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How to Delete Your Internet Search History

Updated on February 3, 2013
Dreamhowl profile image

Dreamhowl is fluent in computer care, settings, and social networking. Her grasp of basic HTML makes theme tweaking a breeze!

Nowadays, internet privacy has become more of a concern has more of our information is spread across the world wide web. Most browsers save your search history by default, as well as your cookies and personal logins. While it’s meant for ease of using their browser and finding your favorite websites again, not everyone wants their personal information saved. By customizing a browser’s privacy settings, you have the ability to decide how much of your information you would like your internet browser to remember. This hub aims to familiarize you with deleting your search history from today’s most popular web browsers, as well as alternatives to manually deleting it.

Deleting Search History From Firefox

Firefox has proved itself to be one of the most popular web browsers of its time, running quicker than its opponents and offering a wide range of browser plugins. Furthermore, Firefox has numerous privacy settings to help delete your browsing history, cookies and more both manually and automatically. To delete only your current browsing history, do the following:

  • Click on the Firefox menu, “Firefox”
  • Hover your mouse over the “History” option
  • Click “Clear Recent History”


Clearing your recent history in Firefox is a fast and simple process via the Firefox menu.
Clearing your recent history in Firefox is a fast and simple process via the Firefox menu. | Source

With Firefox, you can also have your browsing history deleted automatically after each session, or not recorded by the browser at all. As an extra, you also have the ability to save passwords, active logins and other information, or delete them if you wish. Here is how to access these privacy settings:

  • Click on the Firefox menu, “Firefox”
  • Hover your mouse over the “Options” section
  • Click Options
  • Click on the “Privacy” tab


There are more privacy settings located under the "Options" location in the menu.
There are more privacy settings located under the "Options" location in the menu. | Source

Here, you can uncheck the options “Remember my browsing and download history” and “Remember my search and form history” - having these unmarked will prevent Firefox from ever keeping track of your webpage searches, search bar queries and any downloads you acquire while using Firefox. “Clear history when Firefox closes”, an option three checkboxes below these, further allows you to have specific data deleted when you close the Firefox browser, such as browsing history, cookies and site preferences. With Firefox, your privacy and searches can truly be kept personal.

Customizing your privacy settings can prevent your browsing history from even being saved.
Customizing your privacy settings can prevent your browsing history from even being saved. | Source

Deleting Search History From Google Chrome

Google Chrome is a newer web browser with less privacy options that Firefox, but popular for its speed and minimalist view. There are a few options to either delete your history or prevent it from being remembered. To delete just your current browsing history, you’ll need to:

  • Click on the menu (the three bars in the upper right hand corner)
  • Scroll down and click on “History”
  • In the new tab, click “Clear all browsing data”


The menu options in Google Chrome are simple and straightforward, with "History" easy to find.
The menu options in Google Chrome are simple and straightforward, with "History" easy to find. | Source

If you would prefer to not have your search history saved at all, your options are limited. You can, however, use a special mode of Google Chrome called “Incognito”. Using Incognito opens a new Google Chrome window, with which pages you view won’t be saved to your browsing or search history. Furthermore, website cookies will not be stored while in this mode. Your bookmarks and downloads will remain intact, however, even after the Incognito window is closed. To access Google Chrome’s Incognito window:

  • Click on the menu (the three bars in the upper right hand corner)
  • Scroll down and click on “New incognito window”
  • The shortcut to open an incognito window is CTRL+SHIFT+N


Incognito mode saves you the time of deleting your search history after each session.
Incognito mode saves you the time of deleting your search history after each session. | Source

Deleting Search History From Internet Explorer

Internet Explorer is the default web browser for all Windows computers and devices. While not always a popular choice among internet users, the browser has grown and improved over the years. The menu setup is a bit different than Firefox, but simple. To delete your recent browsing history, do the following:

  • Click on the Internet Explorer menu (the gear symbol in the upper right hand corner)
  • Scroll down and hover your mouse over the “Safety” option
  • Click on the option “Delete browsing history”


In Internet Explorer, the privacy and browsing settings are found under the option "Safety".
In Internet Explorer, the privacy and browsing settings are found under the option "Safety". | Source

