If you're suspicious about the Internet activity of others or if you've deleted your Internet files only to realise that you need them, there are many ways to recover the files without software downloads. When files are deleted from your computer, they are not deleted forever. In fact, most are hidden within your drive and are able to be recovered using basic commands and features on your computer. Recovering deleted Internet files without software downloads is relatively easy.
- Skill level:
Click on "Start" and then select "Programs." In the menu, click "Accessories."
Choose "System Tools" from the Accessories menu and then select "System Restore" in the expanded System Tools menu.
Pick a date to restore your deleted Internet history. Click "Restore" and allow the computer to finish the restoration process (your system will restart).
Open your Internet history after System Restore has completed. Files should now be undeleted and visible in Temporary Internet Files and Cookies.
Open Internet Explorer. In the top right-hand corner of the browser, click "Internet Options."
Click on "Settings" under Browsing History.
Choose "View Files" under the Temporary Internet File window.
Browse through the files to view downloaded objects, cookies and visited websites.
Open the Mozilla Firefox browser.
Click on the "Tools" menu in the top left-hand side of the browser.
Select "Options" from the drop-down menu. In the Options window, click on the Privacy tab. Click "Cookies" or "Remove Individual Cookies" to view visited websites.
Enable viewing hidden files and folders in Windows Explorer (hold down the Windows icon and the letter "E" on your keyboard). In Windows XP and older Windows operating systems, click "Tools" and then select "Folder Options." In Windows Vista, press the ALT key on your keyboard when in the Windows Explorer window then click "Tools" and choose "Folder Options." In Windows 7, click "Organize" then "Folder and search options." Under "Hidden files and folders" click "Show hidden files and folders" and uncheck the box under "Hide protected operating system files." Click "Apply" and then "OK."
Navigate to "My Computer" and click the C drive. In Windows XP and older versions of Windows, click "Documents and Settings" and then click your user name. From your user name, click "Local Settings" and then history to view history files. In Windows 7, click on the C drive, select "Users," pick your user name then click "Local," "Windows" and finally "History."
Browse through the Internet files. Before closing, change your file settings back to "Do not show hidden files and folders" and check the box next to "Hide protected operating system files." Click "Apply" and then "OK."
Tips and warnings
- If no files are present on the system even after a System Restore, you may need to contact a data recovery specialist.
- Although software is not always needed to recovery deleted Internet files, it is very useful when deleted files are nowhere to be found. Certain software helps to read log files that are useless otherwise as they are written in 'code.' Certain software is capable of deciphering these files, making them useful to you.
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