Completely clean Internet Explorer Cache & History

If you want to erase the record of where you've been on the internet, you need to clear out the entire history. Here's a few tips on how to delete the cache in Internet Explorer.

(Note: This is only going to impact your local machine, if other machines are keeping log files, there's nothing you can do to erase that.)

Step one to cleaning your surfing history is to delete Internet Explorer's temporary files. This is simple to do from within Internet Explorer. Click "Tools" and "Internet Options". On the General tab, click "Delete Files". Then click "Clear History" just below that. Done, right? Wrong.

Internet Explorer keeps index files that help IE find pages you've surfed. These index files can communicate every website you've visited and every image that's been displayed. To completely clean your browser history in Internet Explorer, you need to delete these index files, too.

Index.dat files aren't only hidden, they're system files. Even if you select to show hidden files in your folder options, they remain unseen. To track down index.dat files, you need to know where to look.

In WinXP, here's where you'll usually find them.

  • C:\Documents and Settings\username\cookies
  • C:Documents and Settings\username\Local Settings\History
  • C:Documents and Settings\username\Local Settings\Temporary Internet Files
  • Here's how you go about deleting them.

    1. Restart your computer in Safe Mode with Command Prompt. (Press F8 on startup and choose Safe Mode With Command Prompt.)
    2. Log on as administrator. Enter your password (if needed).
    3. Once you reach the command prompt, type "CD\" (no quotes) and hit Enter to get to your root directory. The prompt should look something like C:>.
    4. Type "del index.dat /s" (without the quotes) and hit Enter to erase all files named index.dat on your computer.
    5. Type "shutdown -r" (no quotes) to restart your computer normally.

    Your index.dat files will be recreated when your computer reboots, but they will be completely blank. Repeat as needed.

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