Many web pages put cookies on your hard drive. Cookies are files that include information that the web page can use next time you visit that page; for example, a user ID, password, and other information you had entered into the web page. Cookies may also include information that tells the website what kind of ads to show you based on personal information you entered at one time. Cookies can be a threat to your privacy as they can be used to keep track of sites you visit and that information can be used for unwanted purposes. About the only disadvantage to deleting cookies is you will be required to re-enter your user ID and password, or other personal preferences, next time you visit a website that requires that information. This is a small inconvenience considering the possible damage that can be done by cookies.
1. Display Internet Explorer if it is not already displayed.
2. Click on the Tools menu choice near the top of the Internet Explorer window and then click on the Internet Options … choice.
3. Click on the General tab if it is not displayed.
4. Click on the Delete Cookies … button.
5. Click on the OK button when the pop-up appears.
6. Proceed to the next procedure.
Delete Temporary Internet Files
Internet files are stored on your hard drive every time you surf the Internet. They are called Temporary Internet Files but they stay on your hard drive long after you are done surfing the web. This is done so if you later decide to look at the same page again it will open faster because your computer does not have to get the page again from the Internet. Computers are now very fast and have a lot of memory so you will probably not notice the difference if the temporary files are deleted. Temporary Internet Files are used by spyware programs to find out what websites you visit.
1. Click on the Delete Files … button.
2. Click in the Delete all offline content box in the Delete Files pop-up so it is checked.
3. Click on the OK button. If you have not done this before, or for a long time, it may take a while to delete all the unnecessary temporary files.
4. Proceed to the next procedure.
Delete Surfing History
A history of websites you have viewed is maintained by Internet Explorer. This is done to make it easy for you to find a previously viewed web page. That is nice but your Internet browsing history information can be used to harm you. It should be noted that the "Delete History" portion of the following procedure will delete your surfing history so it can not be found with the use of the normal history functions even if you can find the history trail even after it has been deleted so do not do anything on your computer that might get you in serious trouble. There are software programs that can be purchased that will do a more thorough job of deleting your history but about the only way to absolutely remove all traces of your browsing history is to take your hard drive (s) out and smash it / them to bits .
1. Click on the Clear History button.
2. Click on the YES button when the pop-up appears.
NOTE: You can change the number of days your browsing history is kept by changing the number in the Days to keep pages in history box.
3. Click on the OK button at the bottom of the Internet Options window.
4. Proceed to the next procedure.
Delete Search String History
Another form of history in Internet explorer is your search string history. When you enter information in the search box of Internet Explorer that search string is saved. This is done so previously searched words / phrases (search string) will be displayed and you do not have to enter the complete search string again. That is nice but you may have entered search information that you do not want others to see.
1. Display the Google search page (google.com) if it is not displayed.
2. Click in the search box in the center of the page. If previously used search strings do not appear click in the box again. If none appear you are not set up to remember search strings and do not need to perform the next two steps.
3. Move the cursor arrow down so the first search string is highlighted.
4. Press the keyboard Delete key to delete the highlighted string. If you do not want to delete a search string use the down key to go the next search string. The down key can be held down to quickly delete all search strings.
If you do a lot of surfing it is good to do this weekly, otherwise monthly should be enough. If others use the computer and you have visited websites that you do not want others to know about, do it right after you have finished using Internet Explorer.