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What kinds of history are there?

There are generally two types of history: the first one is created by Windows, Internet Explorer or other parts of the operating system; and the second one is created by other applications (such as Media Player, Google Toolbar, Google Desktop, etc.). The second type is covered in the next chapter of this article.

The most important type of history is the Internet history that is created by Internet Explorer (from now on we will call it IE), which records every page that you have visited on the Internet. In order to see this history start Internet Explorer and select View -> Explorer Bar -> History (see the picture below). This will open a narrow window in the left side of the main IE window, which shows the pages that you have opened in the past.

This picture shows how to view the Internet Explorer history

In addition to the History window, every time when you start typing an Internet address in the Address bar of IE, a long list of all addresses that start with this letter (and that you have visited in the past) are shown immediately. This is a major privacy blow.

This picture shows how Internet Explorer reveals the addresses of the pages that are visited in the past (web history), when you start typing an address This feature of IE is called AutoComplete and it is feeded by history records. Note that there is another kind of privacy threatening information that is called AutoComplete forms and passwords, which is not related to history.

Note that not all remembered by IE pages are shown in the History window or in the Address bar. Usually there are many other history records that are not visible but can be extracted from someone with a clue. These history records are kept in some of the infamous index.dat files, which are described in depth in Delete index.dat files article.

The second type of history is Windows search history. It can be seen if you open the Search results window. To do that you need to click Start menu -> Search. In this window there are many fields where AutoComplete compromises your privacy.

This is the main window of standard Windows search utilty. There are many types of history that should be deleted.

As you can see, there are four types of search that you can make - Pictures, music, or video, Documents (word processing, spreadsheet, etc.), All files and folders and Computers or people. In the forms for each of these types of search there are fields that show the words that have been entered in the past.

AutoComplete in search form. The only way to get rid of this search history is to clean it with specialized privacy protection program.
AutoComplete in search form. The only way to get rid of this search history is to clean it with specialized privacy protection program.

You can turn off AutoComplete for the search forms but this does not prevent someone to turn it back on and see the things that you have searched for. The only real solution to this history problem is to clean all these history records.

The next types of history are the Start menu Run history and Start menu most frequently used programs. First one shows the programs that were started by Start menu Run command (see the picture below).

This is the main window of standard Windows search utilty. There are many types of history that should be deleted.

The second one shows the most frequently used programs (only in Windows XP and Windows Vista). This is the most obvious history of all - it is located in the left part of Windows XP and Windows Vista Start menu.

You can use Mil Shield to delete all described types history and also the content of index.dat files, cookies, cache and many other tracks.

Click here to download the free trial version of Mil Shield 9.0
4.34 MB - 5 sec with broadband

There are other types of history but all of them are associated with specific applications. Read the next chapter to find out about the history traces of Media Player, Google Toolbar, Google Deskbar, Google Desktop, WinZip, WinRAR, GetRight, FlashGet, MS Office and other applications.

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