How to Find Deleted or Hidden History

By Kayla Lowe

When you delete your history, you may think that it’s gone forever, but it’s not really. Your computer makes a backup copy of it in a hidden file that you cannot see. That file is known as the index.dat file. Therefore, it is possible to find your deleted history if you can find the hidden file. The process to find deleted or hidden history is relatively simple, but you need to have the appropriate software with which to view the DAT file extension type.

Things You'll Need

  • Index.dat file reader

Windows XP

Step 1

Click on “Start,” and then click on “Search” to open your computer’s search window.

Step 2

Click on “Tools” from the menu bar at the top of the search window, and click “Folder Options.”

Step 3

Select the option to “Show hidden files and folders” located beneath the “Hidden Files and Folders” section.

Step 4

Set your search settings to search “All Files and Folders” in the “C: Drive,” and then input “index.dat” into the search bar before clicking “Search.”

Step 5

Download an index.dat file reader.

Step 6

Open the index.dat file with the reader to find deleted or hidden history.

Windows Vista/7

Step 1

Click on "Start," then click on the "Control Panel."

Step 2

Click on "Appearance and Personalization," and then click on "Show Hidden Files and Folders" underneath the "Folder Options" heading.

Step 3

Click "Show Hidden Files and Folders" beneath the "Hidden Files and Folders" section of the "View" tab of the "Folder Options" window.

Step 4

Remove the check marks from the "Hide extensions for known file types" and "Hide protected operating files" check boxes. Click "OK" to save your changes.

Step 5

Click on "Start" and input "index.dat" into the search bar. Press "Enter."

Step 6

Download an index.dat file reader.

Step 7

Open the index.dat file with the reader to find deleted or hidden history.

References & Resources