How can I delete my browsing history in Microsoft Internet Explorer 8?
My mom keeps checking out what sites I visit and I want to clean up my tracks. It's not that I'm going anywhere I shouldn't - of course - but I just really want some privacy and just want to be able to wipe my MSIE8 (Microsoft Internet Explorer 8.0) browsing history. How do I do that?
You have probably noticed that when you have Internet Explorer 8 running, all you have to do is type "www" into the address bar, and below the address bar, you'll start to see a list of titles of Web pages that have been visited recently on the computer. You may have also realized that if you share the computer with other users, this means that others could do the same thing to see what websites you've been visiting.
To delete this data so that others can't see what websites you've visited, click the "Safety" button at the top of the Internet Explorer window (this only appears in Internet Explorer 8 and later) and pick the "Delete Browsing History" option:
This will bring up the "Delete Browsing History" dialog box:
If you're sufficiently paranoid, then to delete all traces of which websites you've visited, first uncheck the box marked "Preserve Favorites website data", then check all the other boxes, then click the "Delete" button at the bottom to complete the process. This will delete all temporarily stored data that could indicate to another user what websites you have visited.
If that's all you want to do, then that's how you clear your browsing history. The End. (Although you may want to read this article about [link] InPrivate Browsing, which will reduce the need to keep clearing your browser history -- and you may want to glance at the note at the bottom of this page, "Clearing your browser history is no protection against spyware".)
However, if you're not quite that paranoid, then this "super-clean slate" option may be more trouble than it's worth. So here is a description of what each checkbox does and what will happen if you leave it checked or unchecked. You can also use this section to learn a little more about what kind of information Internet Explorer stores when you visit a typical website.
More information about the "Delete Browsing History" options
Preserve Favorites website data:
So, by default, even when you delete your browsing history, Internet Explorer will not delete data associated with websites listed under your "Favorites". The rationale for this, presumably, is that if you're deleting your browsing history, usually that's so that the next user of the computer can't find out what websites you were looking at. However, if the user can find the website listed under your "Favorites" anyway, then there's no point in trying to conceal the fact that you've visited that website recently ;) If you have a website listed under your "Favorites" but you don't want people to know that you've visited it, then the first thing you should do is delete it from your "Favorites"!
Temporary Internet files:
InPrivate Filtering data:
Clearing your browser history is no protection against spyware
Clearing your browser history will prevent other casual users of the same computer from finding out what websites you've visited. However, a user might have installed spy software on the computer, in order to record every website visited by other users, and sometimes even to steal the passwords that they've typed in to other websites. (Such programs, in order to maintain "political correctness", are usually marketed as tools for parents to monitor their children's online activities, however people have also used them to spy on spouses or significant others -- sometimes leading to discoveries of online infidelity.)
If you think it's likely that someone may have installed spy software on your machine, then even an anti-spyware program might not detect it. It's best in that case to use a different machine for any browsing activities that you don't want others to find out about.
Bennett Haselton is a technology and political blogger who also made a handy page about how to bypass the ISU Internet filter in Saudi Arabia.
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