How to Completely Clear the Web History of IE

H
Published in: internet explorer

You have cleared your IE history but some previously visited sites still show up in the address-bar of your browser. If you’ve got a similar problem, here’s a solution.

Clear the history of visited websites in IE

The more recent versions of Internet Explorer (IE7 and IE8) feature a pretty “smart” address bar. You type some word in the address bar and it will immediately show a list of matching web addresses that are in your browser’s history cache.

The auto-suggest feature in the address bar is a huge time-saver but a a privacy risk as well especially when you share the same computer with other family members.

Since you don’t want mom to know what searches you are performing on Google or what websites you are visiting, Microsoft added a handy “Delete Browsing History” option in Internet Explorer that will completely erase all your tracks with a click.

Why IE won’t delete my browser history

The only problem (see video) is that even if you clear the IE history and your Temporary Internet files folder, some of the previously visited website URLs may still show up in the address bar drop-down.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jBroE2ESmL4

I have tried almost every possible method and that includes resetting the IE browser to factory defaults, removing the registry entries, running CCleaner to delete the stubborn index.dat, clearing the Temp folders manually, disabling add-ons (IE in Safe Mode) but, unfortunately, none of them worked.

Some previously visited websites continued to show up in the address bar and I was not the only one struggling with this strange problem. A Microsoft support engineer suggested running Windows after a “clean boot” that will load Windows with a minimal set of drivers and startup programs so that you can know if another background program is preventing IE from deleting the browser’s history and cache.

Luckily, the fix is simple and has actually nothing to do with IE’s web history.

The address bar in Internet Explorer is integrated with Windows Desktop search by default so even if you clear the IE history, the web entries that are stored in Windows search index will still show-up in the address bar. These entries appear in the same “History” group and hence users (myself included) confuse it with IE’s history.

To prevent web history items Windows Search from completely showing up in the IE address bar, go to Tools – > Internet Options – > Content – > AutoComplete and delete the option that says “Use Windows Search for better results.”

📮  Subscribe to our Email Newsletter for Google tips and tutorials!
Published in: internet explorer

Looking for something? Find here!

Meet the Author

Web Geek, Google Developer Expert
A
Amit Agarwal

Amit Agarwal is a Google Developer Expert in Google Workspace and Google Apps Script. He holds an engineering degree in Computer Science (I.I.T.) and is the first professional blogger in India. He is the developer of Mail Merge for Gmail and Document Studio. Read more on Lifehacker and YourStory

Get in touch

Google Add-ons

Do more with your Gmail and GSuite account
G

We build bespoke solutions that use the capabilities and the features of Google Workspace for automating business processes and driving work productivity.

  1. Mail Merge with Attachments
    Send personalized email to your Google Contact with a Google Sheet and Gmail
  2. Save Emails and Attachments
    Download email messages and file attachments from Gmail to your Google Drive
  3. Google Forms Email Notifications
    Send email notifications to multiple people when a new Google Form is submitted
  4. Document Studio
    Create beautiful pixel perfect documents merging data from Google Sheets and Google Forms
  5. Creator Studio for Google Slides
    Turn your Google Slides presentations into animated GIFs and videos for uploading to YouTube