able to forcibly get my browser to refresh newly modified content from the server, rather than merely re-drawing possibly "stale" content from local disk cache. I also run many browsers to allow simultaneous logins to different Google accounts, and to test web page rendering. These circumstances led to my quest to find a single key combination for cache bypass that'd work across all 4 major browsers began. I really don't want to clear my entire disk cache as a clumsy workaround, such as the detailed instructions here.

    And after poking around here and here, I eventually found the above wiki article. I then quickly came to realize that no single article seem to capture all of the keystrokes and mouse+keyboard combos out there. So I made a list of my findings below, then tested and retested them, using the simple Windows 8.1 Task Manager method demonstrated in the video below. Turns out that the only single method for bypassing cache that all 4 browsers have in common is to:

    Press Ctrl key and hold it, then press +F5.

    Listed below are the numerous alternative ways each browser can do this same cache bypass.


    tested with version 34

    Ctrl + F5
    Shift + F5
    Ctrl + [onscreen Reload button to left of URL]


    tested version 29

    Ctrl+ F5
    Shift + [onscreen Reload button at far right of URL]


    tested with Microsoft Internet Explorer version 11

    Ctrl + F5
    Ctrl + [onscreen Refresh button to left of URL]


    tested with Microsoft Edge version 25.10586.0.0

    Ctrl + F5
    Ctrl + R


    tested with version 20

    Ctrl + F5
    Shift + F5
    Ctrl +  [onscreen Reload button to left of URL]
    Shift + [onscreen Reload button to left of URL]

    See also

    Windows Task Manager auto-started as an effective CPU monitor in your system tray by Paul Braren for IT Pro Guru Blog