How-To Geek

Beginner: How to Clear Your Web History in Chrome, Firefox and IE9


We all have had a time when we have done some private browsing, maybe for someone’s birthday present, on the internet without going into “private” mode. Here’s the beginner’s guide to clearing your web history in any of the major browsers.

Note: this article is meant for beginners, as the title clearly states. Be nice in the comments.


As with most browsers, clearing the history in Chrome takes just a few clicks. To get started click on the wrench icon, select tools and then choose the Clear browsing data option–alternatively you could hit the Ctrl+Shift+Del keyboard combination.


This will bring up a new dialog box, uncheck all the options besides Clear browsing history and Clear download history, you will also need to change the the option to obliterate the data from the beginning of time. You box should look like this, before you click on the clear browsing data button.



Firefox also makes it pretty easy to clear you web history, simply click on the Firefox button, expand the History section and select the Clear recent history option, alternatively you could go for the Ctrl+Shift+Del keyboard combination.


Change the time range to Everything and then expand Details.


Uncheck everything except the Browsing & Download History and then hit the Clear Now button.


Internet Explorer 9

For u few people that have a reason to use Internet Explorer we got you covered as well, click on the settings button, navigate to safety and choose the Delete browsing history option again you have the option of pressing the Ctrl+Shift+Del keyboard combination.


Uncheck all the options except for History and then hit the delete button.


Of course there are a lot of other things you can clear for your browsers and all the check boxes clear different things, so go ahead and explore at least next time you need to delete your history in a hurry, you will know where to go.

Taylor Gibb is a Microsoft MVP and all round geek, he loves everything from Windows 8 to Windows Server 2012 and even C# and PowerShell. You can also follow him on Google+

  • Published 02/21/12

Comments (15)

  1. Karina Lopez

    What is this “For u few people that have a reason to use Internet Explorer “?
    You, sorry U could equally have said “For those people who care so little about their privacy they use Chrome” but you didn’t and you won’t because you can’t get a cheap laugh that way.

    Is that personal comment required as part of the article showing beginners how to clear history. This is an example of how a quality site can rapidly degenerate and lose readers by allowing the personal prejudices of its writers to become more important than the content of the article.

    If someone can feel it’s ok to make such a comment then it’s highly unlikely this comment will get published but the fact you removed it means the person it was aimed at has read it.

  2. Taylor Gibb

    For the record i use IE as my browser of choice, it was a joke.

  3. trezguet

    I wish Chrome had the same option as IE and Firefox to delete data on exiting the browser. It’s a pain to manually delete the data everytime I’m done for the day.

  4. Prashant

    “maybe for someone’s birthday present” suuuuuuuure! birthday present!

  5. Mushaf

    Ctrl+Shift+Del is all it takes.

  6. Brendan

    My easy button for all 3 is running CCleaner
    every few days, or however often you may need depending on usage. You can knock out all 3 at once, and then some! ;o) I think it’s pretty “beginner friendly”.

  7. GKI610

    Taylor, lousy joke.

  8. Algonquin Park, Canada

    Karina Lopez and GKI610, I agree with you both, this is aimed at beginners mostly.

    But I, like I assume alot of you are, am not a beginner, saw the title and wondered if I could learn anything………. Hmm, I did.

    My first comp was a Sinclaire Z80, then Commodor 64 and M$ since starting with DOS 3, I look after 63 various pcs/lappys and 72 PLCs of various design and have never come across “Ctrl+Shift+Del”!!!!

    Always want to learn new things, well I learnt 1 thing today for sure!

    Cheers to you all

  9. Dewald van Deventer

    Hi folks. I’m new on this site. I’ve signed up for the daily emails, and i’ve learnt quite a bit.
    I’m using IE7 i think?
    But that’s because i’m blind, and newer IE’s won’t work propperly with my screen reader.
    Planning to try out Firefox though?
    Great site!

  10. sgrce

    In Chrome, Under the Hood, Content settings, Delete browsing history when I close my browser.

  11. Max

    The easiest way to erase the History and all other unnecessary stuff is to run CCLEANER – freeware.

    Works for ALL browsers

    I cleanup at least once a week. But it’s quick – one can do it more frequently.

  12. Keith Badeau

    For beginners? I’m not a beginner but I did learn something new from the article: Ctrl-Shift-Del. Beautiful, I love learning new keyboard shortcuts. Thanks.

  13. Trezguet

    @sgrce “Clear cookies and other site and plug-in data when I quit my browser” That’s probably 15% of what FIrefox and IE are capable of deleting when I quit their browser. Chrome clears only cookies and plug-in data on exit, not browsing history, download history, cache, saved passwords, and autofill on exit.

    For instance, in Chrome, I can still restore a previous tab, when that’s not supposed to happen if I cleared all data beforehand. I can’t do the same thing in Firefox or IE, cause when I try restoring a previous tab from last session, it fails. That’s what clearing all browsing data is supposed to do, not the lazy way that Chrome does it.

  14. Terry Hollett

    I know how to clear my browser but how about throwing us Opera users a bone every now and then.

  15. Gadgetteeeee!

    As a PC user for many years, IE was great until FF and Chrome came out.
    And also as a web developer, making things work for IE is just a pain in the A$$. Many people still use IE as I know and still in the IE6, IE7 era making things a havoc for developers. IE6 was great BACK THEN in the old ages. And many of the IE6,IE7 users are companies that can’t upgrade for numerous reasons, but doesn’t want to pay for the IE6,IE7 compatibility for their new website. Because of those, I hate IE.

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