How Do I Check What Has Been Viewed on the Internet on My PC When the History Has Been Cleared?

By Collier Jackson

Most Web browsers save a record of the websites you have visited. This can be helpful if you ever want to return to a website that you've browsed but you don't recall the URL. It's possible to delete your browser's history -- and many people do this to protect their privacy -- but you may still be able to recover the data. You can also utilize these recovery techniques if you want to review the websites your children have perused.

Step 1

Search your computer for two files named "index.dat" and "history.dat." These data files contain all of the information cached in your browser's history. The files are not always properly cleared when you delete the history through the browser. Both files can usually be viewed in any text editor such as Notepad or Notepad++, although you might even be able to use Excel, depending on the data.

Step 2

Navigate to the folder in which your Web cookies are stored. Cookies are small chunks of data placed on your computer by certain websites when you visit them. It is quite possible to delete the Internet browsing history without deleting the cookies. When browsing the cookie files, the name or URL of the originating website often appears in the file name. Depending on your browser, you may have to open the cookie file in a text editor to view the details of the website from which the cookie originated.

Step 3

Perform a system restore to an earlier date as a last resort. You may be able to view the history as it existed before you deleted the file. This is a drastic method of finding deleted history, and there are no guarantees it will work. However, if the history was just recently deleted, you can try restoring the computer to a recent restore point. When you open the Web browser, you may be able to see the Internet history as it appeared on the system restore point date.