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5 ways to recover deleted internet history data easily

Nothing is ever deleted on a computer. Even though delete functions exist the data still remains somewhere in the computer, whether on the hard drive or in obscure files tucked away deep in the operating system. Recovering deleted internet history is quite straightforward if you know what you’re doing. And if you do want to know what you’re doing, read on. 

There are many reasons why you would want to recover deleted internet histories. These range from anxious parents worried about whether their children are visiting inappropriate websites or being sucked into some nefarious underworld, to simply wanting to recover the forgotten URL of a website you used which was useful, but you thought you’d never visit again, until you remembered it.

The good news, or bad news, depending on your point of view is that even though you delete things and think that as a result everything you do on a computer has been erased, it’s simply not true. Somewhere on the computer there will be a record, including the internet history.

You’ve probably heard tales about fraudsters and villains throwing computers in swimming pools or trying to set fire to them as the law closes in. These are dumb actions. Unless you take a big fat magnet to the hard drive, everything you do on a computer remains on the computer and rarely will fire and water destroy the hard drive unless it’s an inferno or tsunami of immeasurable magnitude. Internet history is stored in the Windows Registry. There is also a chance that the history gets stored in Internet cookies.

To recover deleted internet history these two resources are targeted. There are several ways to do this, some of them simple, some a bit technical and complex.

Recover deleted internet history through System Restore

The easiest method is to do a system restore. If the internet history was deleted recently system restore will recover it. To get system restore up and running you can go to the ‘start’ menu and do a search for system restore which will take you to the feature. Alternatively, go to ‘Start’ click on ‘Programs’ and then ‘Accessories.’

You’ll see a ‘System Tools’ option and ‘System Restore’ will be in there. Select the date you’d like to restore your computer to and sit back and wait until it does its thing. When finished the computer will reboot and if check your browser the internet history should be in there.

See lost internet history through Desktop search programmes

Sometimes though system restore options are disabled. This can happen, for example, if you have a second hand computer that’s had a previous life in a corporate environment. It’s not common but does happen. In this case you can use desktop search programmes.
 

There are quite a few out there and this link takes you through to a webpage that lists some of the best, though feel free to do your own research. If you can remember a few keywords that you want to search for in the internet history, type them into the search box and they should be recovered.

Cookies show you the way

Internet cookies are also another good method to access internet history.  A cookie is a small text file that stored in your internet browser. They store your user information to for the web sites you visit. Some of us thing of them as spying tools but actually in most instances they remember your account and browsing history making it easier for you when you revisit websites.

There’s a great wikiHow page here that shows in very simple terms how to access cookies on Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome and Safari browsers. If you can see the cookies you know what the internet history is.

Access deleted browning history with log files

Another method is to recover the history using log files. This method is suitable for histories that were deleted a long time ago. A word of warning though, while there is a simple step-by-step process to follow using this method some strange things can be thrown up such as warnings that you might lose other data.

This isn’t common but it’s a point worth nothing. All Windows computers have a file extension that stores arbitrary data. It’s called Index.dat and is a file hidden on your computer that contains all of the web sites that you have ever visited. It lists every URL and every web page. Before you begin navigating these steps you must set Windows to show hidden files and folders.  To do this go to ‘Start’ then ‘Settings’ then ‘Control Panel’ and finally ‘Folder Options’.

When you’re in ‘Folder Options’ click the ‘View’ tab. Go to ‘Advanced settings’ and click ‘Show hidden files and folders’. Then uncheck ‘Hide Protected Operating System files’ and click OK. Once you are finished searching, don’t forget to go back and undo these changes.

To begin your search go to My Computer and use the search tool to find all instances of index.dat in the C drive. The search should pull up multiple index.dat files. To read an index .dat file you need to know the software that created the file. However you can download index.dat reader software from the internet. This site offers such a reader though there are many more available which you’ll soon discover if you do your own search.

You can also use sites like CNET and Softpedia which offer index.dat files readers. You can use the reader to view the index.dat files and all the information that has been accessed, when and for how long will be in there.

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Who you gonna call? Databusters

This is a fairly exhaustive list of how to recover deleted internet histories or at the very least see which websites have been visited. However, if you’ve tried all these options and are still struggling there are other options too.

The first is to install professional recovery software. You can typically buy this for somewhere in the region of 100 dollars, pounds sterling or euros, give or take a few cents and pennies each way. Another option is to call in the professionals, that is, people, who are skilled in recovering lost data. This typically involves prising the hard drive out of your computer and sending it off. However, it’s also worth checking with your local computer shop before you do that, they might just be able to help.

