How to Find Deleted Browsing History

By Kayla Lowe

When you delete your browsing history, that doesn't mean it's gone for good. Actually, your computer stores copies of your deleted browsing history in a hidden file, known as the “index.dat” file. Therefore, if you can locate the index.dat file on your computer’s hard drive, you can find your deleted browsing history. Once you locate the index.dat file, you must have the appropriate software with which to open and read the file.

Things You'll Need

  • Index.dat file
  • Index.dat file reader

Step 1

Click on “Start,” and then click on “Search” to open the search feature on your computer.

Step 2

Click on “Click Here to Use Search Companion” if your search is simply showing the desktop search; you want to search your entire computer.

Step 3

Click on “Tools” located in the menu bar at the top of the window, and then click on “Folder Options.”

Step 4

Click on the “View” tab of the “Folder Options” window, and then click “Show Hidden Files and Folders” located beneath the “Hidden Files and Folders” section. Click “OK” to save your changes.

Step 5

Click "Search All Files and Folders” from the vertical navigation menu at the left of the search window.

Step 6

Click “C Drive” from the “Look in” drop-down menu, and then input “index.dat” into the search bar. Click “Search” to prompt your computer to search for the file.

Step 7

Download an index.dat file reader, and then open the index.dat file inside the reader to find your deleted browsing history.

References & Resources