In general, people don't really appreciate it when people dig into their internet browsing history. Hiding your history isn't reserved for those who go surfing adult websites or frequent private chat rooms: many people keep personal data on a shared computer, and these people want that data (races to birthday or Christmas) remain secret, without spies coming to discover their secrets. If this is the case for you, it is absolutely essential that it becomes your habit to avoid possible problems.
Method 1 of 5: Clear history using Internet Explorer
Step 1. Open Internet Explorer
Click on Internet options in the menu Tools.
Step 2. Delete everything
From the window Internet options menu Tools, click on Delete everything. As another solution, delete the items individually from the window Historical available in the toolbar.
- Delete cookies: from the same window Internet options, click on Delete cookies. Otherwise, delete the elements one by one using the button View Files.
- Delete temporary files: from the same window Internet options, click on Delete files. See the Tips section on how to deal with temporary files.
Method 2 of 5: Clear history with Google Chrome
Step 1. Open the Chrome browser
At the top right of the window, find the Chrome menu in the toolbar and click on it.
- Click on Tools → Delete browsing data …
Step 2. Check your options
In the window that will appear, check the data you want to delete. You can delete only part of your browsing history if you wish, or delete the entire history.
To delete your entire history, select the option to delete items "from the beginning"
Method 3 of 5: Clear history with Firefox
Step 1. Start Firefox
Click on the Firefox menu, and select History → Clear recent history.
Step 2. Choose a period of time
In the "Clear recent history" window, choose the appropriate time period. You can choose a period between the last hour passed and all history.
- To select more precisely the elements to delete, click on the menu Details in the "Clear recent history" window, and select exactly what you want to delete.
Step 3. Click Erase Now
Method 4 of 5: Clear history with registry editor (advanced)
Step 1. Display the Start menu and type “regedit” in the search bar
Press on Entrance when you are done.
Step 2. Double click on the Regedit icon
Wait for the program to appear. If prompted, press To continue.
Step 3. Press Ctrl + F to open the Search tool
This will allow you to search for very specific registry files.
Step 4. Type "HKEY_CURRENT_USER \ Software \ Microsoft" in the search box
Click on the icon More once the results appear in the search box.
Step 5. Navigate to “Internet Explorer” → “Explorer Bars”
Step 6. Find the Default registry entry
It will have the word "Default" in the name of its file.
Step 7. Right click and delete all registry entries below the "Default" registry entry
Be careful not to delete the "Default" registry entry or any entry above "Default", as this may damage your system and prevent it from performing certain tasks.
Method 5 of 5: Delete Index.Dat Files (Advanced Method)
Step 1. Start Windows in Safe Mode
Usually, you can boot into Safe Mode by quickly pressing the F8 key right after turning on your computer.
Step 2. Log in as administrator
Your index.dat files, which record your Internet history data, cannot be deleted through Command Prompt if you are not logged in as an administrator.
Step 3. In Command Prompt, write "del index
dat / s”and press the“Enter”key. Your index.dat files, along with their subdirectories, should be deleted.
- Once you've cleared all of your history, delete all System Restore points just in case. It is possible to restore the registry to its original state using this tool.
- To prevent scientific analysis of your hard drive, write over the empty space of your hard drive with a utility like Eraser.
- If you don't want to complicate your life to erase your history manually, there are programs that will do it for you, like CCleaner (which is free!), OSPC Privacy Cleaner, East-Tec Eraser 2007, Evidence Eliminator, Tracks Eraser Pro, or Window Washer.
- Windows keeps a DNS cache to find web pages more quickly. To see a list of the last visited web pages, open Command Prompt (write "CMD" in the "Run" box) and type ipconfig / displaydns. It is possible to flush the cache with the command ipconfig / flushdns.
- To turn off the "Recent Documents" section of your Start menu, right-click on the Start menu. Click on Properties, then on the tab Start menu. Click on the button Personalize. Open the tab Advanced. At the bottom of the window is the "Recent documents" section where you can uncheck "Show recently opened documents". There is also a button which is used to clean the list, but which keeps this section in the Start menu.
- Configure IE to automatically delete temporary files when it quits. This option can be found in the tab Advanced in the "Internet Options" menu of the Internet Explorer browser. Alternatively, you can install Firefox as a replacement for Internet Explorer, which gives you a “Clear Private Browsing Data” option.
- If you have an antivirus, there should be an option to help you delete your usage history. The name of the feature may vary. If you have the latest Quick Heal program, then you should have the program known as "PC Tuner", which you can access through the antivirus. You can run the "Auto TuneUp" automatic optimization, or you can run the "Traces Cleanup" separately.
- Under certain circumstances, an expert might be able to reverse these changes.
- Trying to disguise your computer use at work is likely to cause you problems with your management. Network administrators have access to server logs that accurately show network and workstation activity. Firewalls can also keep records, as can ISPs.
- Modifications to system files yourself are potentially dangerous and are done at your own risk.
- You are likely to attract attention if it is obvious that you have taken steps to clear your history.
- Do not change another user's settings on a computer without asking their permission: this will be very inconvenient. In many countries, changing computer settings without legal authorization is a crime.