Of course, it always makes sense to get into the habit of backing up your data which just may remove the need to search for internet histories.

And worried parents might want to consider BullGuard security software that incorporates parental controls. This protects your children from inappropriate content and dubious sites, limits their time on the internet, monitors online behaviour and help them keep their personal details to themselves. You define where the lines are drawn and to prevent children from editing the parental control settings, these can only be accessed with your account password.

And it means that if you’re searching for deleted internet history to keep an eye on the little darlings, you may no longer need to do so.    
Filed under: Tips & Tricks

Written by Steve Bell

Steve has a background in IT and business journalism and has written extensively for both the UK national and trade press including The Guardian, Independent-on-Sunday, The Times, The Register, MicroScope and Computer Weekly. He's also worked for most of the world's largest IT companies producing content producing. He has a particular focus on IT security and has produced several magazines in this area.

More articles by Steve Bell

59 comments

  • Mamata patra

    2 May 2017, 11:28

    I want my deleted Google chrome browsing history since last month is it possible? if possible please help me . give me ur contact no so that i can contact u.
  •  
  • Willem

    10 Feb 2017, 14:03

    Could you please tell me how to recover a website that has been deleted from the Wayback Machine? Many thanks!
  •  
  • Alison

    8 Jan 2017, 23:18

    Hi,
    Not sure why or how but the internet history on my computer has been deleted please let me know how to find it again, thank you
  •  
  • How Parents Can Protect Their Children Online | Ask a Tech Teacher

    23 Mar 2016, 09:47

    […] dangers lurking in the dark corners of the internet. For years, it was a fairly simple process of monitoring history and blocking certain search terms. But the challenge has evolved, as technology always does. Kids […]
  •  
  • rufino arcilla

    10 Mar 2016, 07:41

    Great help , godspeed !
  •  
  • Jared Knight

    17 Feb 2016, 04:28

    What if you go through and find cookies and ease them can you still aces them?
  •  
  • Aezaz

    3 Feb 2016, 05:01

    how to restore in short time
  •  
  • Arthut Larroza

    2 Feb 2016, 03:51

    I found it amazinglt helpful. Interesting! Thank you.
  •  
  • trifono jaime bala

    23 Jan 2016, 04:52

    Trying this recovery method
  •  
  • Amanda

    5 Jan 2016, 03:34

    How can I recover my account history from my Google & chrome search history and from my account history. My whatever he is was on my phone and deleted all of my information.
  •  
  • 3 Jan 2016, 11:04

    Like
  •  
  • hayley

    6 Dec 2015, 23:28

    thanks now i can find out what my christmas present is.. lol
  •  
  • sardar kashif wali

    3 Dec 2015, 08:22

    nice
  •  
  • Tara Hill

    31 Oct 2015, 13:12

    I'm trying to recover deleted emails off one of my yahoo email account can you pls help me
  •  
  • armi

    24 Oct 2015, 19:25

    my laptop off remotes control patch
  •  
  • Carol Beacon

    23 Oct 2015, 03:09

    Brilliant stuff! :)
  •  
  • cathline marlik

    22 Oct 2015, 07:46

    miss my last mesages
  •  
  • Monica

    17 Oct 2015, 22:21

    How can I restore my messages if I deleted already at the messanger.
  •  
  • H.Ashari

    13 Oct 2015, 17:36

    I'd like to try it.
  •  
  • mazharullah Khan

    6 Oct 2015, 02:07

    Clear the search history
  •  
  • Aradhna khurana

    1 Oct 2015, 11:13

    Want to recover all. The photos from gallery
  •  
  • shivani sharma

    25 Aug 2015, 06:17

    MY COMPUTER how to recover deleted history on google chrome .. PLEASE HELP ME SIR
  •  
  • bob bob

    21 Aug 2015, 17:31

    Browning history - really?
  •  
  • 19 Aug 2015, 03:59

    no comment
  •  
  • nat

    10 Aug 2015, 19:13

    Ive tried all of the above and no luck.
    Ive got a laptop windows 7, i use internet explorer.
    How can i see the websites visited in the past month?
    Thanks
  •  
  • Thulasi

    8 Aug 2015, 18:27

    Very usefull line. Thanking you
  •  
  • marie robbins

    27 Jul 2015, 18:21

    why is craigs list blocked on my computer and why can I not charge my computer. you better get this fixed asap. you either fix it or cancel my subscription
  •  
  • 26 Jul 2015, 14:03

    I've cleared all my history and I want it back I'm on a huddle
  •  
  • priyanka sharma

    16 Jul 2015, 11:03

    please suggest me how to retrieve deleted history on google chrome?
  •  
  • Ade

