How to delete your online browsing history

Warning: if you're worried about someone knowing you have visited this website please read the following safety information.

Abuse and technologyPlease note, the information below is for guidance only and may not completely cover your tracks. If you want to be completely sure of not being tracked online, the safest way would be to access the internet at a local library, an internet cafe, friend's house or at work.

How can an abuser discover your internet activities?

Computer spyware is becoming very easy to purchase and install on home computers. You may think that you are safe to access a home computer, not knowing that what you do is being tracked. Find out more about spyware.

Abusers can also look at the history of sites you've visited easily

As a rule, internet browsers will save certain information as you surf the internet. This includes images from websites visited, words entered into search engines and a trail ('history') that reveals the sites you have visited. Below are instructions on how to minimise the chances of someone finding out that you have visited this website.

Warning about deleting cookies and address histories

It's important to state that there is a risk involved in removing data from your computer. For instance, if your partner uses online banking and has a saved password, then if you clear the cookies on your PC, your partner will realise you've done so, because their password will no longer be saved. Also, your partner may notice if the address history on the PC has been cleared, and this may raise suspicion.

How do I work out which browser I'm using?

If you know what browser you are using, then skip to the relevant instructions below. If you do not know the type of browser you are using, click on Help on the toolbar at the top of the browser screen. A drop down menu will appear, the last entry will say About Internet Explorer, About Mozilla Firefox, or something similar. The entry refers to which browser type you are using - you should then refer to the relevant instructions below.

Instructions on how to delete history & cache from your PC:

Internet Explorer 6 (Find your version by selecting Help in the Internet explorer and clicking About Internet Explorer)

Click on the Tools menu and select Internet Options. On the General page, under Temporary Internet Files, click on Delete Cookies and then OK. Click on Delete Files, put a tick in the box labeled Delete all offline content and click OK. Under History, click on Clear History and then OK. Now look at the top of the window and click on the Content tab, select AutoComplete and finally, Clear Forms.

Internet Explorer 7

Click on the Tools menu and select Internet Options. In the General page under Browser History, select the Delete button. Either select and Delete each section: Temporary internet files; Cookies, History; Forms data and Passwords; or select the Delete all... button at the bottom to clear everything.

Firefox 1 (NOT /Netscape)

Click on Tools and then Options, then click on Privacy. Click on the Clear button next to History; Saved Form Information; Cookies and Cache.

Firefox 2

Click on Tools and then Options, then click on Privacy. At private data select settings, ensure that all boxes have been selected and then click on Clear Now

Netscape 7

Click on the Edit menu and select Preferences. In the left pane, expand History then in the right area click Clear History. Next, expand Privacy and Security and select Cookies then on the button Manage Stored Cookies and in the new dialog box click Remove All Cookies. Then repeat similar for Forms and the Manage Stored Form Data button and the same for Passwords and the Manage Stored Passwords button. Aditionally, you may Manage Forms, Cookies and Passwords individually from the Tools menu - but not the temporary page Cache files.

Opera

Click on Tools and then Preferences. Click on the Advanced tab and then the History section on the left-hand side. Click the Clear button to the right of Addresses and the Empty Now button to the right of Disk cache. Opera does not have an easy wasy to clear all Cookies.

Safari (often used on Apple Macs, iPads, iPhones)

Resetting Safari clears the history, empties the cache, clears the Downloads window, and removes all cookies. It also removes any saved user names and passwords or other AutoFill data and clears Google/Yahoo search entries. To do this go to the Safari menu at top left hand screen. Choose Reset Safari, and click Reset.

Deleting your browsing history

Internet browsers also keep a record of all the web pages you visit. This is known as a 'history'. To delete history for Internet Explorer and Netscape/Firefox hold down the Ctrl key on the keyboard, then press the H key (Crtl, Alt and H for Opera). Find any entries that say www.womensaid.ie, right click and choose Delete. For Safari, select History at top of the screen and choose "Clear History"

Toolbars

Toolbars such as Google, AOL and Yahoo keep a record of the search words you have typed into the toolbar search box. In order to erase all the search words you have typed in, you will need to check the individual instructions for each type of toolbar. For example, for the Google toolbar all you need to do is click on the Google icon, and choose "Clear Search History".

Read more about email, social networking and phone safety.

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