**** USE AT YOUR OWN RISK *****
WE DO NOT SUGGEST CLEARING YOUR CACHE
ONLY ATTEMPT THESE STEPS IF YOU ARE CONFIDENT WITH WORKING WITH COMPUTERS.
BASE CAMP TRADING WILL NOT ASSIST YOU WITH RECOVERING FROM ANY ERRORS THAT OCCUR DUE TO ATTEMPTING ANY OF THESE PROCEDURES.
DO NOT EVEN THINK ABOUT DOING ANY OF THESE STEPS UNLESS YOU HAVE A FULL BACKUP OF YOUR TRADESTATION FILES, INCLUDING INDICATORS, STRATEGIES, WORKSPACES, DESKTOPS, ETC. AND YOU KNOW HOW TO RECOVER YOUR TRADESTATION CONFIGURATION USING THEM
RESEARCH CLEARING YOUR TRADESTATION CACHE FROM MULTIPLE SOURCES BEFORE ATTEMPTING TO TAKE ANY STEPS IN CLEARING YOUR CACHE
**** USE AT YOUR OWN RISK *****
WE DO NOT SUGGEST CLEARING YOUR CACHE
If you have been told to “try clearing the cache” in TradeStation, you may not know what that means. It’s can be a bit complex to do this, but it’s rather simple once you try it. But use it with care, and it should only be done by someone with plenty of confidence in using computers and in using and restoring TradeStation.
What is a cache? You probably know that all of the market data gets downloaded to your system. You can imagine that’s quite a bit of data, and if every TradeStation user had to download the data for all charts every morning, that would take a lot of time and effort for their servers to provide it. So TradeStation saves all the data it downloads, and then only requests new data from the server. This way, if you already have data from yesterday downloaded to your system, your computer doesn’t need to request yesterday’s data again. It can find yesterday’s data locally stored, and then ask TradeStation’s severs for the new data that you haven’t yet downloaded.
Where does TradeStation store all of that downloaded data? That’s where the Cache comes in. The Cache is a set of databases that TradeStation creates and maintains, typicially stored in your TradeStation program files directory. When TradeStation draws a chart, it pulls all known data for the chart from the cache, and whatever it doesn’t have, it requests from the TradeStation servers. All the new data it downloads gets stored in the cache, so the next time the chart is loaded, it doesn’t have to request that data from the server again.
As you can imagine, after a while, a LOT of data gets stored. If those storage files grow to be very large, then they can become a lot to handle. It’s not uncommon to find caches holding files that are many gigabytes in size.
So many TradeStation users feel that they can get better performance by occasionally clearing out the cache. That is, clear out all the old downloaded data and let TradeStation build them back up again. If you completely clear out your cache, TradeStation will need to download ALL of your data again – which it will do – it just takes a bit longer to get the data from the server to your system. TradeStation seems to be pretty smart about this, in that it will download a page full of the newest data first, so you can see the chart quickly, and in the background, download the historical data. In this case, you may notice a PD symbol at the upper left of a chart, indicating that a Pending Data condition exists as TradeStation is awaiting the delivery of more data for that chart. Don’t worry, it doesn’t take too long, but it’s long enough to notice the delay.
Having a healthy cache can greatly speed up the full loading of your charts because the historical data is readily available on your computer. But when that gets too big, it can be burdensome. When to clear your cache depends on many things, such as how many charts you use, how often you look at charts, etc.
One thing to keep in mind about clearing the cache is that TradeStation doesn’t always restore ALL the data that it initially downloads. There’s some data, such as tick data, that won’t be available after several months. So if you clear out your cache, you may find that you’re unable to get tick data for long ago. So clear you cache with caution if you need to access that type of detailed data long ago (e.g. over 6 months – check with TradeStation for details on that).
But if you’re ready to try clearing your cache, here’s how to do it. First, identify whether you’re using TS 9.x (e.g. 9.5) or TS 10. Choose the approach that’s listed in the two sections that follow.
Clearing the Cache in TradeStation 9.x (e.g. 9.5)
The safest way to clear out your cache is adjust the preferences to do so. Open File/Preferences/TradeStation Network… and choose the Cache tab, and you’ll see the dialog as shown below. This one’s defaulted to 60 days, which means that TradeStation will purge out data that hasn’t been accessed for about 2 months. If you want to reduce that amount to decrease the cache size, you can do so, but keep in mind that data you don’t use for a while will disappear after a shorter period of lack of use.