Like Google Chrome, Internet Explorer also has it’s own private browsing tab, called “InPrivate Browsing”. With this option, you are able to browse the web without saving your search history, cookies, temporary internet files and other data, and thus avoid leaving a trace. To open an InPrivate Browsing window, you’ll need to:

  • Click on the Internet Explorer menu (the gear symbol in the upper right hand corner)
  • Scroll down and hover your mouse over the “Safety” option
  • Click on the option “InPrivate Browsing”
  • The shortcut to open an InPrivate Browsing window is CTRL+SHIFT+P


Internet Explorer has it's own private browsing feature, called "InPrivate Browsing".
Internet Explorer has it's own private browsing feature, called "InPrivate Browsing". | Source

Deleting Search History From Opera

Opera is a less-renowned web browser that deserves more credit for its clean and organized interface. The menu is user-friendly, and also allows for the quick and simple deletion of your browsing history. To delete your recent search history, you’ll need to:

  • Click on the Opera menu, “Opera”
  • Scroll down and click on the “History” option
  • In the new tab, click on the folders (organized by days) and click “Delete”


Opera's well-organized user menu makes it easy to find the "History" option.
Opera's well-organized user menu makes it easy to find the "History" option. | Source

Opera also has an option to delete all private data associated with the web browser, including cookies, passwords, browsing history, plug-in data and more. If you would prefer to delete everything in one click of the mouse, this is your best bet. To access this option, do the following:

  • Click on the Opera menu, “Opera”
  • Scroll down and hover your mouse over the “Settings” option
  • Click on “Delete private data”


Deleting your search history and more can be done with Opera's "Delete Private Data" option.
Deleting your search history and more can be done with Opera's "Delete Private Data" option. | Source

Do you delete your browsing and search history?

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Deleting Search History From Safari

Safair, the default web browser for Apple computers and devices, is another browser with a simple interface and fairly friendly user menu. There is only one menu to sift through, and the options are essentially straightforward. In order to delete your recent search history, all you need to do is:

  • Click on the Safari menu (the symbol in the upper right hand corner)
  • Scroll down and click on the “History” option
  • Click on the saved entries and hit DELETE on your keyboard
  • You can also right click the entries and select “Delete” as an option


The menu in Safari, like most, is located in the upper right-hand corner of the web browser.
The menu in Safari, like most, is located in the upper right-hand corner of the web browser. | Source
The History tab in Safari is reminiscent of iTunes, and a bit more confusing than others.
The History tab in Safari is reminiscent of iTunes, and a bit more confusing than others. | Source

Along with most other browsers mentioned, Safari also has the ability to browse the internet without leaving a trace of your history. Safari promises that, while you have “Private Browsing” turned on, the browser will not remember your history, the pages you visit or any Auto fill items. To access this mode, simply navigate back to the Safari menu and click on “Private Browsing” as oppose to “History”.

Safari also has its own private browsing option, simply called "Private Browsing".
Safari also has its own private browsing option, simply called "Private Browsing". | Source
CCleaner is a free-to-download program that will delete your history for you, among other data.
CCleaner is a free-to-download program that will delete your history for you, among other data. | Source

Deleting Internet History With CCleaner

If you’d rather not worry about internet browsers and privacy options, there are programs available that will delete your internet history for you in one clean sweep, along with other temporary data and unnecessary files. CCleaner is one of these programs; whether you use Internet Explorer, Firefox, Google Chrome, Opera or Safari, CCleaner can easily clear your temporary files, history, cookies and form history. Furthermore, the program will empty your recycle bin, delete temporary files no longer relevant to your computer and scan your registry for discrepancies.

If you start the CCleaner program, you will have the option to “Analyze” files under the “Cleaner” tab. Doing this will show you how many junk files and internet files exist on your computer before getting rid of them. You can easily skip this process and click “Run Cleaner” instead. Depending on how much your use your browser, whether your browser is set to save your personal search information and other computer activities, CCleaner can end up clearing just a little space from your computer, or quite a chunk. If you complete this process often, you can keep your computer squeaky clean.

