Matt

Delete Hidden Surfing Tracks

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Clear index.dat files manually in Windows XP

Even if you regularly clear your Internet History, Temp files, and cookies to keep ordinary snoops at bay, you're overlooking a very important detail: index.dat files. These hidden files contain information about your IE surfing history and your Outlook activity.

Microsoft claims index.dat files cache webpages you visit to help speed up the loading time in Internet Explorer. A lot of folks disagree, and there are a few conspiracy theories floating around about what index.dat files are really for.

Index.dat files aren't only hidden, they're system files. Even if you select to show hidden files in your folder options, they remain unseen. To track down index.dat files, you need to know where to look.

File names and locations depend on which version of Internet Explorer you have. Assuming you run IE 4.0 or above, the file names will be "index.dat."

In WinXP, here's where you'll usually find them.

* C:\Documents and Settings\username\cookies

* C:\Documents and Settings\username\Local Settings\History

* C:\Documents and Settings\username\Local Settings\Temporary Internet Files

Clean 'Em Up!

1. Restart your computer in Safe Mode with Command Prompt. (Press F8 on startup and choose Safe Mode With Command Prompt.)

2. Log on as administrator. Enter your password.

3. Once you reach the command prompt, type "CD\" (no quotes) and hit Enter to get to your root directory.

4. Type "del index.dat /s" (no quotes) and hit Enter to erase all files named index.dat on your computer.

5. Type "shutdown -r" (no quotes) to restart your computer normally.

Your index.dat files will return once Windows boots up normally again, but they'll be empty! Have fun hiding your dirty little secrets.

Source

Matt

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Many utilities (such as CCleaner) automate the deletion of DAT files. Be aware that those files may keep track of some things you may not expect (favorites icons for example) so there may be unintended consequences (none serious).

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I just whipped up a simple batch file the clears these history files from IE, Firefox, and Opera. You need to use it in safe mode under an administrator account. Please note: I tested it on my machine, and everything worked fine, but I can't guarantee anything. (Although these files self restore and they arent vital files, so there shouldn't be a problem. The batch is attached.

Edit: Ok, we can't upload batch files. Well, if any of you would like to create this simple little file, just copy the following contents into Notepad, and save it as DelHistory.bat . Make sure when you save, you change the "Save as type" toi All Files.

CD\
del history.dat /s
del index.dat /s
del global.dat /s
shutdown -r

Matt

Edited by Matt

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If you want to remove your tracks in Opera just go to Tools and click Delete private data...

Opera - Naked Joy of Surfing:D

Delete private data: Browsing in sites leaves tracks but those tracks can be easily removed when you use Opera. Don't be lured by the temptive banner that you see on the Web! To empty history, cache, history and other - in detail - go to Tools > Delete private data. Beware, that to clear the data, Opera will close all open pages! You can also have more detailed control over your private data:

Delete individual cookies: Tools > Cookies

Delete new cookies on exit: Tools > Preferences > Privacy > Delete new cookies when exiting Opera

History: Remove individual pages from history by using the History window (press Ctrl + Alt + H). When a page is not in the history, it will not appear in auto-complete but it may appear in Typed in addresses (drop-down).

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If you want to remove your tracks in Opera just go to Tools and click Delete private data...

Opera - Naked Joy of Surfing:D

Delete private data: Browsing in sites leaves tracks but those tracks can be easily removed when you use Opera. Don't be lured by the temptive banner that you see on the Web! To empty history, cache, history and other - in detail - go to Tools > Delete private data. Beware, that to clear the data, Opera will close all open pages! You can also have more detailed control over your private data:

Delete individual cookies: Tools > Cookies

Delete new cookies on exit: Tools > Preferences > Privacy > Delete new cookies when exiting Opera

History: Remove individual pages from history by using the History window (press Ctrl + Alt + H). When a page is not in the history, it will not appear in auto-complete but it may appear in Typed in addresses (drop-down).

I may have to finally switch to Opera. I always wanted to control my cookies better (maybe FF has an extension for that)

Besides, I have been getting more and more disapointed with FireFox over the past year or so

In reference to the original subject, I remember using a program called "Spider" or "Spider Bite" several years ago that deleted the contents of the index.dat files

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