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Every time you surf the internet, websites leave their tracks on your computer, including cookies, 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.
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.
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 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.
To clear Chrome’s cache, 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 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.
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.
You can further customize which data you want Firefox to clear when it closes by clicking on Settings next to the respective option.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 fine-tune CCleaner to remove only what you want. And don’t forget that you can enable private browsing to avoid recording history in the first place.
Image Credit: Faithie/Depositphotos