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.
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 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
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.
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).
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.
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.