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Why Does it Take So Long to Delete Browsing History?

Updated July 19, 2017

For performance, privacy and security reasons, most browsers have a way to clear browsing history. This commonly includes a history of websites visited, cookies, web cache and other information.

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The time it takes to clear these elements can be lengthy, depending on how many of these items have been saved during the use of the browser since the last time these items have been cleared.

Information stored in browsing history

The types of information that is automatically stored in browsers often include:

Temporary Internet files (web cache)

Cookies (information like preferences, from websites)

History (list of websites visited)

Form data (information typed into web forms)

This information is stored temporarily to speed up the browser and recall recently used information and settings.

Why clearing the browsing history becomes slow

As time goes on through the use of a browser, the number of items stored can potentially become large. Content-rich sites or sites with many images, in particular, can use a large amount of web cache. Additionally, a lengthy number of URLs in the web history list may be stored and a large amount of cookie data may be saved.

Ways to speed up the browsing history deletion process

Manually clearing browsing history at more frequent intervals can reduce the time it takes to clear it.

Alternatively, you can change the settings of the browser to remove temporary files every time you use the browser. Also, you can often specify that the browser keep a shorter list of information in the website history.

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About the Author

Laura Deibel has been writing professionally since 2009. She researches and writes about computer science and the Internet evolution primarily. In addition, she examines laws and practices that restrict the freedoms of individuals and social trends such as underemployment. She has been a college instructor, computer analyst and a business owner. Deibel holds a Master of Science in computer science from New Mexico State University.

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