    14 Jul 2015, 16:54

    Steve - the CHROME browser history recovery via cookies did work HOWEVER - shows data with no reference as to which day what web sites were visited.
    any suggestions?
  •  
  • getoff my case

    10 Jul 2015, 03:16

    :/
  •  
  • tameria winters

    11 Jun 2015, 16:42

    need my massages
  •  
  • 1 Jun 2015, 10:17

    Recover deleted history through system. Restoe
  •  
  • 1 Jun 2015, 10:15

    Recover deleted internet history through android .obile
  •  
  • 1 Jun 2015, 08:31

    I wa not today delete history only
  •  
  • Shaq Ferguson

    28 May 2015, 08:28

    Please undelete all my messages history notifications log in all deleted since 10/01/14
  •  
  • 4 May 2015, 02:57

    Need My browser back
  •  
  • Tristen

    28 Apr 2015, 15:57

    System restore did not work. Also quite a few words were misspelled.
  •  
  • B

    27 Apr 2015, 03:18

    Great of this, also here is another way to recover these deleted file from your hard drive.
  •  
  • t.co/IRVeusio2J

    26 Mar 2015, 06:44

    Try this Wondershare Data Recovery, it enables you to recover lost photos, videos, documents and more other files from computer, usb, smartphone, SD card, camera, etc.
    Find it from my UserName.
  •  
  • 13 Mar 2015, 22:26

    Perfect...
  •  
  • laura lipe

    9 Mar 2015, 04:25

    I accidently releases history just now
  •  
  • laura lipe

    9 Mar 2015, 04:24

    I accidently erased history from today
  •  
  • Linda J

    6 Mar 2015, 08:15

    A few days ago i had a Mozilla Firefox update. In the process all my bookmarks vanished (I managed to retrieve them after hours of trying). I tried System Restore but it did not reverse the changes that had occurred. What is so annoying is the removal of cookies, passwords, etc. These I have not been able to restore and now every time i need to access an account or whatever, i have to re-enter all the information. Is there any way to have this data put back in place? I have the Old Firefox Data folder on my desktop...what now?
  •  
  • Bob toadload

    5 Mar 2015, 02:15

    deleted browning history? for real? class act.
  •  
  • Ginny Macko

    22 Feb 2015, 22:50

    Thank you for the great information!
  •  
  • Teal

    21 Feb 2015, 03:44

    Access deleted browning" history with log files

    ...did you mean browsing history?

    Do you have more on file recovery from an old Win XP computer. I lost files in Windows upgrade to Win 7 and backup failed.
  •  
  • Mike Crowl

    19 Feb 2015, 06:53

    Interesting article. I'd known there were ways to recover stuff but hadn't realised it was within the capability of the average joe. By the way there are a few typos in this article that make some of the info a bit hard to understand at first sight - including in the heading 'access deleted browning history with log files...'
  •  
  • usuck

    11 Jan 2015, 06:04

    thanks
  •  
  • Mia Lacey

    6 Jan 2015, 01:49

    I accidentally deleted one of my password for study Island.
  •  
  • a Canadian

    3 Jan 2015, 07:27

    You have been of tremendous, appreciated and necessary help. Thank you.
  •  
  • Data Recovery Aberdeen

    26 Dec 2014, 07:57

    This is a very knowledgeable article about internet history data recovery but I am looking for a service provider of Data Recovery in Aberdeen.
  •  
  • 2 Dec 2014, 18:31

    please help me to recover my emails
  •  
  • 2 Dec 2014, 18:29

    i have deleted my emails
    through mobile
  •  
  • Marluy Torres

    24 Nov 2014, 16:58

    Thanks a lot for your information. I have a question, when you said to do it through system restore, how can I set the date I want to restore from? I just had the option of choosing between some dates the computer said. I just clicked the lastest. I hope it will work.
    Thank you
  •  
  • StephanieKutzman

    4 Nov 2014, 19:17

    Hey I have a question I have a Samsung galaxy 4 tablet Does the history ,from last 2 months still remain in the computer even if you restarted the computer and
    cause the steps you gave to open your history does that work for every device?"
  •  
  • John Cart

    28 Oct 2014, 22:34

    Hi Everyone,
    Thanks for sharing and providing information about the product. In addition, you can utilize Remo Recover tool to recover deleted internet history data easily.
  •  
  • jaya k

    27 Oct 2014, 08:39

    Jaya's history with ramesh nayak
  •  
  • Brenda

    20 Oct 2014, 13:58

    Please can you advise if its possible to retrieve deleted browser history on a blackberry curve.
    Thank you for your assistance
    Kind regards
    Brenda
  •  

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