In the end, deleting your browsing and search history can be a breeze, whether via your internet browser or an outside computer cleaning program. It doesn’t matter if you prefer a complex web browser with multiple options like Firefox, or a simple browser with fewer options like Google Chrome; more of your personal browsing information can remain private.

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© 2012 Jessica Marello

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    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 4 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Really, your are on a writers hub site. What am I protecting by deletion and monitoring. Really someone wants to know about country bridal gowns that they cannot detect otherwise. God protect me from protection.

    • Dreamhowl profile image
      Author

      Jessica Marello 4 years ago from United States

      Ha. I understand. But HubPages is not the only website people visit. Sometimes someone is on a public computer and would rather not have their usernames or browsing history saved. How much privacy matters depends on the person. Thanks for reading.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 4 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Wow you are so right on public computers. Here is a fun one: If USCIS looks at your computer seriously while you are going through customs it is within their right to collect all your histories and analyze them.

    • KawikaChann profile image

      KawikaChann 4 years ago from Northwest, Hawaii, Anykine place

      Wow - most informing and nice use of screen shots - I followed your instructions and cleaned out a chunk of history on my laptop. Great information on various platforms. Voted you up/useful. Peace. Kawi.

    • Dreamhowl profile image
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      Jessica Marello 4 years ago from United States

      Thanks, I'm glad I was able to help! I am sort of addicted to keeping my computer clean, so I've learned the ins and outs of privacy filters and browser histories. Thanks again for reading!

    • L.L. Woodard profile image

      L.L. Woodard 4 years ago from Oklahoma City

      Dreamhowl, thank for sharing these tips for clearing out browser histories and allowing us to determine how much privacy each of us wants. The screen shots were a big plus in helping me to figure out what to do.

      Great hub: voted up and Shared.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 4 years ago from England

      Thanks for the firefox info, I have now put it to no history as I always seem to have problems when I forget to delete history, my pc, not the actual firefox is the problem, but if it keeps it clear and stops it sticking on the screen then great! thanks!

    • junko profile image

      junko 4 years ago

      I didn't know, thank you.

    • Dreamhowl profile image
      Author

      Jessica Marello 4 years ago from United States

      Thank you so much for the feedback! I'm glad I was able to help. I'm a big fan of Internet privacy.

    • Dreamhowl profile image
      Author

      Jessica Marello 4 years ago from United States

      @Nell Rose: thanks for the feedback! I'm happy I was able to help. Firefox is my favorite browser and has a lot of privacy customization. Thanks again!

    • Dreamhowl profile image
      Author

      Jessica Marello 4 years ago from United States

      @junko: thanks so much for the feedback! I like keeping my history private, if just to keep things clean. Thanks again!

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Very useful info with apt screenshots. Deleting history should be a routine affair. Thanks for sharing.

    • Dreamhowl profile image
      Author

      Jessica Marello 4 years ago from United States

      I agree - thanks for reading!

    • Paul Kuehn profile image

      Paul Richard Kuehn 4 years ago from Udorn City, Thailand

      dreamowl,

      Thank you so much for sharing this great information. This is all so useful to know especially when you are using a public computer or one that is not your own.

    • wetnosedogs profile image

      wetnosedogs 4 years ago from Alabama

      A great, thorough hub. Thanks for the reminder!

    • tehjib profile image

      Kudrat-E-Khuda Barat 4 years ago from Bangladesh

      Great Hub! All the browsers information are in one place! Thanks for sharing.

    • chicagoguy profile image

      Raj Lally Batala 4 years ago from Chicago ,USA

      good hub !! detailed

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 4 years ago from the short journey

      Congrats on this Hub of the Day award for an informative and useful hub!

    • JustSimple info profile image

      JustSimple Info 4 years ago from Puget Sound

      To keep somethings from even loading onto your computer to make CCleaner more effective, there is a great tool called WinPatrol. It is free, I have used it for years. If you ever wondered what was running on your computer, this will tell you, and you can block things from running, that the Windows Task manager doesn't catch.

