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recent sites i visitedYour web browser stores a list of your recently visited websites. Clearing this list is easy, but you’ll want to block your browser from saving history in the first place if you find yourself clearing it all the time. The privacy problems don’t stop there – out-of-date web browsers allow websites to snoop on your history. And if you’ve got a Google account, Google may know more about your browsing history than you think.

Depending on your browser, you can prevent the browser from storing private data entirely or automatically clear it when the browser exits. All browsers also contain private-browsing features, which allow you to browse sensitive websites without leaving a trace on your local system.

Update Your Browser

Older versions of the major web browsers are vulnerable to browser history sniffing Do You Know What The Internet Knows About You? Do You Know What The Internet Knows About You? Read More . Web browsers display visited links and unvisited links in different color text, so a shady website or advertising network could load links in a hidden frame and check their colors. By doing so, the website can tell whether you’ve visited a website. This problem has been fixed in the current versions of the major web browsers, but hundreds of millions of people use older Web browsers and are still vulnerable.

Viewing Browser History

Anyone with access to your computer can view the recent sites you visited. This option is easily found in a web browser’s menu, but a quick way to open the history in any Web browser is by pressing Ctrl-H.

The below screenshot shows the recent sites I visited in Internet Explorer. If you have multiple browsers installed on your computer, each browser has its own history and its own history settings.

recent sites i visited

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Internet Explorer

Internet Explorer’s history options are located in its Internet Options window. If you’re using an older version of Internet Explorer, you’ll find this option under the Tools menu instead of the gear menu.

recent sites visited my pc

Under the General tab, click the “Settings” button in the “Browsing history” section to access the history settings.

recent sites visited my pc

In the history settings window, set the “Days to keep pages in history” option to “0“.

recent sites visited my pc

Internet Explorer will actually keep pages for one day when you set it to 0, so you’ll also want to enable the “Delete browsing history on exit” option. Click the “Delete…” button to customize the data that Internet Explorer deletes when you close it.

recent sites viewed

Mozilla Firefox

Firefox users will find Firefox’s history options in its Options window. If you don’t see a Firefox button, look under the Tools menu.

recent sites viewed

On the Privacy pane, click the “Firefox will” box and select “Never remember history.” This setting may be a bit inconvenient – it automatically deletes cookies How Do Websites Use Cookies? [Technology Explained] How Do Websites Use Cookies? [Technology Explained] Read More , too, so you’ll have to log back into websites every time you restart Firefox. However, it does improve privacy.

recent sites viewed

After disabling history, click the “clear all current history” link in the window to clear the existing history.

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Google Chrome

Unfortunately, Google Chrome doesn’t have an integrated way to disable or automatically clear its browser history, although you can use the “Clear all browsing data” button on the History page to quickly clear your history.

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The most highly rated extension that does this is Click&Clean. After installing it, click the C on the toolbar and click the Options button.

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From the extension’s options page, you can set it to always delete your browsing history and other private data when you close Chrome.

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You can also try making your Chrome History file read-only How To Browse Privately In Chrome Without Going Fully Incognito How To Browse Privately In Chrome Without Going Fully Incognito I am a Google Chrome user and one of the features I especially like about Chrome is its incognito mode. When in incognito mode, webpages you open and files you download won't be recorded in... Read More , which we’ve covered in the past, but this is a bit more complicated.

Apple Safari

Apple’s Safari Web browser Three Useful Safari Startup Tricks That You Might Not Be Familiar With Three Useful Safari Startup Tricks That You Might Not Be Familiar With One of the popular names in the browser world is Safari. It's the default browser for Mac, so it's only logical that Safari is widely used in the Mac community. But even in the Windows... Read More is like Chrome – it also can’t automatically clear its own history. Unfortunately, there’s no extension 5 More Powerfully Useful Safari Extensions You Should Try 5 More Powerfully Useful Safari Extensions You Should Try Almost two years ago, Apple finally set up a way for developers to create extensions for its fast and easy-to-use web browser, Safari. You can access available extensions by clicking on the Safari Extensions Gallery... Read More to help for Safari. Luckily, you can have Safari only store history items for a single day. To do so, open Safari’s Preferences window.

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On the General pane, set Safari to automatically remove history items after one day.

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You can also remove Safari’s history immediately by selecting the Reset option in the menu.

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Opera

Opera Five Irresistable Reasons Why You Should Take Opera 11 For A Serious Spin Five Irresistable Reasons Why You Should Take Opera 11 For A Serious Spin In truth, Opera 11 is an absolutely amazing browser. If you take Opera as a “secondary” browser and only use it now and then, you may just fall in love with it. Here are some... Read More users will find browser history options in the Preferences window, located in the Settings submenu.

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Click the Advanced tab in the Preferences window and select the History section to view Opera’s history options. Set the Addresses field to 0 and Opera won’t remember any websites you visit.

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Google Web History

If you have a Google account, Google’s Web History feature How to Delete Recent Searches Without Accidentally Leaving a Trace How to Delete Recent Searches Without Accidentally Leaving a Trace Read More may be saving the searches you perform and the sites you visit from Google’s search page. To check, open Google’s Web History page and log in with your Google account credentials if you’re not already logged in.

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Click the “Remove all Web History” button to clear your web history and disable collection of future web history.

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Private Browsing

You can also use the private browsing 4 Uses for Browsing in Privacy Mode (That Isn't Porn) 4 Uses for Browsing in Privacy Mode (That Isn't Porn) Read More , incognito mode, or InPrivate browsing feature in your web browser to surf the web without leaving a trace on your local system. This is particularly useful for Safari, which can’t automatically clear history on exit. You’ll find these options in your browser’s menu.

recent sites i visited

Do you constantly clear your browser’s history and private data, or do you not care who sees it? Leave a comment and let us know.

Image Credit: Magnifying Glass Searching the Internet via Shutterstock

  1. Jeff
    April 5, 2012 at 8:09 pm

    re: Safari
    definitely do not use the "Reset Safari.." menu item as it will erase all your passwords!
    just pull down the History menu and at the bottom is an option to "clear history".

    jp

    • Chris Hoffman
      April 5, 2012 at 11:16 pm

      Thanks for the tip, Jeff! If you store passwords in Safari, that's important to know.

      Apple's official documentation says "If you use a shared or public computer, you may want to reset Safari to prevent other people from seeing which webpages you’ve visited," so I am a bit surprised. It's the option Apple recommends!

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