How to protect your Internet browsing history from others?

Information Browsers Store on Your PC

Web browsers keep track of Web pages visited by you.Different kind of information is stored on your computer.People can browse the information stored on your computer / laptop to get idea of pages you visited.If you are using your personal Laptop or Computer then it is not an issue as others might not have access to it.

But if you are using Internet on shared laptop or computer then you may not want to share the information with others.The kind of information web browsers / websites store on your PC are

Browser history – Browsers store list of pages you visited.It tracks all the pages you have visited till date.This is the simplest way to get an idea about pages you visited.You can hit CTRL + H buttons together to get browsing history.

Search history – The things you have searched for on Internet.For example if you search anything on Internet then it is stored.You can click the blank search box on Google to get list of search queries made on Google.

Download history – It gives idea of files downloaded by you.You can delete download files from your computer.But web browsers store name of files you downloaded.

Web form history – It stores the information you filled on Web pages form like Email ID or Name.It does not store password.But information like Email ID and Name or Contact details are confidential.It is not wise to let others see these information.

Cookies – Using cookies normal users can not guess about the pages you visited.So this is not a dangerous thing.

Temporary Internet files – These are files stored by Website you visited on your computer.These files do not reveal easy information about your website.

Protecting your Browsing Information

If not all most of Internet users use either Internet Explorer,Firefox and Chrome to browse internet.I will cover these three web browsers in this tutorial.All these three browsers store above information on your computer.Each of these browsers provide private browsing option.Anything you do in private browsing window is not stored on your computer.As stated on Firefox In Private window

“In a Private Browsing window, Firefox won’t keep any browser history, search history, download history, web form history, cookies, or temporary internet files. However, files you download and bookmarks you make will be kept.

To stop Private Browsing, you can close this window.

While this computer won’t have a record of your browsing history, your internet service provider or employer can still track the pages you visit.”

Basically same features are provided by all three major browsers.Now we will see how to invoke Private Browsing session in these major browsers.

Internet Explorer InPrivate Browsing

Internet Explorer provides InPrivate browsing feature.It provides all the functionality stated above.To invoke InPrivate  browsing first open Internet Explorer.After that you need to press CTRL+SHIFT+P.After pressing these three buttons together a new window will open.

You can browse anything you can on this new window open.No information as stated above is stored on your computer.InPrivate is written on the new window.You can use this to recognize whether you are using InPrivate window or normal window.All features available on normal window.

Firefox Private Window

You first need to open Firefox.After opening Firefox you can invoke Private Browsing window using CTRL+SHIFT+P keys from keyboard.Private Browsing is written on new private browsing window.This makes it easy to differentiate between normal window and private browsing window.

Google Chrome Private Window

Open Google Chrome web browser first.After opening Google Chrome press CTRL+SHIFT+N keys together.This will open a new private browsing window.You’ve gone incognito is written on Google Chrome private browsing window.This helps you distinguish between normal window and in private window.

All the options mentioned above does help you protect your current browsing information.But these does not help you protect or delete your previous browsing history,What if you came to know about these options after one month of using Internet on shared computer.In next part of the post covers this.

Deleting your Browsing Information

It is equally important to delete your browsing history.Normal browsing window stores information about your Internet browsing.In case you need to delete those files then follow below steps

Internet Explorer

After opening Internet Explorer you need to press CTRL+SHIFT+DELETE keys.This will open a new pop up window.It will have below options

  • Preserve Favorites website data — This is enabled by default
  • Temporary Internet files and website files – This is enabled by default
  • Cookies and websites data – This is enabled by default
  • History – This is enabled by default
  • Download History – You should enable it to delete the download history
  • Form data – You can delete this on shared computer
  • Passwords – No need to enable it
  • ActiveX Filtering and Tracking Protection data – No need to enable it

Firefox

After opening Internet Explorer you need to press CTRL+SHIFT+DELETE keys.This will open a new pop up window.It will have below options

  • Time range to clear
  • Browsing & Download History
  • Form and Search History
  • Cookies
  • Cache
  • Active Logins
  • Offline Website Data
  • Site Preferences
  • DownoadThemAll! History and Queue

By default all of the options are enabled and Time range to clear is set to Everything.You can set Time range to clear.It can be made 1 hour,2 hour,4 hour or today.So based on your requirement you can modify the time.This option is not available in Internet Explorer.

You can enable or disable all the options above but I would recommend to always enable Active Logins.This will log you out of your logged in session.For example you are logged in your social networking but have closed the tab and forgot about it.This option makes it sure that your active login is not accessed by other person using the computer.

This option is missing in Internet Explorer as well

Google Chrome

After opening Internet Explorer you need to press CTRL+SHIFT+DELETE keys.This will open a new pop up window.It will have below options

  • Obliterate the following items from – time range from which you want to delete the history by default set to 1 hour
  • Browsing history – checked by default
  • Download history – checked by default
  • Cookies and other site and plugin data – checked by default
  • Cached images and files – not checked but enable this
  • Passwords – leave it unchecked
  • Autofill form data – leave it unchecked
  • Hosted app data – leave it unchecked
  • Content licenses – leave it unchecked

Above mentioned tips are simple yet effective ways to protect your internet browsing history from others.People share good amount of information online so keeping them safe from others is very important.Technical persons are well aware of these tips and tricks but non technical persons do find it very difficult.Hope this article helps you.

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