      Also if you really want to be secure and safe on the internet, in addition to these great suggestions on this hub, check out TOR, and check out Hotspot Sheild. There is a paid and a free version, with or without ads. But it allows you to better protect yourself when you do surf.

      The one things I recommend to users on the web also, is invest in a keyscrambler. Yes just like it sounds. There are some free ones out there, or buy one, and it will scramble what you type so in case someone is recording what you do on your computer, they won't know what keys were used to log into your bank website etc. :-)

    • kingsingh profile image

      kingsingh 4 years ago from Maryland

      Thank you for explaining how to delete the internet history on Firefox. I use Google Chrome at home and Firefox at the office. This was very helpful. You have a wonderful day.

    • snakeslane profile image

      snakeslane 4 years ago from Canada

      Good information, congratulations on Hub of the Day Dreamhowl!

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 4 years ago from sunny Florida

      thanks for sharing this. I am sure many will find it useful. The only reason I happen to know is my nephew is a whiz...he works at home for businesses as a computer magician who can solve most computer issues in a flash....I on the other hand learn new things each day.

      Congratulations on hub of the day.

    • ologsinquito profile image

      ologsinquito 4 years ago from USA

      Congratulations Hub of the Day. Very useful information. Thanks for making this hub.

    • Relationshipc profile image

      Kari 4 years ago from Alberta, Canada

      Very useful hub, I don't think a lot of people think about their history on their computer.

      I used to work evenings at a hospital, and I would use doctors computers during the evening to play games and connect with people online (I know, that is probably not the best thing to admit!) They never deleted their history, not that I snooped around...I was too busy with my own stuff, but I made sure that I always deleted the history at the end of the night. So, remember, you never know who is using your computer - especially at work.

    • Dreamhowl profile image
      Author

      Jessica Marello 4 years ago from United States

      @Paul Kuehn: Thank you so much, and I agree.

    • Dreamhowl profile image
      Author

      Jessica Marello 4 years ago from United States

      @wetnosedogs: Thanks for reading! Glad you liked it.

    • Dreamhowl profile image
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      Jessica Marello 4 years ago from United States

      @tehjib: No problem! And thank you for reading!

    • Dreamhowl profile image
      Author

      Jessica Marello 4 years ago from United States

      @chicagoguy: Thank you very much!

    • Dreamhowl profile image
      Author

      Jessica Marello 4 years ago from United States

      @RTalloni: Thank you! I'm glad you found it useful.

    • Dreamhowl profile image
      Author

      Jessica Marello 4 years ago from United States

      @JustSimple Info: Thanks! I've never heard of WinPatrol but I'll be sure to look into it. My computer loves to start up programs I swore I disabled already. And the keyscrambler sounds good too. Thanks for sharing!

    • Dreamhowl profile image
      Author

      Jessica Marello 4 years ago from United States

      @kingsingh: Thank you! I use Firefox the majority of the time, but have tried all of the browsers out before, and sometimes use Google Chrome as well. Have a wonderful day as well!

    • Dreamhowl profile image
      Author

      Jessica Marello 4 years ago from United States

      @snakeslane: Thank you so much! I appreciate it.

    • Dreamhowl profile image
      Author

      Jessica Marello 4 years ago from United States

      @pstraubie: Thank you! There are some computer things I know and catch onto, and some more technical issues I need help with as well.

    • Dreamhowl profile image
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      Jessica Marello 4 years ago from United States

      @ologsinquito: Thank you! I'm glad you found it useful.

    • Dreamhowl profile image
      Author

      Jessica Marello 4 years ago from United States

      @Relationshipc: That's very true! It isn't something everyone thinks about, even when they use a computer in a public place. Thanks for reading!

    • profile image

      Lidiya 4 years ago

      Even easier (though slow), just download Tor as a Mozilla Firefox extension. Doesn't track ANYTHING while all your data from chrome incognito or whatever you're using is still tracked.

    • Dreamhowl profile image
      Author

      Jessica Marello 4 years ago from United States

      @Lidiya: Awesome! I'll have to look into that. Though as of right now, Firefox is set to delete everything after I log off anyway. I'll definitely be taking a look either way! Thanks for the tip.

