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What is the Browser History?
All web browsers employ a feature, called the History, where they log each individual site you visit. The purpose for this is so that you can go back and find something you had previously looked at in case you can't remember the domain name or forgot to add it to your favorites. The History is also useful for security reasons in case you get hit with malware and want to know where it may have come from. Your employer can also use it to monitor your Internet usage by looking at what sites you visit while at work, and this has raised some workplace Internet privacy concerns. In this guide, we'll show you how to clear the History on your browser for Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari and Chrome.
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Deleting the History
The instructions below will tell you how to clean the history from each of the following browsers:
Microsoft Internet Explorer - From the File menu, go to Tools - Delete Browsing History and it will pull up a window of options for cleaning the History as well as any cookies or the cache. If the File menu is not visible, right-click in the upper part of the browser window and select Menu Bar from the options. You can also click on Tools - Internet Options and set it to delete your history every time you close the browser window, or you can select Settings under the Browsing History section in order to change the number of days that the History is recorded.
Mozilla Firefox - Go to Tools, then Clear Recent History and a window with some options will appear. At the top of the option you can select the Time Range to Clear and this can be set to everything, just the current day or the last couple of hours. While you have this window up, you can also clear your browser cache.
Apple Safari - In the File menu, select History then choose Clear History. You will get a confirmation window and the option to reset your Top Sites. If you don't see the File menu, click on the gear icon to the right of the window, then select Show Menu Bar. Sometimes it is disabled to allow more space for the content window of the browser.
Google Chrome - You can remove individual site listings from the options in Chrome, or clear the entire History. This is especially nice for covering your tracks during holiday season where you don't want anyone to know where you have been shopping online. Click the tool icon on the right side of the browser and then select History from the menu (or press Control-H) and the options will appear to remove select items or clear the whole thing.
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Computers at Work
Cleaning your Internet history is not always going to cover your tracks if you've been browsing inappropriate sites at work, or you are just trying to cover something up. The reason for this is that many companies do employee monitoring where they log all Internet use by tracking sites visited, the amount of time spent online and so on. This type monitoring has resulted in reprimands and firings all over the United States, such as when someone posts something negative about their job on Facebook, and they do it while on the clock. Keep this in mind if you think that simply clearing your History will keep you out of trouble.
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- Author's personal experience with each browser
- Screenshot taken from author's PC