Web Browser:  Clearning History

Posted on 2011-10-07
Last Modified: 2013-12-06

    I"m curious, if the the browser history i.e. Firefox or MSIE has been cleared, is it still possible to see the pages that have been visited?  A friend of mine believes that her step sons maybe visiting questionable sites and would like to know.   Thanks for your help.  
Question by:itsmevic
    LVL 6

    Expert Comment

    Cookies and temporary files must also be cleaned. History is not enough.
    LVL 4

    Expert Comment

    Most of the above files can be found under
    Documents and settings\"the users name"  
    Search in the area also search on the hard drive for any temp folders see what is in there
    LVL 9

    Assisted Solution

    LVL 50

    Accepted Solution

    itsmevic--  You can learn the URL's of sites visited in IE by reading the index.dat file in the Content.IE5 folder in the Temporary Internet Files folder.
    The Content.IE5 folder is usually extremely well hidden, even if you have set Windows Explorer|Tools|Folder Options|View tab to "show hidden files and folders" and "hide protected operating system files" is not checked. But you must make those settings.
    Then the best way to access it is to copy the appropriate one of the following addresses (substituting your actual user name for UserName) in Windows Explorer's Address bar and hit Enter.

    C:\Documents and Settings\UserName\Local Settings\Temporary Internet Files\Content.IE5  (for Win XP).
    C:\Users\Username\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Temporary Internet Files\Content.IE5  (Win 7).

    You will also need a special viewer to read the index.dat file.  Two are available as follows.


    LVL 50

    Expert Comment

    itsmevic--I guess I did not really answer your question.
    The index.dat file is not affected by deleting History or
    Temporary Internet Files.  So it can tell you which sites have been visited in the recent past.

    Author Closing Comment

    Awesome input, thank you everyone!
    LVL 50

    Expert Comment

    itsmevic--You are welcome.
    Actually when you use you do not have to open the Content.IE5 file or the index.dat file.  Index.dat viewer will do it for you using either of the two tabs at either end of the Super Winspy window.

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