How to find your web history and how to delete it

Can’t find a webpage you were only looking at last week? It’s easy using your browser’s History feature - you just need to know where to look.

Finding a particular web page long after you last visited it can be a tricky business unless you bookmarked it or can track it down with a search engine.

Fortunately, all web browsers keep a record of every page you visit in their ‘web history’ - all you need to know is how to access it. We'll show you where to look on Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, Firefox and Microsoft Edge. Sometimes it's not so fortunate, so we'll show you how to delete it, too.

[Read more: How to check your child’s online web browser history]

View and delete in Internet Explorer

Step 1: Open the History menu

Internet Explorer

In Internet Explorer 11, click the star icon at the top-right of the window.

Step 2: Search and sort Internet Explorer History

Browsing history IE 2

When the dialog box opens, click the History tab to view the web pages you’ve visited previously, ordered by date. There’s also a drop-down list so you can view the pages by Site, Name, Most Visited and Order Visited Today, plus a Search History option for when it’s quicker to find a page by name.

Step 3: Open a page

Browsing hist IE 2

Clicking a day or a site in the list expands it and then you can click an individual page to open it in the current tab.

Step 4: Delete your History

Delete browsing history IE 11

To clear the browser history in Internet Explorer, click the cog icon at the top-right of the Internet Explorer window and select Internet Options.

When the Internet Options dialog box opens, click the Delete button under Browsing history on the General tab.

Alternatively, from the cog, click on Safety, then Delete Browsing History, or press Ctrl+Shift+Delete on your keyboard.

Then click the Delete button on the dialog box that opens. If you want IE to retain your passwords make sure this option is unticked.

Remember, Internet Explorer is being phased out in favour of Microsoft's new web browser Edge. Find out what it means for your PC.

View and delete browsing history in Google Chrome

Step 1: Open the History menu

Browser history Chrome 1

To view the web history in Google Chrome, click to open the menu at the top-right of its window and select History, then click History a second time. Or press Ctrl+H on your keyboard.

Step 2: Searching History

Searching Google Chrome

This shows the web history as a list of pages, organised by time and date, in the current tab. You can search the web history using the Search history box at the top of the page. If you click the menu dots to the right of any entry in the list, there’s an option to show all pages in the web history for that site.

Step 3: Clear your Google Chrome History

Clear browsing history Chrome 3

To clear the browsing history, click the Clear browsing data button to the left.

When the dialog box opens, choose how far back to clear using the drop-down list and click the Clear browsing data button. Select Browsing History to clear your visited websites and untick Passwords and Cookies to sign in quickly next time.

[Read more: How to speed up Google Chrome]

View and delete browsing history in Mozilla Firefox

Step 1: Open the History menu

Browsing history Firefox 1

In Mozilla Firefox, you view the web history by clicking the Menu button at the top-right of its window and selecting History.

Step 2: Search your History

Browsing history Firfox 2

This shows the most recently opened web pages as a list, but you can also click the Show All History option at the bottom of the list to see the full history in a new window, complete with a search option.

Mozilla firefox show history

Step 3: Clear your History

Clear history

To clear the web history, select History from the menu again and click Clear Recent History. When the dialog box opens, use the drop-down list to choose how far back to clear and click the Clear Now button. Click Details to avoid deleting passwords - look for Active Logins.

View and delete web history in Microsoft Edge

To find out how to view and delete your web history from Microsoft Edge, read our separate guide.

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