    • jhendor profile image

      jhendor 4 years ago

      Weldone, you really took your time to explain this thing. Very illustrative and self explanatory

    • S.D. Stephenson profile image

      S.D. Stephenson 4 years ago from Brooklyn New York

      Thank you for this article. I found it to be extremely informative and easy to follow.

    • pradiiphira profile image

      Dr Pradip Hira 4 years ago from Ahmedabad-India

      hi,

      in firefox, one can start private browsing session temporary on public computer on personal computers also, so firefox doesn't remember only that sessions history,

      by the way good article,

    • iguidenetwork profile image

      iguidenetwork 4 years ago from Austin, TX

      I only have Google and IE on the computer I'm using, so thanks for introducing me to "cleaning" their search history.

      I will bookmark this one for future reference in case there are other browsers installed on my PC. Voted up, useful and shared.

    • greatstuff profile image

      Mazlan 4 years ago from Malaysia

      Congrats on HOTD. I use CCleaner and besides deleting your internet search history, it will also spring clean your PC to get it running faster.

    • amaogechukwuoke profile image

      amaogechukwuoke 4 years ago from lagos, nigeria

      very useful information

    • Dreamhowl profile image
      Author

      Jessica Marello 4 years ago from United States

      @amaogechukwuoke: Thanks, I really appreciate it!

    • Dreamhowl profile image
      Author

      Jessica Marello 4 years ago from United States

      @greatstuff: Thanks! I love CCleaner and use it often to keep things clean on my computer. It's fantastic.

    • Dreamhowl profile image
      Author

      Jessica Marello 4 years ago from United States

      @iguidenetwork: Thank you so much for the feedback. I'm happy it helped you out!

    • Dreamhowl profile image
      Author

      Jessica Marello 4 years ago from United States

      @pradiiphira: Thanks for the info! I must have missed that bit.

    • Dreamhowl profile image
      Author

      Jessica Marello 4 years ago from United States

      @S.D. Stephenson: Thanks for reading! I'm glad you found it useful.

    • Dreamhowl profile image
      Author

      Jessica Marello 4 years ago from United States

      @jhendor: Thanks for the feedback! I've always felt browser history and cleaning it was important.

    • Samith Jhon profile image

      Samith Jhon 4 years ago from Los Angeles, California

      Thanks for sharing this unique information no doubt this information is very informative.

    • wqaindia profile image

      Ashok Goyal 4 years ago from Rajpura 140401 Punjab India

      Very Useful and easy to understand.

    • Dreamhowl profile image
      Author

      Jessica Marello 4 years ago from United States

      @Samith Jhon: No problem! Thanks for reading!

    • Dreamhowl profile image
      Author

      Jessica Marello 4 years ago from United States

      @wqaindia: Thanks so much! Glad it was useful!

    • profile image

      IWebServices 4 years ago

      Wow! Wonderful presentation. Such an explanation is definitely useful for all who have no idea about it.

    • Dreamhowl profile image
      Author

      Jessica Marello 4 years ago from United States

      Thanks for the feedback! I tried to be as thorough as possible. :)

    • BrianFish profile image

      Brian Fisher 3 years ago from Houston

      I like your hub!!! I'll link it to my hub :D

    • Dreamhowl profile image
      Author

      Jessica Marello 3 years ago from United States

      I'm glad you like it, and thank you very much!

    • howtoguides2learn profile image

      Vidhya L 2 years ago from Chennai, India

      Useful post, thanks

    • Glenn Stok profile image

      Glenn Stok 22 months ago from Long Island, NY

      I clear my history every once in a while, when I think about it. I see that you did an excellent job at giving all the details for just about every browser out there.

      You sure covered all the bases, and then some. Your use of screenshots is very useful and makes everything clear for the end user to follow your instructions.

      Well done, and congratulations on having this chosen as Hub Of The Day, even though that was two years ago already.

    • Dreamhowl profile image
      Author

      Jessica Marello 22 months ago from United States

      @GlennStok Thank you! It's great to see that this hub still helps after two years.

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