How to hide your search history

Be very careful accessing this site from home – anyone else using your computer can tell which sites you’ve visited.  You can use a computer at the Library or an internet cafe, it’s safer.

How can someone discover your internet activities?

Please take a few minutes to read the warning below and to take steps to increase your safety when using the internet and the WAVES website.

If an abuser has access to your email account, they may be able to read your incoming and outgoing mail. If you believe your account is secure, make sure you choose a password that others will not be able to guess. If an abuser sends you threatening or harassing e-mail messages, they may be printed and saved as evidence of this abuse.

History/cache file:
Anyone using your computer may be able to see information you have viewed recently on the internet. You can clear your history or empty your cache file in your browser’s settings.
This information may not completely hide your tracks. Many browser types have features that display recently visited sites. The safest way to find information on the internet, would be at a local library, a friend’s house, or at work.

A record of your browsing may also be held in your browser's temporary files and cookies folder. Details from most sites visited are sent there automatically. These are not viewable in the browser history once you have deleted it using the methods below but they are still saved to a drive on the computer. It is usually not necessary to delete these but if you would like more information about how to delete these files see the Microsoft support tutorial here.

Another thing to consider if you have concerns is that deleting your ENTIRE browsing history could act as a red flag that you are covering your tracks. If an abuser knows that the internet has been used their suspicions may be raised if they find that no or very few sites listed in the browser history. Because of this we recommend only deleting the sites you do not want them to see. For example instead of emptying the entire folder you could follow the instructions for 'viewing history' and then right-click on each individual site you want deleted and select 'delete'. For more information you can go to

Microsoft Internet Explorer users
Viewing History:
Microsoft Internet Explorer 7.x users can view their history files by clicking the "Tools" menu, "Internet Options", clicking the "Settings" button under the Browsing history, and then clicking the "View Files" button. Microsoft Internet Explorer 6.x users can view their history files by clicking the "Tools" menu, "Internet Options", clicking the "Settings" button, and then clicking the "View Files" button.

Deleting History:
Microsoft Windows users running Microsoft Internet Explorer 6.x and 7.x can delete their history files by clicking the "Tools" menu, "Internet Options", and clicking the "Delete Files" or "Delete" button. Users also have the option of automatically deleting files each time the close the browser window by clicking the "Advanced" tab and checking "Empty Temporary Internet Files folder when browser is closed" under the "Security" section. Microsoft Internet Explorer 4.x users on an Apple Macintosh can delete the history by clicking the "Hard Drive" icon, "System", "Preferences", "Explorer", and moving the history file into the trash. Remember to empty the trash. Microsoft Internet Explorer 3.02 and lower users can delete their history by clicking the "View" menu, "Options", open the tab "Advanced", click the "Settings" tab, and click the "Empty Folder" button.

Mozilla Firefox users
Viewing History:
Press Ctrl + H to open the left-side history bar. or Click History at the top of the window. or Users using earlier versions of Mozilla Firefox can also view their history by clicking "Go" and clicking "History."

Deleting History:
Mozilla Firefox users can clear their history by clicking the "Tools" menu, "Options", clicking the "Piracy" button, and under "History" click the "Clear" or "Clear Now" button. or Press CTRL + Shift + DEL to open the Clear Data Window.

Netscape users
Viewing History:
Microsoft Windows users can view history by first opening Netscape and click the "Edit" menu, "Preferences", "History", and view the location where Netscape is storing your files. Next, open this folder within Explorer.

Deleting History:
Netscape users can delete their history files by clicking the "Edit" menu, "Preferences", "History", and click the "Clear History" button.

Opera users

Viewing History:
Users can view their history files by opening the "cache" folder within their opera folder. Microsoft Windows users can often find this within "C:\Program files\Opera\ ." If you're unable to locate the cache within this directory try opening the "C:\Documents and Settings\**HOPE**\Application Data\Opera\Opera\profile" folder, where **HOPE** is the name of the username you use to log into Windows.

Deleting History:
Opera users can delete their history by clicking the "File" menu, "Preferences", "History", and click "Empty now" button. In addition, users can check "Empty on exit" if they wish for this task to occur each time they exit the browser.