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Fix a 'broken' Facebook page (and other browser oddities)

Does Facebook (or another site) suddenly look strange in your desktop browser? There may be an easy fix.

Recently Facebook started to look weird. When I loaded the site in my desktop browser (Google Chrome), things seemed awkwardly out of place. Links weren't in the right places, buttons and fonts looked different, and so on.

At first I wondered if these were more of the network's design "improvements," which seem to roll out at random times. But, no -- upon closer inspection, something was clearly off. I refreshed, I closed and re-opened Chrome... same result.

Because I've studied Troubleshooting 101, my next step was to load Facebook in another browser. Lo and behold, it looked normal in Internet Explorer. So obviously the problem lay in Chrome.

OK, but what to do about it? Uninstall the browser and then reinstall it? Nothing that drastic: The fix was to clear the browser's cache, which for whatever reason had gotten slightly corrupted, hence the funky Facebook layout. This can happen, and it can affect other sites as well. Bottom line: If a page looks "not right" somehow, wiping your browser's cache may well solve the problem.

Indeed, after I cleared the cache, Facebook returned to normal. It's kind of like shaking an Etch-A-Sketch to make sure all the lines have been erased. Here's how to clear the cache in most browsers.

Screenshot by Rick Broida/CNET


Press Ctrl-Shift-Del to bring up the Clear Browsing Data window. Check only "cached images and files," then click Clear Browsing Data. Now close Chrome and restart.

Screenshot by Rick Broida/CNET


Press Ctrl-Shift-Del to bring up the Clear Recent History window. Set "Time range to clear" to "Everything," then click the Details arrow. Make sure only Cache is selected, then click Clear Now. Close Firefox and restart.

Screenshot by Rick Broida/CNET

Internet Explorer

Press Ctrl-Shift-Del to bring up the Delete Browsing History window. Check only "Temporary Internet files and website files," then click Delete. Now close Internet Explorer and restart.