How to Delete Windows Search History Using Registry Editor

by Ty Arthur

The Microsoft Windows series of operating systems keep a history of all the phrases you search for when using either the standard file searching system or when conducting an Internet search with a search engine such as Google. If you are concerned about keeping your search history private, you can periodically clear out the saved entries by deleting files in the operating system's registry editing program.

Step 1

Click on the "Start" menu at the bottom left of your computer.

Step 2

The Search Box

Click on the "Search" option. Type in the word "regedit." Press the "Enter" key on your keyboard and wait for the search results to display in the menu.

Step 3

The Regedit Icon

Double-click on the icon of a blue box next to the word "regedit." Wait for a new window to pop up asking if you are sure you want to open the program, then click on the "Continue" button.

Step 4

The Find Box

Press the "Ctrl" and "F" keys on your keyboard at the same time to bring up the Find window. Type in the phrase "HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft" and press the "Enter" key. Click on the plus sign next to the folder once it appears in the search results.

Step 5

Click on the "Internet Explorer" folder. Click on the folder labeled "Explorer Bars." Find the list of registry entries in the panel on the right side. Right-click on the first entry listed below the word Default. Click on "Delete" from the pop-up menu that will appear to the right. Repeat the process and delete every entry below the Default option to clear out your Windows search history.

Step 6

The AutoComplete Settings

Close the registry editor program. Open the Internet Explorer web browser if you want to set your search feature to no longer automatically attempt to complete your searches as you type them. Click on the "Tools" button at the top-right corner of the screen, then choose "Internet Options."

Click on the "Content" tab at the top of the new window that will pop up. Find the section labeled "Auto Complete." Click on "Settings." Click on the check box marked "Web Addresses." Click on "OK."


  • The Windows operating system can become unstable and may no longer load properly if you accidentally delete the wrong registry entries. Be sure to make backup copies of your most important programs and files to an external source before making any sort of changes to the registry files.

Photo Credits

  • GeorgiaSouthern

About the Author

Ty Arthur has been writing technical and entertainment-related articles for a variety of online sources since 2008. His articles have appeared on and many other websites. Arthur attended the Great Falls College of Technology and studied both computer science and creative writing.

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