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How to View Users History from server

Posted on 2005-04-01
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Last Modified: 2010-03-18
We use Windows 2003 Small Business Server and our users have XP Pro.  We have a user who might be going to inappropriate web sites here at work and I need to check into this.  How can view her internet history from the server?

Thanks,
Tom
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Question by:martit01
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11 Comments
 
LVL 18

Expert Comment

by:luv2smile
ID: 13682627
History information is stored in the user's profile so unless you have roaming profiles then the information will be on the user's local computer, not the server.

It'll be located in their local profile under:

c:\documents and settings\user\local settings\history

You would need to view hidden system files so if you don't see the folder, go to:

windows explorer- tools- folder options- view

check "show hidden files and folders"

uncheck "hide protected operating system files"
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LVL 14

Expert Comment

by:Joseph Hornsey
ID: 13683348

Tom,

One problem with the technique that luv2smile suggests is that if the user has configured Internet Explorer to not maintain a history, this information won't be there.  Unfortunately, if he's done that you're kind of out of luck anyway.  In general, however, it's a good way of doing things.  To get to the drive C: remotely (from the server), click on Start and then Run and type the UNC path to the users computer as such:  \\ComputerName\C$ and then browse to the local profile.

One other thing to consider:  Since you've got SBS 2003, you may be using ISA Server (if you purchased the Premium version of SBS).  If this is the case, and you have the users configured to go through ISA to get to the internet, ISA can log all access regardless of how the client is configured.  Are you using ISA?

<-=+=->
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LVL 18

Accepted Solution

by:
luv2smile earned 2000 total points
ID: 13683827
" Unfortunately, if he's done that you're kind of out of luck anyway"

Not really, unless they know enough about computers to get rid of the evidence left behind even after they clear the history (as long as they are using IE).

IE leaves behind something called an index.dat file

You have to have a special kind of viewer to read the file, but it'll show the user's history:

Here is just one of many viewers available:

http://www.topshareware.com/Index.dat-Viewer-download-1761.htm
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LVL 40

Expert Comment

by:Fatal_Exception
ID: 13685661
Nice one luv..  I am going to add that to my tool chest...  :)
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LVL 14

Expert Comment

by:Joseph Hornsey
ID: 13690907

Dude... no kidding.  I'm totally going to download that.  And then I'm going to delete my index.dat file.  :-)

Awesome tip, luv!

<-=+=->
0
 

Author Comment

by:martit01
ID: 13713060
luv,

Do these index.dat files only exist in XP Pro?  My computer at work, which is XP Pro, has the index.dat files in the history. But, my system at home, which is XP Home, doesn't seem to have the index.dat files in the local history???
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LVL 40

Expert Comment

by:Fatal_Exception
ID: 13716134
They are still there.  Since Luv "showed us the way" I looked into this more carefully.  These are System Files, and as such are hidden to the casual search.  Make sure you have setup your system to be able to view these, in your Tools > Folder Options window > View Tab

Here are the locations of the various Index.dat files.  Each one holds information that you might need:

In Windows 2000 and Windows XP there are several "index.dat" files in these locations:
\Documents and Settings\<Username>\Cookies\index.dat
\Documents and Settings\<Username>\Local Settings\History\History.IE5\index.dat
\Documents and Settings\<Username>\Local Settings\History\History.IE5\************\index.dat
\Documents and Settings\<Username>\Local
\Settings\History\History.IE5\************\index.dat
\Documents and Settings\<Username>\Local
\Internet Files\Content.IE5\index.dat
0
 

Author Comment

by:martit01
ID: 13718602
Fatal,

Thanks!!
0
 
LVL 40

Expert Comment

by:Fatal_Exception
ID: 13720661
NP!  :)
0
 
LVL 14

Expert Comment

by:Joseph Hornsey
ID: 13721813
You're the bomb, FE.  (You too, luv... after all, you "showed us the way").

<-=+=->
0
 
LVL 40

Expert Comment

by:Fatal_Exception
ID: 13721926
*grin*  Just got here first, that is all!
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