How to Locate a Deleted Browsing History

By Diana Braun

Maybe you accidentally deleted your browsing history and now you realize you need a website URL. Or, maybe you need to track activity on your computer. Many browsers, including Internet Explorer and Firefox, allow users to delete web-browsing history along with the associated temp, cache, and cookie files. If these files have been deleted, you will not be able to retrieve browsing history. However, if you or someone else simply cleared the browser history without additionally deleting these files, the history may be recovered.

Things You'll Need

  • Internet access
  • Text editor (Notepad)

Firefox Users

Step 1

In Windows XP, locate the history.dat file in C:\\Documents and Settings\\Owner\\Application Data\\Mozilla\\Firefox\\Profiles\h96641qz.default\\history.dat.

Step 2

In Windows Vista, locate the history.dat file in C:\\Users\\Owner\\AppData\\Roaming\\Mozilla\\Firefox\\Profiles\29hkakxl.default\\history.dat.

Step 3

Open the history.dat file in a text editor to view content and sites.

Internet Explorer Users

Step 1

Launch Internet Explorer.

Step 2

Click “Tools” from the top menu and then “Internet Options.” Under Browser History, click the “Settings” button.

Step 3

Under \"Current Location,\" the path to temporary Internet files will be displayed.

Step 4

Navigate to the location displayed in Step 3 to view web history.

Tips & Warnings

  • Some folders may be hidden by default. To reveal these folders, click “My Computer,” then “Organize (File),” and then “Folder and Search Options.” Under the “View” tab, enable “Show hidden files and folders.”