How to View Your Cache in Firefox 4? Use a Cache Viewer!

Why would you want to view your web browser cache?

First of all, what is a cache? Each web browser has a cache in which it stores some of the files that it has downloaded from the internet. Whenever you view a web page, it places the photos and videos on that web page in its cache. If you decide to visit the web page again soon then it can display you the web page faster because it does not have to download those photos and videos again.

Sometimes you want those files yourself on your own computer, like the photo files or the video files. You can then grab those files from the cache of your web browser and you don't need to use separate programs or scripts to download the files from the web page.

In particular this is useful for videos because many video websites don't allow you to download the video files easily. But in order to display the video, your computer must have the video data anyway so there is not much those websites can do... you can simply grab the video from your web browser cache!

Where is my cache of Firefox 4?

Start Firefox 4 and type in the address bar of your browser: about:cache and press Enter. Look under the heading Disk cache device and next to Cache Directory you will find the location on your hard disk where your Firefox 4 cache is located.

Notice that there's also an option to List Cache Entries. If you have thousands and thousands of cache items (like I do) then this will be really slow so I don't recommend trying it. The browser pretty much hangs when you try that. Also, you cannot view the files this way, you will only get basic information about each cache item.

How do I view the cache files of Firefox 4?

In Firefox 3 there was an easy way to get the photos or videos that you viewed on the web. You could simply go to your cache folder on your computer and look through the files. This was a really easy approach to get the YouTube videos that you viewed or any other files.

Firefox 4 has arrived and it seems that is no longer possible. Your cache is now divided into 16 folders which are subdivided even further into hundreds of folders. Where am I supposed to find my photos and videos now?

To make a long story short, you need a Firefox 4 cache viewer. According to this answer at the Firefox Support Forum, most of your files are now in large cache files. The photos and videos that you view are no longer as separate files on your computer for security reasons. The file extensions have also been removed. According to that answer large files are still as individual files on your disk but I haven't found a way to reliably find a given photo or video yet.

If you want to view the files in your Firefox 4 cache you will need a program that allows you to do that.

Where can I download a Firefox 4 cache viewer?

Update March 1, 2011: The program VideoCacheView can be used to extract videos from the Firefox 4 cache.

I don't know, I haven't found one yet. There is a cache viewer for Firefox 3.0 - 3.6 but it has not been updated yet for Firefox 4.

I tried to ignore the warning but it won't install because it is not compatible with Firefox 4. The cache structure has changed anyway so it needs to be updated to work with Firefox 4.

If you know of any Firefox 4 cache viewer, please post it in the comments and I'll update the article. If someone updates the existing cache viewer to work with Firefox 4, that would be awesome!

This article was written by Simeon Visser. I am earning money online by writing here at HubPages.com. Would you like to earn money online as well? Read the success stories and sign up today to get started!

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Comments 18 comments

psychicdog.net profile image

psychicdog.net 5 years ago

I suppose you could just revisit the page then and look at the photos or just use prnt scrn?


simeonvisser profile image

simeonvisser 5 years ago Author

That works for photos but you need to right-click on each photo individually. And it won't work for videos. In Firefox 3 you could select and copy the individual files from the cache and you would have them in their original format. In particular for videos this was very handy but Firefox 4 has taken a different approach.


simeonvisser profile image

simeonvisser 5 years ago Author

@psychicdog.net: To make it all more clear, I have added an introduction that explains why one would want to grab files from a web browser cache.


Jknext profile image

Jknext 5 years ago from India

It would be fine, if the developer updated this plug-in for Firefox 4. Anyway nice share!


simeonvisser profile image

simeonvisser 5 years ago Author

Yes I agree, that would be the best solution. I'll try to update this article when I hear of such good news (or the development of a similar plugin for Firefox 4).


carljsp profile image

carljsp 5 years ago

firefox uses cache ?? i was unaware i am still learning internet lolzzz thanks for sharing....


simeonvisser profile image

simeonvisser 5 years ago Author

@carljsp: Yes, and other web browsers have a cache as well.


hometeor.com 5 years ago

use this portable program to watch or download video cache.

http://www.nirsoft.net/utils/video_cache_view.html


simeonvisser profile image

simeonvisser 5 years ago Author

That should work according to the changelog, I could try that later.


davos777 5 years ago

videocacheview doesn´t work with firefox 4.0 dude.

you should try your suggests before post them.


LegendOfLife 5 years ago

install addon "Add-on compatibility reporter" then install CacheViewer... it will work fine.


indraf 5 years ago

found it:

C:\Users\[your name]\AppData\Local\Temp

find recent/large file with *.tmp extension


Anthony 5 years ago

This tool should allow you to view the cache of Firefox 4:

http://www.nirsoft.net/utils/mozilla_cache_viewer....

Haven't test it myself though...


Vermeilia 5 years ago

its in C:\Users\(user name)\AppData\Local\Temp

it seems always name with "fla*.tmp" without quote

*sign is wildcard


Mike 5 years ago

the "Add-On Compatibility Reporter" does not make Cache Viewer work fully. Cache Viewer will list the cache items, however, the ability to see a preview in the preview window is lost (something very important if looking for a certain picture(s) in cache).

I don't want to use Firefox 4 until Cache Viewer is fully working with it. I hope they address this issue soon!


OkiNE 5 years ago

You can view Mozzile Firefox 4 cache with MozzilaCacheView (Google it, it's Freeware). Although it says to work with Firefox 4 Beta, it works with Firefox 4 as well.


Thinks différent! 5 years ago

Where am I supposed to find my photos and videos now?

very easy

Windows explorer

select cache folder

make search all files and folders

type *

search

reorganize last modified

LOL


Andy77 5 years ago

You can use "Cache View Plus". It's nice program!

http://www.ankonit.com/download/CacheViewPlus_Inst...

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