Cache Me If You Can

If you are among the select group of players who reads the forums before you visit the game web sites each day, then you may be in a position to help maintain game continuity.  From time to time tricky PuppetMasters suddenly up and change a site or worse take it down completely during the course of a campaign.  That's where you come in.  Say you're sitting at your computer, consuming your favorite hot beverage and you read: Subject: Check your cache!!!  or some such urgent plea to people to check their cache to recover the previous version or now missing site.  I was gaming for nearly a year before I actually tried this because it seemed so intimidating and mysterious.  Turns out it's not all that difficult.

Cardinal Rule Number One for checking your cache.  DO NOT GO TO THE SITE TO SEE IF IT'S REALLY MISSING OR HOW IT HAS CHANGED!!!!!
If you do, then your cache will save the site as it is now and you'll lose the previous files in your cache altogether.

Cardinal Rule Number Two for checking your cache is WORK OFFLINE. I think maybe I'll say that again, cuz it's just so darn important. WORK OFFLINE.

In Internet Explorer and Mozilla use the file command and check Work Offline.

In Netscape File>Offline>Work Offline

Now you can safely search for the files from your last visit to the altered site and recover as much of the site as you're able to.  Believe me, anything you can retrieve will be welcomed.  Different people will have different files in their cache depending on when they last visited the site in question.  Traditionally, people have managed to collect files from various players and reconstruct much if not all of a missing or altered site.

Open Windows Explorer.
The directory string in XP is Local Disk (C:) > Documents and Settings > Your Name > Local Settings > Temporary Internet

On win2k, NT, and XP

In '98 it's windows\tempor~1\
or c:\windows\locals~1
or \windows\identities\{bunch of crap}\tempor~1\content.ie5
or if you show hidden files, search for content.ie5 and you'll find it regardless
content.ie5 is only for IE 5.0 or newer. (thanks to wb for this)

Here's an example of some files in my cache...some old Noah Boddy files.  In fact, Noah Boddy is a classic example of the need for people to check their cache as the images would change, without warning, throughout the puzzle. The previous images needed to be rescued from cache to collect all the relevant images to solve/preserve the puzzle.

This is the part in XP that is used to open the files, generally by right-clicking and Open in a new window:

I right-clicked on 1113left and outsmartright to recover these images:

When I right-clicked on index.html (from the above list) a browser window opened with the entire Noah Boddy index page reassembled as it appeared the last time I visited it (11/19/02 at 9:48 AM) for me using the images in the cache.

Now that you have the files you're looking for, the files need to be saved to your hard drive somewhere that you can find them again.  Once you have the images, web page, sounds, etc. saved, then go to the forum where you play and upload them to the files area.  This makes you a hero and people will adore you and throw flowers at your feet.  Well, they'll be profusely grateful anyway if you manage to be the one who rescues the files from oblivion.

Cardinal Rule Number Three for checking your cache: Remember to go back online.
Uncheck Work Offline.

*Special thanks to Sapagoo for teaching me how to do this, and to wb and imbri for their input.