While clearing your search history might seem simple and straightforward, your computer has numerous ways of keeping track of your online activities. The best way to clear your search history is by removing all traces of your Internet search history from your computer. This involves cleaning the search history of your preferred browser, as well as any toolbars you use to search the Internet.
Clearing Browser Search History
Begin by clearing your browser's search history. How you do this depends on what type of browser you currently use. For Internet Explorer 7.0, choose the "Tools" menu and select "Internet Options." Click the "General" tab and choose "Delete" under "Browsing History." From the options that appear, choose "Delete Temporary Internet Files," "Delete Cookies," "Delete History" and "Delete Forms." While it may appear that doing each of these individually is more painstaking than hitting the "Delete All" button at the bottom of the window, doing so will allow you to keep your stored passwords in place.
To clear browsing history in Firefox 3.0 and up, choose "Tools" and "Clear Private Data." From the box that appears, click the radio buttons for "Browsing History," "Download History," "Cache" and "Authenticated Sessions." While clearing your browsing history, cache and authenticated sessions would effectively clean your browser's search history, note that Firefox also keeps track of your download history. This data could point to your search patterns, as the downloads can indicate the site from which you have downloaded your application or file.
Many Internet users use toolbars such as Google or Yahoo! search toolbars. While clearing your browser's history will empty your address bar of telltale signs of Internet searches, these toolbars can hold incriminating keyword searches that anyone can access by simply placing the cursor in the search field and typing in any letter or number on your keyboard.
To clear the Google toolbar's search history, click the Google logo. Choose "Clear Search History" from the drop-down menu that appears. This will clear your previous searches from the input field on the toolbar.
To remove your search history from the Yahoo! toolbar, click the toolbar's "Settings" tab and choose "Clear Recent Searches."