How to Manually & Automatically Clear Your Browser History
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Every time you surf the internet, websites leave their tracks on your computer, including cookies What's A Cookie & What Does It Have To Do With My Privacy? [MakeUseOf Explains] What's A Cookie & What Does It Have To Do With My Privacy? [MakeUseOf Explains] Most people know that there are cookies scattered all over the Internet, ready and willing to be eaten up by whoever can find them first. Wait, what? That can’t be right. Yes, there are cookies... Read More , cached images, a history of visited sites and searches, site preferences, and more.

These data reveal your browsing habits. If your privacy is dear to you, you may want to delete them. This article summarizes different ways to automatically clear all your browser history, every time you exit your browser.

Google Chrome

To quickly launch Chrome’s Clear Browsing Data menu, press CTRL+SHIFT+DEL. Select the items you want to clear and also set a time frame at the top. Click the Clear browsing data button to execute.

Chrome Clear Browsing Data

The long route to Chrome’s privacy settings is to click the three vertical dots in the top right of the browser, then select Settings from the menu. In the Settings window, scroll down and click Advanced. Under Privacy and security click the Clear browsing data. This will open the menu shown above.

Within Content Settings, the option found just above Clear browsing data, you can clear cookies What Are Supercookies, and Why Are They Dangerous? What Are Supercookies, and Why Are They Dangerous? Verizon has been fined for tracking customers with a unique identifier header (UIDH), also known as a "supercookie." But what is a supercookie? And why is it worse than a regular cookie? Read More whenever you quit your browser or you can remove cookies individually.

Click Cookies, and move the slider next to Keep local data only until you quit your browser into the On position (blue). To remove browsing data one-by-one, browse the All cookies and site data list at the bottom of that menu, and press the Trash icon to remove respective data. You can also clear individual cookies on exit. Just enter the respective sites under Clear on exit.

How to Manually & Automatically Clear Your Browser History Chrome Clear Cookies on Exit

To clear Chrome’s cache 3 Hidden Switches That Clear the Chrome Cache Instantly 3 Hidden Switches That Clear the Chrome Cache Instantly For optimal browser performance, you should clear the cache on a regular basis. Here are three hidden switches that let you do so without interrupting your workflow. Read More , you can use the Clear Browsing Data outlined above, or you can use several hidden switches that refresh the cache for the website you’re currently viewing.

To manage your browsing history in Chrome, you could also use a third-party extension like Click&Clean, which we consider one of the best Chrome extensions The Best Chrome Extensions The Best Chrome Extensions A list of only the best extensions for Google Chrome, including suggestions from our readers. Read More .

Mozilla Firefox

To manually clear your browser history in Firefox, click the keyboard shortcut CTRL+SHIFT+DEL. This is a quick way to launch the Clear Recent History dialogue.

Click on the arrow next to Details in case they are not already extended. Select which history data you want to delete. Using the Time range to clear drop-down menu at the top you can selectively remove recent data. When you’re done click Clear Now.

Firefox Clear Recent History

To clear your browser history every time you exit Firefox, click the hamburger icon in the top right to open the Firefox menu. Select Options, go to Privacy, and under History, either select Never remember history or Use custom settings for history. If you go with the latter, you can choose to Clear history when Firefox closes.

How to Manually & Automatically Clear Your Browser History Firefox Privacy Options

You can further customize which data you want Firefox to clear when it closes by clicking on Settings next to the respective option.

Firefox Settings for Clearing History

To block websites from tracking you through the use of Cookies, you can use a third-party extension like Privacy Badger, which we have selected as one of the best Firefox add-ons The Best Firefox Addons The Best Firefox Addons Firefox is famous for its extensions. But which addons are the most useful? Here are the ones we think are best, what they do, and where you can find them. Read More .

Microsoft Edge

To manage your browsing history in Edge, press CTRL+SHIFT+DEL. As you should have noticed by now, this is a standard keyboard shortcut that all mainstream browsers use. In Edge, it launches the Clear browsing data sidebar.

The long route to this sidebar is through Settings and more (the three vertical dots in the top right) menu. Select Settings and under Clear browsing data press the Choose what to clear button.

