Can You Delete Screen Time History

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You spend some time surfing the web, close your browser, and articulate your net history.  But is your history actually deleted, and is at that place any style to find out what websites you visited?  Read on to see several means that your deleted browser history can exist recovered.

Recovering Deleted Files

Your browser history is stored merely similar everything else on your computer, as a file (or collection of files).  Clearing your browser history only deletes these files from your hard drive.  We’ve written a guide on recovering deleted files that tin be used to also recover your browser cache; y’all merely need to know where your browser cache is stored.

Internet Explorer: C:\Users\<username>\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\History

Mozilla Firefox: C:\Users\<username>\AppData\Roaming\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\<profile binder>

Google Chrome: C:\Users\<username>\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default

In all of those directories, replace <username> with the name of the user whose history yous wish to recover.  Gear up your recovery software to scan those directories in guild to recover history.  If you try to browse to any of those folders, you may demand to configure explorer to show hidden files.

Inspecting the DNS Cache

Your calculator uses DNS servers to resolve hostnames to IP addresses, and these queries are temporarily stored in your DNS enshroud.  When you clear your browser history, your DNS enshroud is not touched.

To come across the list of cached website lookups for your system:

Open up a command prompt past typing “cmd” into the start menu.

Then, issue this control:

ipconfig /displaydns

As you can run across in the screenshot in a higher place, the DNS cache reveals that nosotros accept visited recently.  At present, at that place are a few large caveats to using this approach, and then you can’t rely on information technology every bit catch-all method for viewing the sites you lot (or someone else) have visited.

Beginning off, your browser is not the only matter that can crusade a DNS lookup to exist cached.  Application updates, instant messenger, video games, and just about any program you can think of that connects to the net is going to exist using DNS to lookup hostnames.  When that’south done, it’s added to the cache the same mode it would exist if the site were accessed by your browser.  To come across this in action, try pinging a website that yous haven’t recently visited, and then looking at your DNS cache.


Followed by:

ipconfig /displaydns

Yous’ll see (or whatever website you chose to ping) listed in the results, fifty-fifty though you haven’t actually visited that website.

The 2d drawback with this arroyo is that you’ll never know the specific pages you visited on any given website, just that you visited the website itself.

Immigration the DNS Cache

Later seeing just how like shooting fish in a barrel it is to inspect someone’s DNS enshroud, you’re probably wondering how to clear it.  Anytime your computer is restarted, the enshroud will exist cleared.  Otherwise, you lot can run this command in the command prompt:

ipconfig /flushdns

Router Logs

Some routers give you the ability to log all incoming and outgoing traffic.  Every brand of router is going to be different, simply this setting will most likely be disabled by default.  On Linksys routers, you can pull up the settings (192.168.1.ane in your browser), and navigate to Administration > Log.

Poke around your router settings or consult the manual to find out if yours has the option to log connections, and how to enable information technology.

Once enabled, you can view the log to see all established connections – you’ll want to filter by outgoing.

Every single connexion to your router is going to exist listed in this log, so there can be a ton of information (a lot of it irrelevant), and the log tin grow very huge very fast.  In this example, the router doesn’t resolve the IP addresses to hostnames.  A quick search on the internet reveals that this IP address belongs to How-To Geek, and then we can deduce that our computer has accessed that website.

What Doesn’t Work

There is a lot of misinformation circulating the net about ways to recover your browsing history, and a lot of them sound convincing, so you may be inclined to believe them at offset.  Nosotros put a few of the nigh mutual methods to the test, and here’due south what we establish:

Using System Restore

Using three different browsers, we went to a few unlike websites, and then created a restore bespeak.  From there, we cleared the history and proceeded to perform a system restore, in hopes of recovering the history that nosotros had simply deleted.

No dice.  The browsing history wasn’t recovered for any of the three major browsers we tested: Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Chrome.  This is touted as the get-to method in the majority of websites and forums, but it was just a big waste of fourth dimension when nosotros tried it.

Index.dat Files

At that place are an affluence of guides that tell you to locate index.dat files and utilise tertiary party software to open and view them.  Index.dat files do indeed contain logs of websites visited, simply they aren’t useful if the browsing history has been cleared.

The biggest problem is that mod browsers no longer use index.dat files; the last browser to use them was Cyberspace Explorer 9.  So, we ran some tests with Internet Explorer 9, only to see if this method was useful for someone who’due south running outdated software.  Using Index.dat Suite, we were able to recover some browsing history, but later on clearing it, the information inside the index.dat file disappeared.

If you demand to grab the browsing history off of a computer before it gets cleared, the index.dat file makes for a expert repository of sites visited, but it’s useless if the history is cleared earlier you tin get to information technology.  If you want to investigate index.dat files for yourself, click the link higher up to download the necessary software, and click the “View History” icon to have the program automatically scan for index.dat files and list the sites your reckoner has visited.

Where else tin my history be recovered from?

It’due south worth remembering that your entire internet browsing history is stored somewhere, whether temporarily or permanently, and whether by your ISP, the government, or whoever else decides to cache your listing of browsed sites.

Typically, a warrant for the information would be required to go your ISP to release the details.  If you lot really want to maintain complete privacy in regards to what websites you use, check out our articles on Tor and using a VPN.