Browsing History on Internet Explorer

By Elizabeth Falwell

Updated September 28, 2017

Internet Explorer, or IE, is Microsoft's Web browser. The program automatically records your online browsing history, making it easy for you to return to websites you've previously visited. IE's standard settings, which store your browsing history, can also make it easy for others to see what you've been doing online; this is why many users choose to modify these settings.

Different Versions of Internet Explorer

Microsoft regularly releases upgrades of its IE browsing software. If you currently use IE, you may have received an automatic prompt from Microsoft directly on your computer asking you to update to the newest version. Microsoft released its newest version of the browser, Internet Explorer 9, on March 14, 2011. Despite the addition of this latest version, IE 9 and all prior editions of the program function in essentially the same way.

Viewing Your Browsing History

Accessing your browsing history is as simple as one click of your mouse. Locate the address bar at the top of your IE browsing page (the address bar is the text box into which you type the URL of the Web page you want to visit). To the right of the address bar is a small, black arrow that is pointing down. Click on this arrow. A drop-down box shows you all the different websites you've typed into the address bar during a set amount of time, which is determined by your browser settings.

Alternative Method For Accessing Your Browsing History

Press the "Control," "Alt" and "H" buttons simultaneously to access your browsing history. This produces a box on the left side of your screen. IE categorizes browsing history based on the day of the week, allowing you to view your history for a particular day. Click on a day to access a list of every single website you visited that day; this list includes not only websites you typed into IE's address bar, but those you visited by clicking on a link as well.

Reopening Old Pages and Sessions

IE allows you to reopen previously closed pages and browsing sessions by storing this information in your browsing history. To reopen a session you previously closed, click on the "Tools" option at the top of your browser and select "Reopen Last Browsing Session." This reopens the most recent browsing session; IE is unable to reopen older sessions. To access tabs out of which you accidentally closed, click the "New Tab" button (the button to the immediate right of your rightmost browsing tab), then select the closed tab you wish to reopen.

Editing Your Browsing History

You can change the settings on IE by clicking on the "Tools" option at the top of the screen and selecting "Internet Options" from the drop-down tab. From there, click on the "Settings" button under "Browsing History." At the bottom of the box that pops up, you can adjust the number of days worth of browsing history IE automatically stores, anywhere from zero to 999 days. Click "Save" to save your changes to the settings.

Deleting Your Browsing History

You can delete your browsing history in one of two ways. The simplest way is by clicking on the "Tools" tab at the top of your browser and selecting the "Delete Browsing History" option. You can also delete browsing history by choosing "Internet Options" from the drop-down menu and clicking on the "Delete" button inside the pop-up box. Remember that even if you delete your old browsing history, IE starts saving your new browsing history unless you change your settings.