When you visit websites, their addresses are stored in temporary folders on your computer’s hard drive. This information is put together into a log of your internet history so you can go back and review where you’ve been on the internet.
A cookie is a small text file that is sent to your computer via your web browser when you visit some websites. These cookies are used to store information about you for the next time you visit that site – information like where you went on the site and what you did. The cookie remembers the computer you use rather than storing personal details about you, so if you used another computer to access the site, say from school, it would treat you as a new person.
Cookie files are a great way for a website to remember you when you next visit so they can automatically fill in information like your login when you return. However, if you want to surf the net without worrying that someone can see which sites you have visited on the computer you are using, you might want to delete this information.
How to cover your tracks
If people want to see which websites you’ve been to, all they need to do is look at either your internet history or the cookies saved onto your computer.
To keep them from being able to do this, you will need to:
- Delete all cookies from the Temporary Internet files on your computer
- Delete all the Links in your history folder
Don’t worry – deleting these files and links isn’t difficult. Here’s what you need to do. First of all, find out what internet browser you are using to access the internet. You can do this by looking at the top bar of the screen where the name of the browser should be displayed.
- Internet Explorer
- Safari (often used on Apple PCs, laptops and portable devices)
- Mozilla Firefox
- Google Chrome
- Click on Tools.
- Go to the bottom of the dropdown menu and click on Internet options. This will open a box with the names of several different sections along the top. You will already be in the section called General, which is where you want to be.
- In the middle of this box is a section called Temporary Internet Files. Click on the button marked Delete Files.
- When the box pops up, tick the Delete All Offline Content box and then click OK.
- When your computer finishes deleting your temporary internet files, you will be back in the General Internet Options box.
- Look at the section below called History. Here you can click on the Clear History button.
- A dialogue box will ask you if you want to delete all items in your history folder. Click Yes.
- Click OK to close the Internet Options box.
- Click on the Tools menu and select Internet Options.
- In the General page under Browser History, select the Delete button.
- Either select and delete each section: Temporary Internet Files, Cookies, History, Forms Data and Passwords, or Clear All History.
- Select the Delete All button at the bottom to clear everything.
Resetting Safari clears the history and cookies but also clears the downloads and removes any saved user names and passwords or other AutoFill data and clears Google/Yahoo search entries.
To do this:
- Go to the Safari menu at top left hand screen.
- Choose and click Reset Safari.
- Click on the Tools option in the menu bar.
- Select Clear Private Data.
- In the box that appears, make sure you tick the Cookies box too.
- Click on Clear Private Data.
- Click on the spanner icon next to the search bar and click on Clear Browsing Data from the menu.
- Make sure the Clear browsing history and Delete cookies options are selected.
- Click on Clear Browsing Data to finish.
- You have now deleted all your temporary internet files and all the links in your history folder. If you are worried about getting in trouble for visiting this site or any others, do this each time you visit.