How to Remove All History From a Windows Computer

Whenever you use your laptop, Windows 8.1 automatically saves data about the programs, folders and documents you open, your browsing history and the items you delete. This information is readily available to anyone who has access to your computer and knows where to look. To remove your historical data, navigate to each location that has the settings to delete your information -- such as the Internet Properties utility, the Recycle Bin and the Taskbar and Navigation Properties utility.

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Manage your laptop's native browser settings from this utility.
credit: Image courtesy of Microsoft

Clear Browsing History

Step

Press the Windows key to open the Modern UI and type Internet Options. Select Internet Options from the Results list to open the Internet Options dialog window. To open the Internet Options window in Windows 7, click the Start button and then select Control Panel. Select Network and Internet and click Internet Options.

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Press Windows-W to open the Search Charm.
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The General tab has the options to set the native browser's home page, startup page, appearance and tabbed browsing settings.
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Step

Click the Delete button in the Browsing History section of the window's General tab. Select the Delete Browsing History... check box to automatically erase your browsing history after exiting the operating system's native browser.

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Selecting the Preserve Favorites Website Data check box can help your bookmarked websites load faster by saving their data.
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Step

Select the Temporary Internet Files and Website Files, Cookies and Data, History, and Download History check boxes to delete cookies and related Internet data that are stored on your laptop's hard drive. To remove information and passwords that you entered in website forms -- such as the keywords you entered in a search engine -- select the Form Data and Passwords check boxes. Click the Delete button to remove your browsing data.

Empty Recycle Bin

Step

Press Windows-W to open the Search Charm and then type Recycle Bin in the Search field. Choose Free Up Disk Space on This PC from the Results list to open the PC and Devices section of the PC Settings screen.

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Click Everywhere to access the list of Search filters.
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The Disk Space section of the PC and Devices screen also displays your computer's available disk space.
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Step

Select Disk Space in the left pane and then click the Empty My Recycle Bin button.

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The total size of the items in the Recycle Bin appears next to the Empty My Recycle Bin button.
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Step

Click the Delete button on the pop-up box to empty your Recycle Bin.

Erase List of Recent Items

Step

Right-click an empty area of the taskbar and select Properties from the pop-up menu to open the Taskbar and Navigation Properties dialog box.

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The pop-up menu also has the options to lock the taskbar, access the Task Manager and add toolbars to the taskbar.
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Right-click an icon in the taskbar to display its Jump List.
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Step

Click the Jump Lists tab and then clear the Store Recently Opened Programs and Store and Display Recently Opened Items in Jump Lists check boxes to prevent your recent items from appearing on the Jump Lists. The number in the Number of Recent Items in Jump Lists changes to zero.

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Windows 8.1
credit: Image courtesy of Microsoft

Step

Click the Apply button to erase the list of your recently opened items and then click OK.