With the increased threats of identity theft and fraud being posed by ever-evolving cybercriminals, it is often a good idea to ensure that your information is protected, and that nothing potentially identifying is left unattended to. A main source of gathering personal data is by examining your browsing history stored in Internet Explorer. This may have passwords and searches saved, the websites you have browsed, and more. Deleting your browsing history on a regular basis is a great way to not only save space on your hard drive, but to protect your information and privacy.
- Open Internet Explorer. This can be accessed by clicking on the Start Menu > All Programs > and then Internet Explorer, which is usually located near the top. For faster access, you can right click the icon and select ‘Pin to Start Menu’ or, if you’re using Windows 7, you have the additional option of selecting ‘Pin to Task Bar.’ Additionally, you may consider dragging the Internet Explorer icon onto your desktop.
- Click on the ‘Tools’ button, which is located beneath the Navigation Bar, directly below the Search Box.
- After clicking on ‘Tools’ you will see a drop-down menu appear. Click on ‘Internet Options,’ the last selection available on the menu.
- A new dialog box will appear titled ‘Internet Options.’ You will see a number of buttons – the most important being ‘Delete…’ but let’s disregard that one for now. Above the ‘Delete…’ button you will see the option to have your browsing history deleted whenever you exit the browser – click the checkbox if you wish to enable that feature. To the right of the ‘Delete…’ button you will also see ‘Settings.’ It is recommended that you click this button and ensure that the settings meet your standards. (This is covered in Step 6.)
- To clear your browsing history, click on the ‘Delete…’ button, which is located under the heading ‘Browsing History,’ about halfway down the window. You will be granted the ability to select exactly what you want deleted when you select to clear your history: Temporary Internet Files, Cookies, History, Form Data, Passwords, and InPrivate Filtering Data. (The last option being dependent upon your version of Internet Explorer.) Fortunately, the dialog window explains the function of each checkbox in plain English. Read them carefully to determine what information you want preserved and what you want deleted.
- If you’re interested in taking a look at the settings, you will see a number of options. It is usually not necessary to alter these, but you are free to do so if you wish. You’ll have the ability to change when Internet Explorer checks for newer versions of stored pages, set how much disk space is available for that feature, see the files that are stored, and finally, select the number of days for which your website history is stored.
See? That wasn’t so hard, was it? Deleting your browsing history in Internet Explorer takes only a minute, but could save you major headaches down the road. Good luck!