Clearing out your search history stored on your computer is one important step in protecting your privacy. Your search history is stored in a couple of places which are:
1. Form History - the web browser recognizes the search box you type your search query into as a “form. " Both Internet Explorer and FireFox store this information for a set number of days.
The search history in any web browser toolbar, like the Google toolbar, you use.
Here is how you delete your search history stored in “forms" in the most popular browsers.
Internet Explorer: Select Tools>Internet Options>Content>Click “AutoComplete">clear “Clear Forms"
Internet Explorer 7: Select Tools>Internet Options>General>in “Browsing History" click delete.
Please note that this action also clears temporary internet files, URL history, cookies and passwords which is highly recommended.
Firefox: Select Tools>Options>Click on the “settings button" in Private Data>select “Saved Forms Information"
To delete searches in the Google toolbar you need to click on the Google Icon and select “clear search history. " To delete search history in other toolbars please refer to the help menu.
It is important to recognize that just because you clear out your search history that your tracks online are covered. There is other information available on your computer that can be used to find out the websites you visit. This includes:
1. URL History - the URLs of the websites you visit are stored in the address bar of your browser.
The default setting is to keep the URLs history for 20 days.
2. Temporary Internet Files - your web browser stores part of the web pages which are visited onto you computer to help speed up your web surfing. Not only does this consume your hard disk space but anyone able to access this folder can tell from the image files or HTML pages stored there what websites you visit.
3. Cookies -are small text files which a web site downloads to your computer. This file allows the web site to recognize a web user and any customized settings like contents in the users online shopping basket or personalized website settings. Again from these files it is easy to tell which web sites you visit.
Given how much information is stored on your computer which you potentially need to delete, it is much easier and takes less time to use a good software product to clean out your sensitive web browsing data and delete searches. My recommendation is below. Try a free scan and see what potential privacy risks from your web browser, instant message chats and other files are lurking on your computer.
Richard Rogers is a PC enthusiast and runs a number of PC related sites.
If you are worried about your privacy then take a free scan of your computer here - http://www.nr166.com -Free Privacy Scan