Anyone in the IT industry has been asked to covertly record or recover a user’s browsing history. It comes with the job and no one likes it. We like it even less when you have to take screenshots over and over again of long lists of URL’s. Internet Explorer and Firefox both do not have a method to print out a user’s browsing history.
So what do you do?
Get an intern to do it? Nope because it is confidential!
Bang your head against the wall? Nope!
As you are a Make Use Of reader we are here to show you a solution.
That solution comes from one of our favorite utility programmers ““ NirSoft . NirSoft has two applications Mozilla History View and IEHistoryView. As you can probably work out, each one of them works for their respective browser and will not work with the other. So keep both of them on your memory stick when you go a’ hunting.
Run the portable application and it will start scanning the machine instantly. Below I ran this on..umm…a user’s machine – yeah that’s the ticket ““ a user’s machine and not mine at all!
The application will scan all your (or a user’s) browsing history and return it in the graphical user interface. If you browsed your local machine with your browser it will show up here as well.
Uh oh”¦.this person (not me! ) has been browsing the Pirate Bay and Rapidshare! Wow and they have been downloading files! For shame for shame! Now we need to record and export browsing history to send to Human Resources. We simply hit the save button on the tool bar which you can see represented by a disk like so:
Once you hit that button you will have several options for file types such as CSV, TXT, XML, HTML or even a “tabular” file. Once you save it you can print or email it at will!
The Internet Explorer version is very similar ““ actually identical but it obviously reads in a different history file and has a different name.
Again your desktop browsing will also show up in here so you can catch someone opening porn or other non work related items (unless you work for a porn company!). Both applications have a different set of fields and they are from the IE application:
- Hits (counter)
- Page Modified Date
- Expiration date of the page
- History folder
Firefox’s columns are a little better with:
- First Visit
- Last Visit
- Visit Count
- Refering site
- Host Name
- Record Index
- Visit type (Download, link or typed URL) <— This is the big one that proves the site was typed in instead of being opened by a pop up or something along those lines.
No one wants to be the bad guy and get people fired but network security is a administrator’s job and sometimes the job can fall on a executive secretary or anyone ““ at least make the job of recording browsing history a little less painful with these easy to use tools.
Nirsoft rocks! Are you familiar with any other program to print Firefox or Internet Explorer browsing history to a file doing this? Hit us up in the comments!