How to Find Hidden Internet Browsing History

By Rochelle Connery

The most obvious place to find Internet browsing history is in the history tab in a web browser. By default, most browsers--including Firefox and Internet Explorer--store several days' worth of website visits in a history sidebar. These can be turned off or deleted, however, so if you want to dig a little deeper than the history bar, you can do so without getting detected by using your Control Panel instead of using the Internet browser itself.

Step 1

Open the Control Panel by selecting the Start menu and clicking the "Control Panel" option. Navigate to the "Internet Options" selection and double-click it. This command will prompt a dialog box. You might recognize it as being the same one you open in Internet Explorer using the "Tools -> Internet Options" command. Thus, you can follow these same steps by using this Internet browser procedure as well.

Step 2

Navigate to the "General" tab. This is the tab on the far left, and is usually the one it opens to by default.

Step 3

Navigate to "Browsing History" and click the "Settings" option. This will prompt a new dialog box to appear.

Step 4

Select the "View Files" button and wait for the computer to populate a list of the cookies.

Step 5

Scroll through the list of temporary Internet files that has now appeared in the window. This can include image paths and cookies. When a user visits a site, a cookie is often left behind on the computer. This cookie bears the home domain of the website and is often set up in this format: "Cookie:[user]@visitedwebsite.com." The domain listed after the "@" sign is the domain the user visited. You can double-click on the file to open it, but it usually doesn't give any more information about the user's activities.

Tips & Warnings

  • You can delete these temporary Internet files if you so desire by clicking the "Delete files" button underneath the "Browsing History" option. You can choose from several types of files to delete, or just delete them all at once.