Updated: 12/31/2020 by Computer Hope

A refresh may refer to any of the following:


1. In general, refresh is another way of describing reloading or updating what is being displayed or stored. For example, if you were on a web page, refreshing the page would bring up the most recent content published on that page. Essentially, you're asking the site to send your computer the newest version of the page you're viewing.

2. The refresh button, also known as refresh option, is a function of all Internet browsers. It is used to ask the browser to send you the most updated version of the page you're viewing. See the browser page for additional information about this term and related links.


On a Windows-based computer, pressing the F5 function key or Ctrl+R refreshes a web page on all browsers. Sometimes, this is referred to as refresh key or key combination on the keyboard. In most browsers, there is a refresh icon Refresh button that is an arrow that forms a circle. It is usually located to the left of the address bar.


Pressing the F5 function key can refresh the Windows desktop screen.


On a Mac, pressing Command+R refreshes the page you are currently viewing.


On a Chromebook, pressing Ctrl+R refreshes the page you are currently viewing. There is also a dedicated refresh button on the top row of keys on every Chromebook. It looks like a circular arrow, similar to the Refresh button icon in an Internet browser.

What is a "force reload" or "hard refresh"?

There are some situations where a refresh does not refresh everything on a web page. In this situation, you can perform a force reload or hard refresh by pressing Ctrl+F5.

What if refresh still doesn't work after doing the above steps?

If refresh is still not loading the latest version of a web page, you might be viewing a remotely cached version of the site. For example, CDN services cache static content such as images and even sometimes web pages. It is also possible that a network proxy or your ISP is caching all or part of a web page. If refreshing the page is not loading the latest version of a web page, try the following steps.

  • How do I clear my Internet browser history?
  • See if the same web page loads properly in a different browser.
  • Try resetting the router by unplugging the power waiting a few seconds, and then plugging the power back into the router.
  • If you're designing a web page or service and use a CDN, make sure to clear any CDN cache.
  • Finally, if you continue to have problems, contact the ISP to make sure the problem is not on their end.

3. Refresh is a term that describes renewing the screen contents on a CRT monitor. As the refresh rate increases, the image becomes clearer.

We recommended that anyone who still uses a CRT monitor to have it set to at least a 75 MHz refresh rate. Lower refresh rates commonly cause strain on the eyes. If you have a flat-panel display, you do not need to worry about the refresh rate.

4. When referring to computer memory, refresh is the recharging of DRAM (dynamic random access memory) chips that allow them to keep holding the data they are currently storing. Memory refresh rate is commonly displayed as xK, where x is a number such as 2 or 4. If the memory has a refresh rate of 2k, it indicates how many rows it takes to complete the refresh. In our example of 2k, this means there are 2 thousand rows. The refresh cycle is a way of showing the time it requires to complete one row.

5. Refresh may also refer to a software utility developed to help improve the performance of how memory is handled on a computer.

6. When referring to a computer battery, refresh is an ability that allows NiCad batteries to reset the memory that stores their charge state.

7. Refresh may be used when describing erasing and reinstalling all of the software on a computer to make it like new.

Display cycle, Interlacing, Memory terms, Reload, Restore, Video terms