If you are using the Internet Explorer web browser, please follow all of the steps below to clear or delete your history. (What browser am I using?)
Step 1. Through the browser
Internet Explorer 9 users – Click on the Gear icon (top-right), then on Safety and then on Delete browsing history (see picture below).
Internet Explorer 8 users – Click the Tools menu (top-right) and then Delete Browsing History.
Internet Explorer 7 users – Click the Safety menu (top-right) and then Delete Browsing History.
Then make sure all the boxes are ticked (see below) and click Delete . (This may vary slightly depending on the version of Internet Explorer you are using, but the principal of deleting everything from the list you are presented with is the same).
Step 2. The index.dat files and the Registry
Many people make the mistake of stopping after step 1. However, although now somewhat obscured, your browsing history is still on your computer.
Windows stores it in index.dat files. There are many of these files and they are spread across your computer. Also, even if you are able to locate them, they are constantly in use by Windows and so you will not be able to delete them.
To take a look at the index.dat files on your computer, download Index.dat Analyze or CCleaner. You will still be able to see details that ‘should’ have been deleted in step 1 (above) within the index.dat files.
Both software tools will let you delete the contents of the index.dat files. However, not every file named index.dat is an Internet Explorer history file.
Internet Explorer also adds entries to your Windows Registry. (The Windows Registry is a hierarchical database that stores configuration settings and options about your Microsoft Windows operating system. It also stores configuration settings for all programs installed on your computer, including Internet Explorer. The data in the Registry is essential for your entire computer to function correctly.
To remove the history from your Registry:-
- Click the Start button (far bottom-left corner of your screen).
- Type ‘regedit’ in the search box.
- Navigate to this folder: HKEY_CURRENT_USER > Software > Microsoft > Internet Explorer >TypedURLs
- From here you should see the websites you have visited. (Note: some times if you have completed step 1 above they do not show up. However, you still need to clear your index.dat files because details will still be present there).
Editing your Registry can stop your computer working. Completely. back up your Registry before attempting any alterations. Also, do not attempt to edit your Registry unless you are experienced and confident you know what you are doing.