How To Securely Delete Your Internet Explorer History

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delete internet historyIf I was to open up your web browser what would I find? Internet history can be helpful in remembering past visited sites and having shortcuts to your favorites, but it’s not always an option we’d like to have. Sometimes being able to delete Internet history can come in handy, especially on shared computers.

In this article, I’m going to show you how to completely and securely delete your Internet browser history in Internet Explorer. We covered wiping MRU & index.dat files in the past, so I will show you some other little tricks for cleaning up your history. If you follow the steps outlined here, you will be able to browse the Internet more inconspicuously.

1. Simple Browser Clearing

The first and simplest thing you can do is delete Internet history from your browser. If you’re just trying to clear the visible data from your browser this will suffice, but only doing this may (probably will) still leave traces on your computer, so if you really need to scrub your history from your machine read on.

delete internet history

Close all instances of Internet Explorer and navigate to the Control Panel. Once there, go to Internet Options. On the General tab, you will see Browsing history. You can click on Settings to change how long history is kept and where temporary files are stored.

delete internet history

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If you click Delete… you will be able to delete your temp files, cookies, history, etc. You can also check the box that says Delete browsing history on exit so this is done automatically for you.

erase internet history

Lastly, go over to the Advanced tab and scroll down to Security. Check the box that says Empty Temporary Internet Files folder when browser is closed.

2. Clearing Registry Entries

If you don’t want to clear every entry from your browser history, you can go into the registry and delete entries one at a time.

[Note]: As always, before making changes to your registry you should make sure you have a valid backup.

erase internet history

Start the registry editor by going to Start>Run and typing in Regedit.exe. Once the registry editor is open, navigate to the following key in the registry:

erase internet history

There you can delete any or all typed URLs.

[Note]: If you delete only certain keys, make sure that the remaining keys are renamed in sequential order starting from url1. Otherwise you might corrupt the remaining keys.

3. Run Applications

If you want to make sure there are no traces of your browser history left on your machine, there are dozens of useful free applications you can run. Allow me to give a few examples.

CCleaner

erase internet history computer

One of our Top 5 Freeware Registry Cleaners That Improves PC Performance, CCleaner is one of the best apps out there at cleaning temporary and junk files. It will clean all of your Internet Explorer files, as well as those for Firefox and Google Chrome.

Free Internet Eraser

erase internet history computer

Free Internet Eraser is another program that gets rid of most of your tracks. It takes out temporary files, cache, visited sites, and typed URLs.

AbsoluteShield Internet Eraser Lite

erase internet history computer

This app contains a pop-up blocker and a privacy protector. It cleans all the tracks of your Internet and computer activities and is integrated with Internet Explorer. Erase history, temp files, cookies, etc.

Conclusion

If you wipe out the temporary files, cookies, cache, typed URLs, MRU, and index.dat files, you should pretty much be in the clear (pun intended) with your browser history. Google and the FBI might still be able to find a trace but even they should have a tough time.

Security and privacy are always top priorities while using your computer and browsing the Internet. It’s important that you take precautions and know how to delete Internet history if you ever need to.

Do you have anything to add to the article? I’d love to hear your opinions in the comment section below.

Image Credit: Daniel Semper

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39 Comments - Write a Comment

Reply

Kyler_IE8_team

This is a great walkthrough explaining how to clear out browser history. A tool available in IE8 that readers might find very helpful is the InPrivate Browsing feature. It allows you to browse without a trace, and can be turned on by pressing Ctrl + Shift + P.

Cheers,
Kyler
IE Outreach Team

Steve Campbell

Thanks for the tip Kyler. Glad you liked it!

Aibek

There are similar features in other borwsers as well;

– Google Chrome: Incognito mode (Tools -> New incognito window)
– Firefox: Private Browsing (Tools -> Start Private Browsing)

Reply

Kyler_IE8_team

This is a great walkthrough explaining how to clear out browser history. A tool available in IE8 that readers might find very helpful is the InPrivate Browsing feature. It allows you to browse without a trace, and can be turned on by pressing Ctrl + Shift + P.

Cheers,
Kyler
IE Outreach Team

Reply

Kyle

Another way to do to make sure your trace is clean is by typing in the command prompt ipconfig /flushdns. It will pretty much clean out all of the sites and passwords and everything you do on your browser making it clean. So if you do some “personal” surfing you might want to try that out. But remember it deletes passwords too so if you forgot one to a site you are either going to have to remember it or do the tedious task of I forgot my password email stuff.

Steve Campbell

Great tips Kyle. Keep em comin’ guys!

Reply

Jraz

Eraser is a nice utility too. Also can be run as a portable and can be configured for several privacy tasks by saving the job to a file. (On your flash drive of course.) Nice primer article it always makes one think.

Steve Campbell

Thanks. Nice job recommending Eraser too. I’m not sure but I think we’ve
covered that app before.

Reply

Steve Campbell

Thanks. Nice job recommending Eraser too. I’m not sure but I think we’ve
covered that app before.

Reply

Aibek

There are similar features in other borwsers as well;

- Google Chrome: Incognito mode (Tools -> New incognito window)
- Firefox: Private Browsing (Tools -> Start Private Browsing)

Reply

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Mcmokhan

how about in IE browser Mobile phone exp. Nokia N.73

Steve Campbell

Your mobile phone should have settings to clear out the cache/browser
history.

Reply

Mcmokhan

how about in IE browser Mobile phone exp. Nokia N.73

Reply

Steve Campbell

Your mobile phone should have settings to clear out the cache/browser
history.

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