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Deleting internet history


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#1
computer2010

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I am on Windows XP and use the firefox browser. I go to the History tab, then "show all history" and then right click and click on "Forget about this site" for certain sites I don't want to be shown... (no, they're not porn, it's a chatroom my husband HATES me going onto, because he's controlling. All I'm doing is talking to girl friends and stirring the pot in the chat. Long story.)

When I do the Tools tab and then the 'clear recent history' link which clears out cookies and cache and all, it deletes everything and he gets suspicious over that, so that's why I'm doing the "forget about this site" option instead.

However, my husband is a computer repairman and despite deleting those sites from the history, he somehow found them... then proceeded to rant and rave about "dumb people not knowing that clearing your history does not get rid of everything like they think, and a computer repairman can still find out where you went." How is this even possible?? How can I clear my history ALL THE WAY and what is he talking about? What secret cache is there?
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#2
Neil Jones

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There is no secret cache.
Whatever you delete on a machine is not permanently deleted unless you spend hours and hours, days, weeks and (occasionally) months scrubbing the hard drive with specialist software. When you delete something, all Windows does is mark the space as unallocated. It doesn't delete anything. You can still get it back.

Meanwhile, I think I should say, not that it's any of my business, but having a "controlling" partner is probably not the sort of relationship that can be healthy, especially down to a level of which websites you can and cannot visit. I'd argue that's emotional abuse and you shouldn't have to put up with it.
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#3
Ferrari

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In other words, on a hard drive its like writing the number 1 on a piece of paper, and then just taking a marker and writing over it with a Zero. All you need is something that can erase the marker's zero, and that will expose the number 1. See? There is data recovery software that can do that. Best analogy I could come up with.

Many organizations like Hospitals, Banks, etc that recycle their computers will have the hard drives taken out of each machine and have a perfectly good working hard drive completely destroyed, that's the only thing that make the data unattainable. You can't be giving computers out with banking information or patients hospital records, ya know?
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#4
TheBug

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Firefox, Internet Explorer and Chrome all come with a Private Browsing option. The things you do in this Privacy session are not recorded.

In Firefox, select Tools > Start Private Browsing You can also use shortcut Ctrl + Shift + P.

When you are done, do Tools > Stop Private Browsing or use same shortcut Ctrl + Shift + P.
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#5
Ferrari

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Firefox, Internet Explorer and Chrome all come with a Private Browsing option

:) I can't believe I didn't remember that... probably because I never use it, but still!
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#6
Kyler_IE8_Team

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Yep, InPrivate browsing is a great answer to this problem. Here is a link that explains it further, and shows you how it works/how to use it:

http://www.kodyaz.co...e-browsing.aspx

Cheers,
Kyler
IE8 Outreach Team
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#7
computer2010

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Thank you guys very much for the information! I appreciate it so much, although I regret not having come back sooner to say my thanks. The 1 and 0 analogy definitely made sense to me. Though, I do have one further question if you guys don't mind... what will the private browsing do? If nothing is ever really deleted, wouldn't the private browsing still put files somewhere that would show what I've been to? Just wondering.

At Neil, thank you for the concern and I completely agree! And I do appreciate what you had to say, because you're right. Thank you! :)

Thanks guys :)
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#8
CompRev

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I was curious about how "private" IE InPrivate Browsing really is, in relation to how savvy someone--like a "controlling" computer-tech spouse--might be in following someone else's tracks.

So, I've been using InPrivate Browsing on various computers (with Windows XP) and using Notepad to open C:/Documents and Settings/%Username%/Local Settings/Temporary Internet Files/Content.IE5/index.dat and comparing the contents before, during and after InPrivate sessions. During some of these "trials," I also had regular browsing windows open and toggled back and forth. The sequence of toggling was easily identifiable by large portions of text switching from "normal" to highly garbled and back again.

It's become clear to me that many traces of websites, downloaded items and objects are pretty much "hiding in plain sight" in index.dat. Amdist the garble are clearly identifiable URLs and names of sites, properties of graphics and images (such as text associated with pictures). In one trial--at least one in which I noticed--some of the identifiable data even showed that the user had gone into InPrivate Browsing in the first place and clearly showed the first URL visited before the garble started. In another trial, it appeared as if less and less identifiable data was hidden, the more new tabs and/or windows the user opened during a given InPrivate Browsing session.

So anyone knowledgeable enough to think about checking Content.IE5/index.dat--or at least anyone using a program that would look there--is likely to get a reasonably good idea of what was happening even during InPrivate Browsing sessions. That's something for parents to consider, I suppose.

P.S. One serendipitous discovery resulting from this experiment had to do with whether an XP user can view his or her own Content.IE5 subfolders and index.dat file while using one's own desktop. Such viewing is not supposed to be possible, as I've understood it until now. Experience has confirmed this with the inability to get that "deep" with mouse clicks. But I now know it is possible. While this is probably not news to those more knowledgeable and experienced, it was a bit of a "novice geek's delight" to stumble into access to those files from within my own desktop by following a hunch and entering "C:/Documents and Settings/%Username%/Local Settings/Temporary Internet Files/Content.IE5" in the address bar's browser window while using Windows Explorer and Internet Explorer.
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