Clear history: this is how it works with Firefox, Google Chrome, Opera & Co.
Ready for the browser wash cycle: How to clean your web browser (s) and keep it slim and lean – and above all, discreet. On-board resources and external tools are at your service.
Your internet activity is none of your business. To protect yourself from espionage, you should cover your tracks regularly. A positive side effect: that keeps the pace high.
Two web browsers have been installed since Windows 10 at the latest: In addition to Internet Explorer, which, unlike Windows 8.1, is no longer pinned to the taskbar and thus hidden, Microsoft Edge is on the PC. Up to and including Windows 10 2004 (May 2020 Update), this is Edge with the in-house EdgeHTML rendering engine ; Windows 10 20H2 (October 2020 Update) and higher no longer implement the old Edge and instead rely on a faster Chromium-based variant. Even on PCs with Windows 7 / 8.1 there are often several surf programs – because users are rarely satisfied with Internet Explorer (IE). And so the IE is sometimes used for the last time to download an alternative, users then set up Firefox, Google Chrome, Opera and possibly Chromium Edge. The result of multiple browser installations: If you use the clients alternately, a lot of (sometimes treacherous) data garbage accumulates. In order to delete it, you have to start every single program and follow a few steps. The more convenient solution: use a cleaning tool to clean up. We present such solutions here as well as the procedure
The advantage of deleting the history, for example: PC co-users cannot see the websites you have visited. If you remove further browser data, the surfing speed will sometimes increase.
What data do my browsers save?
Above all, the surf programs create a cache and history entries, plus cookies. The data is created in normal surfing mode. If, on the other hand, you browse in private mode, Firefox & Co. will not create them:
In Cache land components of web pages that does not need to request again the browser on a return visit. It involves endless files in a special folder on your hard drive or SSD. Since access takes place locally, it may be faster than delivery via the Internet. If you move your cache to a RAM disk , you may surf a tooth faster. At least the RAM disk and thus the cache are emptied when Windows is shut down. In this way, order is always ensured.
The coursesaves the URLs of the websites you have visited: This is useful because you can see when you were on which page, sorted by date. You can find a website whose tab you closed or visited the day before. It is sufficient to go through the history manually or use its search function. History is Internet Explorer slang; in Firefox, for example, there is talk of a chronicle. Press Ctrl-H to view. The history speeds up surfing: If you enter the first letters of the URL of a page you have already visited in the address bar, your browser will suggest the entire web address. All you have to do is press the Enter key to navigate to the website – thanks to this auto-complete feature, you can also find search suggestions from the Internet (mostly from Google). In addition to a URL history, there is a download counterpart; your browser’s download manager (tab) shows this list of downloaded files. If the website builds up, it is worth trying to delete the URL history or the URL history. As a rule, however, that hardly gives a boost. It is more effective to empty the cache. If in doubt, delete the data in both areas.
The virtual data cookies come in three flavors: first-party cookies, third-party cookies and browser plug-ins such as Adobe Flash and Microsoft Silverlight (both plug-ins and their cookies are almost extinct). The operator of a visited website has created first-party cookies on your PC. Third / 3rd party cookies, on the other hand, are third-party data packets and come from advertisements from advertising networks whose banners are embedded in the pages visited. Third-party cookies are used to track the user across all pages and to deliver advertisements. The future of these data cookies is numbered; Google, for example, no longer wants to support them in its Chrome browser.
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All of this sounds negative, but cookies are harmless: they are useful and important for you to be able to log into web services. They also maintain registrations and save website settings you have made so that they are not lost. In this way, online shops often greet their users by name. You can find a guide to the correct handling of cookies in the article ” Cookies guide: The best tips for Firefox and Google Chrome “. The data cookies do not run code and behave like malware. They don’t smuggle a virus onto your PC, in the worst case they just trample your privacy.
An overfilled cache has a reputation for slowing down. If your browser paralyzes, you should rid it of unnecessary elements. Since the cache is an intermediate storage, it is also questionable whether “clear cache” is correct – some people say it that way. It is more correct to speak of “clearing the cache” or “clearing cache elements / files”. In addition to the cache, the history or history and the cookies may reduce the surfing speed; however, the throttle is at most not very pronounced. The chronicle in particular offers any PC snoopers the opportunity to find out more about you: Anyone who gains physical access to your computer or accesses it from a safe distance using illegitimate remote control software presses Ctrl-H and sees your past surfing Sessions. According to the motto:
It is rather unusual to explore the cache in order to determine pages accessed in the past few days. However, this is definitely possible: With Firefox, try it out by entering about: cache in the address bar and clicking the “List Cache Entries” button under “disk”.
Clean up multiple browsers in one go
This Eusing tool shines with cleaning up different browsers in one go.
Installing a cleanup tool to clean up one or a few browsers is overkill. If you have a large number of browsers installed, you can think about using CCleaner or Free Internet Window Washer . The tuning utilities are not only useful if you have a large number of browsers, but also if you also want to sweep Windows ballast. You then do it all in one go. Furthermore, you can at least clean up the registry with the CCleaner.
With the CCleaner (Crap Cleaner) you can make your browser sparkling clean next to Windows.
The CCleaner is a tried and tested cleaning agent, Free Internet Window Washer is less well known, but also recommendable. The latter application comes from Eusing Software; you may know the provider from the Eusing Free Registry Cleaner . The Eusing design is less modern than the CCleaner, and both tools are reliable. In view of some data protection scandals in the past around CCleaner, you may not want to use it anymore; then try your luck with the Free Internet Window Washer . A basic rule for external cleaning programs, including these: the clients must not be running so that they can access your browser data. So end it first if necessary.