You could set the number of days to a very small number and then increase it again back to 60 or so.
It’s not exactly clear whether this will clear out a very large cache. After all, if you repeatedly access crude futures, for example, then perhaps the old data for crude will never go away – as long as you reference it within the past 60 calendar days. So this may not clear much data out of your cache.
In addition, there are quite a few cache files as you’ll soon see, and there may be other files that aren’t affected by this setting. So you may be looking for something that does a more dramatic clearing of the cache, up to removing ALL of it and starting again.
As stated above, this can be a little bit of an advanced topic, so make sure you’ve backed up TradeStation, including your workspaces and desktops, in the low chance that something might go awry. (It’s a good practice to regularly back up your TradeStation installation anyway – google it for more info on how to set it up).
In TradeStation 9.5, the cache is stored in a number of files within a folder called Cache. It will likely contain over a dozen different cache files, such as shown here:
As you may have noticed, one of those files is much larger than the rest. That’s the primary cache file, and is about 2 Gigabytes in size. It can grow much larger than that. 2 GB isn’t too bad, but it’s quite a large file in Windows. It’s likely one of the largest files on your system, unless you have a lot of large DVD files, or backup filesets, for example. A file of that size is likely fragmented, meaning it’s broken up into multiple pieces (fragments) across your hard drive. Depending on your hardware, that may or may not be a big deal. It’s less of a big deal for SSD drives, but could cause a noticeable delay for slower spinning drives. If the file is broken into, say, 20 fragments, then it’s possible that 20 file pieces will have to be accessed to read all of the cache. So keeping that file smaller can hopefully reduce the number of fragments and enhance performance. On an SSD, there’s very little difference if a file is fragmented, as each part of the drive takes the same amount of time to reference, with no head seek or rotational latency to slow us down. Keep in mind that some fragmentation is expected. Remember, accessing 20 file pieces on your local computer is probably going to be faster than pulling data from the server over the network, so it’s a relative speed issue. Having a cache is good – it helps speed up your computer, as long as it’s not too large.
To force TradeStation to rebuild the cache from scratch, you can clear out the cache folder – with TradeStation fully closed, of course. Some people prefer to rename the folder, so they have it as a backup in case they want to restore it. Either way, you can trigger TradeStation to rebuild the cache from the server.
The file path to the cache may vary on your system, but it defaults to this location:
C:\Program Files (x86)\TradeStation 9.5\Program\Cache
(ADVANCED) Remember, messing around with files in the Program Files directory is a bit risky if you don’t know what you’re doing, so if you’re at all squeamish, please ask someone who does know for help. If worse comes to worst, you can re-install TradeStation from scratch, but that’s a lot of extra work that you want to avoid (you’ll have to recreate any unsaved workspaces, desktops, etc., plus reinstall all those indicators!!) If you are comfortable proceeding, and you’ve done your backups, you can completely SHUT DOWN TRADESTATION, then go to the C:\Program Files (x86)\TradeStation 9.5\Program folder, and rename or delete the Cache folder that’s there. That’s at least one way to clear out the Cache. You could rename it to Cache.old if you’d like, and if for some reason you want that old cache back, you could delete the new Cache folder that TradeStation creates, and rename the old one back again. Most cache-clearing people probably just delete the Cache file.
With the Cache folder not present, once TradeStation restarts, it will realize that the Cache folder is gone, and it will create it again, and start to download the data it needs to rebuild all those files again, starting from nothing. Remember that TradeStation has to pull data from the servers more than it usually does, so be patient as it rebuilds your cache as you move through your charts and symbols.
If you do keep an old version of your cache around temporarily, remember to go back and delete it when you’re comfortable with the new cache if you’re looking to get back that big chunk of disk space the old cache is using.
Clearing the Cache in TradeStation 10
If you’re a TradeStation 10 user, it appears that TradeStation has some instructions on how to clear the cache at the following link
If that’s not creating the cache clearing that you were hoping for, review the instructions listed for TradeStation 9.5, above, which should roughly apply to TradeStation 10. Remember, this is an ADVANCED procedure, so proceed with caution. Did you remember to do your backups first?