Edge Clear Browsing Data

Select the data you would like to clear and press Clear to execute. To Always clear this when I close the browser, move the slider below the respective option into the On position and it will clear all data How to Clear Browser History and Completely Reset Microsoft Edge How to Clear Browser History and Completely Reset Microsoft Edge How easy is it to clear your entire browsing history and reset the browser to a "clean" state on Microsoft Edge? We take you through it, step by step. Read More selected above.

If you want to keep your cookies and cached files and only want to clear the browsing history, you can also go through the History tab. Press the Hub icon to the right of the URL bar and in the sidebar menu that opens, switch to History by clicking the clock icon. Here you’ll see a Clear history option.

Microsoft Edge Clear History

Internet Explorer 11

As with all previous browsers, the keyboard shortcut to Delete Browsing History in Internet Explorer (IE) is CTRL+SHIFT+DEL. While IE doesn’t allow you to delete only recent data, it offers another innovative option: Preserve Favorites website data. Moreover, it actually provides a clear explanation of what each option means.

Internet Explorer Delete Browsing History

To set up automatic deletion of your browsing data in IE, click the tools icon in the top right (or press ALT+X) and select Internet options. In the General tab under the header Browsing history, check the option Delete browsing history on exit. Click the Delete… button to open the window shown above and customize what will be deleted.

Delete Browsing History when closing Internet Explorer 11.

You can go even farther, by switching to the Advanced tab, scrolling down to Security, and selecting the Empty Temporary Internet Files folder when the browser is closed.

How to Manually & Automatically Clear Your Browser History IE 11 Advanced Internet Options

Third Party Apps to Clear Browser History

If you regularly use more than one browser and don’t want to set up each of them separately, third-party applications can help you clear the history of all your browsers at once. However, automating this tasks is easier to do in the browser directly, which is why I prefer setting it up for each browser individually.

The best tool to manage your browsing history across browsers is CCleaner. You can finetune CCleaner 6 CCleaner Tips and Tricks to Effectively Clean Your Computer 6 CCleaner Tips and Tricks to Effectively Clean Your Computer CCleaner is a must-have tool for every Windows user, but are you using it effectively? Here are six awesome things CCleaner can do that you might have missed. Read More to remove only what you want. If you’re looking for a CCleaner alternative How to Clean Your Windows 10 PC Without Using CCleaner How to Clean Your Windows 10 PC Without Using CCleaner Looking for an alternative to CCleaner for cleaning your PC? Here's an up-and-coming app that might be up your alley. Read More , try atomiccleaner.

How concerned are you about stored browser history and have you bothered to clear this data in the past?

Image Credit: Faithie/Depositphotos

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  1. Glenn Gagne
    October 4, 2017 at 6:49 pm

    The option to clear cookies in Google Chrome is no more available.

    • Tina Sieber
      October 12, 2017 at 10:30 pm

      Glenn, the option has moved. Try pressing CTRL+SHIFT+DEL to open Browsing Data and you'll see an option to clear cookies and other site data. You can also go via menu > More tools > Clear browsing data...

  2. Peter
    April 12, 2012 at 12:09 pm

    The section on Firefox is not applicable to Firefox 11. Personally I prefer to use CCleaner.

  3. Dean
    April 12, 2012 at 7:44 am

    "click the keyboard shortcut"
    That's a neat trick if you can do it!

  4. PETER LI
    April 12, 2012 at 3:50 am

    Thank you very much, Tina, I downloaded the file and sucessully have problem off from my computer.

    To clear the cookies in the wrench icon, I could not find it where it is, I should go from history or setting, could you spare your time to advise, thank you again.

    • Susendeep.Dutta
      April 12, 2012 at 6:49 am

      To clear your browser cookies,click on wrench icon and go to Settings-->Under the Hood and click on Clear Browsing data and tick on " Delete cookies and other site and plug-in data ". You must select "the beginning of time" from " Obliterate the following items from: " menu to completely clear all the cookies.

    • Susendeep.Dutta
      April 12, 2012 at 6:52 am

      I'm always concerned about stored history of my browsing data.I always try to clear it as soon as possible so that I don't have to face problems like incorrect page loading and slowdown of browser.

    • Tina
      April 12, 2012 at 6:57 am

      Peter,

      in Google Chrome, the wrench icon is located in the top right. When you hover over it, the tooltip will say "Customize and control Google Chrome."