Some cleaning tools, such as Ashampoo’s, do this for you and offer, for example, to remove an active Firefox from the RAM. If, on the other hand, you want your browser to clean up itself, the opposite is true: the surfing programs must be running, only then do you follow a click path in Firefox & Co. or use a key combination. CCleaner supports all common browsers, the Eusing tool even has a tab in the settings to configure the cleaning of Netscape. This historical web browser can hardly be found on a PC anymore.
This is how it works manually: Delete Firefox history
Start Firefox and press the Alt key to bring up the menu bar. There you select “History> Show entire history” to get an overview. The Firefox window “Library” opens, in which you can see and search through your history. You can remove unwanted entries with a right-click and the context option “Remove page”.
If you have visited web.de, for example, and have several pages on this site in your timeline, you can even discard the timeline links in a bundle: The command “Forget entire website” in the context menu is used for this. You can tidy up faster by going to “History> Delete recent history”. In the window that opens, make detailed settings and confirm with “OK”. You can also reach this dialog by pressing Ctrl-Shift-Del.
Clear Google Chrome history
In the browser, click on the three dots in the top right corner, then on “More tools> Clear browsing data”. In the window that opens, configure the procedure as required. You can call up the relevant dialog even faster by pressing Ctrl-Shift-Del. Or you can enter the following URL in the address bar: chrome: // settings / clearBrowserData
Clear Opera history
After starting the Opera web browser from Norway, click the O symbol in the top left. A list of menu bar entries folds down. Proceed by clicking on “History> Clear Browsing Data”. You can also use Ctrl-Shift-Del to reach the dialog that is now open. This also works by entering the address opera: // settings / clearBrowserData in the url bar.
Clear Internet Explorer history
The IE uses a non-Chromium engine, similar to Firefox: The technology differs from the browser monotony. However, the IE engine is not particularly fast. If you suspect that large amounts of accumulated data junk will exacerbate the problem, clear up: You can find the way in IE by clicking on the screw icon in the top right corner and on “Security> Delete browsing history”. The shortcut Ctrl-Shift-Del works too.
A rather unusual method to erase the IE history: Select the “Internet Options” entry in the menu that opens when you click the screw symbol. In the window that pops up, go to the “General” tab (already active) in the “Browsing history” area and click the “Delete” button. This brings up the dialog that you would otherwise reach with Ctrl-Shift-Del. In the rare event that IE is unable to start due to a problem, press Win-R and enter inetcpl.cpl to go to Internet Options without a browser loaded. There you use the “Delete” button on the “General” tab under “Browsing history”.
By the way, IE is still included in Windows 11, but cannot be started there. With older systems, use the above-mentioned click sequence or, alternatively, clean up the browser using the Run dialog command. To do this, press Win-R and then enter:
rundll32 inetcpl.cpl ResetIEtoDefault
Clear Microsoft Chromium Edge history
If you are using the relatively new Edge browser with a Chromium core, then open the menu at the top right to clean it up: Click on the three dots and on “Settings”. In the category bar on the left, select “Privacy, Search and Services”. Scroll to the right of it – in the main window area – downwards. For “Delete browser data”, click the “Select items to be deleted” button. You can also open the relevant dialog via the following URL: edge: // settings / clearBrowserData
And Ctrl-Shift-Del also works with Microsoft’s Chromium Edge.
Clear Safari history
The Safari browser from Apple is based on the WebKit engine – it is the forerunner of Blink, which is the engine for displaying HTML in Chromium-based browsers. Apple has not released any new versions of Safari for Windows since 2012. The program is not advisable from a security point of view and also with regard to modern features that the provider does not provide later. Under macOS and iOS, on the other hand, the update situation is not an anti-argument. If you have installed Safari under Windows, you should uninstall it: via Win-R, appwiz.cpland double click on the entry “Safari”. If you hold on to the client, press the Alt key in it and thus bring up the sometimes unknown menu bar. Here you can continue by clicking on “History> Delete history”, the dialog that pops up asks: “Do you really want to delete the history?” Answer yes with “Delete”.
Prevention with a special invisibility cap
If you know that you are about to start an explosive surfing session, you can simply start your browser in incognito mode – sometimes called InPrivate mode, in the past people used to joke about porn mode. No history entries remain on the (SSD) hard drive: The reason is not – contrary to the erroneous assumption of some users – that the browser deletes the data at the end of the surfing session. In fact, he doesn’t even put them on. The mode can be reached with a click sequence as well as with a key combination.
In Firefox, click on the three lines (hamburger symbol) in the upper right corner and select the entry “New private window” in the menu. Instead of using the mouse, you can also pop up the surfing environment with Ctrl-Shift-P.
If your browser is Google Chrome , the click sequence is “three dots in the top right corner> new incognito window”. The alternative hotkey is Ctrl-Shift-N.
In Opera click on the O in the top left and click on “New private window” in the menu. Ctrl-Shift-N is the hotkey equivalent to this.
Internet Explorer users press the Alt key to display the menu bar; IE and Firefox are among the few browsers that have such a bar on board. Here select “Tools> InPrivate Browsing”. Ctrl-Shift-P is the quick hotkey alternative.
With Microsoft’s Edge browser, navigate to the three dots in the top right corner. In the menu, choose “New InPrivate Window”. You don’t have to click with Ctrl-Shift-N.
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