A common way to enhance your internet privacy is to delete your web browser’s history (see the guides for Chrome and Internet Explorer). Doing so helps safeguard your personal and financial data. But if you want to go one step further, you can delete the entire search history on your hard drive as well.
How to delete your Windows hard drive search history
1. Type “run” in the desktop search bar. In the search results, click on Run.
2. In the run search box, type “regedit” and click OK.
3. You will now see the User Account Control dialog box. Click Yes to proceed.
4. In the Registry Editor, open the following folders: HKEY_CURRENT_USER > SOFTWARE > Microsoft > Internet Explorer > TypedURLs.
5. Right-click on each entry and then click Delete. Click Yes when prompted to confirm.
And that’s it! Your hard drive browsing history is gone for good!
Note: It is a good idea to perform these steps periodically since the history folder will be refilled as you continue to surf the web.
How to delete your hard drive search history on Mac
1. Go to Finder
2. Select Applications > Utilities > Disk Utility.
3. Select the “Erase” tab and select the “Erase Free Space” button.
When you delete items from your hard drive, the data stays on the hard drive but becomes invisible to you. The “erase free space” option writes over the data several times with numbers, essentially using blank data to make it impossible to recover your information.
Why delete your hard drive search history
While deleting your web browser history is one way to keep your browsing habits private, it is not enough to hide it from advanced IT professionals. Here are a few other reasons to delete your hard drive search history:
- Deleting history files doesn’t delete the content of the files but only the structure of those files.
- Removing your web browser history for a particular browser does nothing to your other browser histories , meaning you’ll have to repeat the process for however many other browsers you use.
- Free up some space on your hard drive.
The best part? The entire process should not take more than 10 minutes and does not require a lot of technical knowledge. You also don’t need to download any special programs to follow the steps below.
Do more to protect your internet privacy
Now if you REALLY want to improve your internet privacy, here are more steps you can take.
- Use ExpressVPN. While “pausing” Google Web & App History prevents Google from collecting data about you, it doesn’t prevent your ISP from tracking what you’re doing online and potentially sharing it with corporations and governments. To hide your online activity from your ISP, use a VPN like ExpressVPN.
- Use Tor Browser. Tor hides your location and online activities from anybody doing network surveillance or traffic analysis, so your internet activity is difficult to trace back to you. It’s one of your best bets for maintaining anonymity online. To maximize the effectiveness of Tor, be sure to read these tips: Want Tor to really work?
Safe browsing, everyone!
Want more help with de-cluttering your online life? Check out ExpressVPN’s guides on: