Internet Explorer History Won't Delete

by Robert Schrader
internet image by arabesque from

Unless it's told otherwise, Microsoft Internet Explorer will retain the history of websites you've visited indefinitely. Generally speaking, deleting your browsing history should be simple and straightforward. If your history will not delete, it can be for a number of reasons, including the "cookies" some websites leave on your computer when you visit them. Additionally, you may find that websites you've visited "auto-complete" into the address bar even if you've deleted your record of having visited them. If you cannot remedy these issues within Internet Explorer, you may need to download a small program to resolve your problem.

Use Internet Explorer

Step 1

Make sure you have attempted to delete your browsing history correctly in the first place. Launch a browser window. Hold down the "Ctrl," "Shift" and "Del" keys at the same time. Hold down the "Ctrl" and "H" keys at the same time to view your history.

Step 2

Delete your temporary Internet files and cookies, which are tokens some websites deposit into your computer when you visit them--for example, to remember your password for the next time you visit. Click the "Tools" menu and scroll down to "Internet Options." Click on it.

Step 3

Click the "Delete..." button under browsing history to delete all of your browsing history, cookies and temporary Internet files. Tick the box next to "Delete browsing history on exit" if you'd like to delete your browsing history each time you exit Internet Explorer.

Step 4

Click the "Settings" button next to "Delete...." Type "0" into the field beside the text "Days to keep pages in history" at the bottom of the dialog box under the "History" section. Click "OK."

Step 5

Navigate to the "Content" tab. Click "Settings" under the AutoComplete section. Untick the boxes next to any instance you wouldn't like AutoComplete to store your history. Click "Delete AutoComplete history." Click "OK."

Click "OK." Hold down the "Ctrl" and "H" keys at the same time to make sure your history is now clear. Type in any text to the address bar to make sure AutoComplete has, in fact, been disabled. Continue on to Section 2 if your history still contains records.

Use PurgeIE

Step 1

Navigate to the website listed in the Resources section. Download and install the program.

Step 2

Run the program. Click "Detail" under the "Reports" heading, then click "Save Options." This will ensure you're able to see a complete list of items to be deleted.

Step 3

Click "Preview" to display a list of items to be deleted. This list should correspond with all items in your history that have previously failed to delete.

Step 4

Click "Purge." This action will delete all items listed in the "Preview" report, including cookies, passwords and temporary Internet files.

Launch an Internet Explorer window. Hold down the "Ctrl" and "H" keys at the same time to review your history and ensure the process has been successful.


  • Make sure you have all your passwords stored elsewhere if you do choose to delete your temporary Internet files or cookies, because completing this step will delete all of them along with the history stored alongside them.

Photo Credits

About the Author

Robert Schrader is a writer, photographer, world traveler and creator of the award-winning blog Leave Your Daily Hell. When he's not out globetrotting, you can find him in beautiful Austin, TX, where he lives with his partner.

More Articles