How Do I Delete My Browser History?

By Shea Laverty

Every Web browser keeps a history of the sites you visit, storing a link to the sites themselves and usually a cached version of all pictures and data from that site for fast load times. While handy for revisiting a website, these histories can eventually become clogged with unnecessary entries and slow down your computer's performance. Some entries may even represent a security risk for your computer and identity. In each of the major browsers -- Internet Explorer, Firefox and Chrome -- you can delete this information, minimizing the impact your histories have on your browsing experience. After you clear the history, you can't retrieve it. Clear the history only when you're sure there's nothing you need from it.

Internet Explorer

Step 1

Click the "Tools" button to launch the tools menu. Pressing "Alt-X" on your keyboard also opens this menu.

Step 2

Hover your mouse over the "Safety" heading and click "Delete browsing history." Entering the shortcut "Ctrl-Shift-Delete" also opens this menu directly from anywhere in Internet Explorer.

Step 3

Choose the information you want to delete using the check boxes. The "History" check box needs to be checked, otherwise your browsing history remains while other data is removed.

Step 4

Click "Delete" to begin clearing the history and other data. Depending on how much data you've accumulated, this process may take a moment or two.

Firefox

Step 1

Click the menu button from the toolbar at the top of the screen. It's shaped like three stacked horizontal lines.

Step 2

Click the "Options" button in the menu.

Step 3

Select the "Privacy" tab and then click "Clear your recent history."

Step 4

Choose what information you want to delete using the check boxes. Check "Browsing & Download History" and "Form & Search History" to clear your history.

Step 5

Click "Clear Now" to delete your history from Firefox.

Chrome

Step 1

Click the menu button from the toolbar at the top of the screen. It's shaped like three stacked horizontal lines.

Step 2

Select "History" from the menu to open a new tab that displays the browsing history.

Step 3

Click "Clear Browsing Data."

Step 4

Choose the information you want to delete using the check boxes. You need to check "Browsing History" to delete your history.

Step 5

Click "Clear Browsing Data" to delete the history and any other selected information.

Tips & Warnings

  • Clean out your history periodically as part of your regular browser maintenance routine, and keep your browser up to date.
  • In all three of these browsers, you can delete your history en masse or selectively delete only certain entries, which can be useful if you want to target only sensitive entries like online banking sites.
  • Each of these browsers also features a private browsing mode, where you can surf without recording any history or cookies on your computer.