written by: Jennifer Claerr•edited by: Tricia Goss•updated: 7/26/2011
The files that Internet Explorer saves on your computer could compromise your privacy. Deleting these files won't necessarily erase them completely. Learn about the best free file erasers that are available for Internet Explorer.
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Internet Explorer Files and Your Privacy
Many people feel that the files Internet Explorer leaves behind are a threat to their privacy. Even if you erase these files manually through Internet Options on your computer, Internet Explorer will still leave some data behind. There are many free Windows programs you can download and install to erase these files. This can clean up space on your hard drive and protect you from the prying eyes of people who might access the files on your computer. Keep in mind that if you use a software program that permanently erases these files, you will not be able to recover them.
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Free Internet Eraser
Using Free Internet Eraser, you can erase Temporary Internet Files, the browser history, cookies, typed URLs and downloaded program files which Internet Explorer leaves on your computer. Free Internet Eraser also has options to load at Windows Startup, AutoClean at Windows Startup, Start Internet Eraser in System Tray and AutoClean at Windows Shutdown. Free Internet Eraser's Security Options will allow you to overwrite all bytes of files with character zeroes, ones or random numbers. It also includes options to schedule Free Internet Eraser to erase files once, hourly, daily, weekly or monthly. Internet Eraser has keyboard shortcuts you can use to quickly and easily erase files on your computer.
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Privacy Mantra erases files created by Internet Explorer, such as its auto complete forms, cache, cookies, download and save directory, history and address bar. Privacy Mantra also cleans the undeletable index.dat file, which contains information about every website you've ever visited in Internet Explorer. Privacy Mantra is an extremely small download. When installed, it only uses a few kilobytes of memory. Privacy Mantra is compatible with Windows NT, XP, 2000, 2003 and Vista, making it effective on both newer and older computer systems. By right-clicking the file and folder entries in Privacy Mantra's list and selecting "Info," you can get a brief description of what files that function erases.
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IE Privacy Keeper
IE Privacy Keeper is a lightweight interface with a tab to erase Internet Explorer files. This free software program has tools to remove temporary Internet files, browsing history, auto complete values, address bar URLs, cookies and the downloads folder. There are also options to keep selective entries, URLs or values within your Internet Explorer history. There are also options to schedule IE Privacy Keeper to automatically clean up files when the last Internet Explorer window is closed. There is also an option to erase custom files. IE Privacy Keeper also cleans index.dat files without restarting Windows. You can also add a "Secure Delete" menu item to Windows Explorer's context menu to erase Internet Explorer files.
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Zappit System Cleaner
Zappit System Cleaner can be run either in Safe Mode or Advanced Mode. In Safe Mode, you can erase safe-to-remove files such as Internet Explorer history, temporary Internet files, Internet Explorer auto-complete data, and Internet Explorer cookies. Safe Mode also lets you select which Internet Explorer cookies you'd like to keep. Advanced Mode allows you to remove a wider range of files such as the Internet Explorer address bar history, temporary Internet files, Internet Explorer history, cookies, offline web pages and downloaded program files. Zappit also has a Schedule Wizard, which schedules cleanup for either Safe Mode or Advanced Mode. You can schedule Zappit to erase files daily, weekly, monthly, each time your computer starts, when you log on, only once, or at intervals that you select. The Zappit Favorites Manager allows you to organize Internet Explorer favorites and decide which ones you'd like to erase.