Every time you visit a website on your computer, a footprint of this is stored in several places on your computer. Anyone who uses your computer can access these records to see which sites you have visited. Computer software is developed to make it easier for people to use by recording which sites you have visited so that its easy for you to return to them. The computer will also store pictures and texts from recently viewed websites in a special folder (known as a Cache folder) so that it can be viewed again faster. This is not safe if you don’t want anyone else knowing this information.
The information below may increase your safety when using the internet, but might not completely hide your tracks. The safest way to view information is at computer away from your home, for example at work, in public library or at the home of friends or family.
If you know what browser you are using, then skip to the relevant instructions below. If you do not know the type of browser you are using, click on Help on the toolbar at the top of the browser screen. A drop down menu will appear, the last entry will say About ‘Internet Explorer’, About ‘Mozilla Firefox’, or something similar. The entry refers to which browser type you are using – you should then refer to the relevant instructions below.
Internet Explorer Click on the Tools menu and select Internet Options. On the General page, under Temporary Internet Files, click on Delete Cookies and then OK. Click on Delete Files, put a tick in the box labeled Delete all offline content and click OK. Under History, click on Clear History and then OK. Now look at the top of the window and click on the Content tab, select AutoComplete and finally, Clear Forms.
Firefox/Netscape Click on Tools and then Options, then click on Privacy. Click on the Clear button next to Cache and Saved Form Information.
Opera Click on Tools and then Preferences. Click on the Advanced tab and then the History section on the left-hand side. Click the two Clear buttons and the Empty Now button.
Deleting your browsing history Internet browsers also keep a record of all the web pages you visit. This is known as a ‘history’. To delete history for Internet Explorer and Netscape/Firefox hold down the Ctrl key on the keyboard, then press the H key (Crtl, Alt and H for Opera). Find any entries that say www.dynwales.org, right click and choose Delete.
E-mail If an abuser sends you threatening or harassing e-mail messages, they may be printed and saved as evidence of this abuse. Any email you have previously sent will be stored in Sent Items.
If you started an email but didn’t finish it, it might be in your Drafts folder. If you reply to any email, the original message will probably be in the body of the message – print and delete the email if you dont want anyone to see your original message.
When you delete an item in any email program (Outlook Express, Outlook, Thunderbird etc) it does not really delete the item – it moves the item to a folder called Deleted Items. You have to delete the items in Deleted Items separately. Right-click on items within the Deleted Items folder to delete individual items.
Toolbars Toolbars such as Google, AOL and Yahoo keep a record of the search words you have typed into the toolbar search box. In order to erase all the search words you have typed in, you will need to check the individual instructions for each type of toolbar. For example, for the Google toolbar all you need to do is click on the Google icon, and choose “Clear Search History”.
General security If you do not use a password to log on to your computer, someone else will be able to access your email and track your internet usage. The safest way to find information on the internet, would be at a local library, a friend’s house, or at work.
All of the above information may not completely hide your tracks. Many browser types have features that display recently visited sites.