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What is the best way to prevent removing history from IE and Firefox?

Posted on 2009-07-03
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What is the best way to prevent users from deleting their internet history/cookies while using Internet Explorer and Firefox? It would also be great if we were given the ability to block certain sites as well on both browsers. I am aware about the host file and how to use it but unfortunately that does not block Microsoft websites (like msn.com for example).

I do  believe I can do a lot (if not everything) that needs to be done in IE through group policies. Unfortunately I have not had much luck with it while trying to do the same with Firefox. Any suggestions would be great! Thanks

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Question by:JohnnyBCJ
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by:jcimarron
jcimarron earned 2000 total points
ID: 24773876
JohnnyBCJ--If your purpose is to see where users have surfed, you do not have to block deletion of History.  Not many people know that the index.dat file in a folder called Content.IE5 retains History even when TIF is otherwise cleaned out.  
It is hard to find that index.dat file and harder to read it.  There are, however, index.dat readers (and they will automatically find the one in Content.IE5 for you).
http://support.it-mate.co.uk/?mode=Products&p=Index.datSuite
http://support.it-mate.co.uk/index.asp?mode=Products&act=How_To&p=index.datsuite#29
http://www.acesoft.net/index.dat%20viewer/index.dat_viewer.htm
However if you really want to block deletion of History
http://www.online-tech-tips.com/internet-explorer-tips/prevent-users-from-deleting-ie-browsing-history/
http://www.techsupportforum.com/microsoft-support/internet-explorer-forum/166263-prevent-deletion-internet-explorer-ie-browser-history.html
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by:JohnnyBCJ
ID: 24784757
I'm OK with this strategy.
My question is if they use other browsers (like Firefox, not just Internet Explorer), does this index.bat file get updated? So far my experiments have been telling me no.
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by:jcimarron
ID: 24786200
JohnnyBCJ--"does this index.bat file get updated? "
Good question. Strictly from a logic point of view, I would think so.  But I do not know.  If you measure the size of Content.IE5's index.dat (it is .dat, not .bat) file before using Firefox for a day and then measure the size at the end of the day, you should have your answer.
You can access Content.IE5 and the index.dat file by putting
C:\Documents and Settings\UserName\Local Settings\Temporary Internet Files\Content.IE5
into your Windows Explorer Address line and clicking Enter.
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by:JohnnyBCJ
ID: 24786452
I've tried it myself using the program you referred to me earlier (Super Winspy).
It can track what I do in IE pretty instantly but I have not yet found anything in Firefox.

I open up IE and Google something, when I click on URL's history, it gets displayed.
If I do the same with Firefox, it does not. Unfortunately 99%+ of the people use Firefox instead of IE although they have both browsers installed.
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jcimarron earned 2000 total points
ID: 24787893
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by:JohnnyBCJ
ID: 24858111
I ended up using Privacy Blocker for Firefox and Windows Steady State.

Thanks for your help!
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by:jcimarron
ID: 24861400
JohnnyBCJ--Thanks for telling us what worked for you.  I am not sure that Steady State will prevent wiping the History and Cookie folders.  If anything, I would think Steady State, itself, would wipe those folders when you revert to the state before the user had access to the PC .
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Author Comment

by:JohnnyBCJ
ID: 24906692
In Windows Steady State, after you create a user, click on 'featured restrictions' and you will have the option to remove a lot of the menus (including internet options). On top of that I prevented them from even seeing any drive on the computer. So far I haven't seen any issues with it yet. Works like a charm. Thanks again.
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