How to Retrieve Deleted Internet Browser History

It's happened in movies and on television. Someone is browsing through Internet Explorer on their computer when they accidentally delete important files in their web browser. The important website you were just on is now long gone and you can't remember the URL. Fortunately, there are ways to recover deleted files in Internet Explorer with very few steps.

Click on "Start" and then select "All Programs." Expand the "Accessories" menu.

Select "System Tools" from the Accessories menu by double-clicking it.

Click on "System Restore." Select a date to restore the computer. For example, if you want history from the last five days, you'll need to restore the computer back five days. Follow the instructions on the screen. Click "Finish".

Restart your computer.

Open Internet Explorer. Click "View" then select "Explorer Bar" and choose "History" from the drop-down menu. Select the date of the history you would like to view and double-click it.

Open Internet Explorer. Click "Tools" then select "Internet Options." Select the "General" tab. Under "Browsing History," select "Settings". In the screen that appears, click "View Files." Browse through all images and visited websites.

Click "Start" and then run a search. Enter "index.dat" in the search box. Click "Search."

Download a tool that can read these index.dat files. The files cannot be read in Notepad as they are not text files. A tool that can be used to read these files is Super WinSpy.

Check the program for viruses before installing the program. Install the program by following the instructions on the screen.

Start the program and follow the instructions to read the index.dat files.


If you want to undelete files, try to do so soon after they've been deleted. This makes it less likely that the files will be written over with new information. After files have been written over, they cannot be retrieved.


Programs that were installed after the System Restore date that you selected may not work properly. If you're not sure whether you installed programs after the desired restore date, use the log file method to recover deleted history in Internet Explorer. Using System Restore can resurrect a virus if you had one previously. Do not use System Restore if you had a virus near the time of the restore date selected to avoid infection of your computer.

Things You'll Need

  • Internet Explorer
  • System Restore option (Windows)
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About the Author

Since 2007, Emilia Lamberto has been a professional writer specializing in home and garden, beauty, interior decorating and personal relationships. Her work has appeared in various online publications. Lamberto owns two blogs, one which provides readers with freelance job opportunities and one which covers beauty advice and product reviews.