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How to locate a deleted browsing history

Updated February 21, 2017

Maybe you accidentally deleted your browsing history and now you realise you need a website URL. Or, maybe you need to track activity on your computer. Many browsers, including internet Explorer and Firefox, allow users to delete web-browsing history along with the associated temp, cache, and cookie files. If these files have been deleted, you will not be able to retrieve browsing history. However, if you or someone else simply cleared the browser history without additionally deleting these files, the history may be recovered.

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  1. In Windows XP, locate the history.dat file in C:\Documents and Settings\Owner\Application Data\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\ h96641qz.default\history.dat.

  2. In Windows Vista, locate the history.dat file in C:\Users\Owner\AppData\Roaming\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\ 29hkakxl.default\history.dat.

  3. Open the history.dat file in a text editor to view content and sites.

  4. Launch internet Explorer.

  5. Click "Tools" from the top menu and then "internet Options." Under Browser History, click the "Settings" button.

  6. Under "Current Location," the path to temporary internet files will be displayed.

  7. Navigate to the location displayed in Step 3 to view web history.

  8. Tip

    Some folders may be hidden by default. To reveal these folders, click "My Computer," then "Organize (File)," and then "Folder and Search Options." Under the "View" tab, enable "Show hidden files and folders."

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Things You'll Need

  • Internet access
  • Text editor (Notepad)

About the Author

Diana Braun began her writing career as a consultant and technical writer for a software company focusing on how-to, training, white paper, and internal process documentation. After two years, Braun left to pursue her entrepreneurial dreams. Since then, she has launched several startups including a t-shirt business, an online marketing and advertising t-shirt distribution business, and an entertainment site. She currently resides in South Florida.

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