When you visit a website, it keeps a history of every site and page you visit. This can be helpful if you have children and want to monitor their surfing habits. It can also be helpful if you want to find a site you previously visited and forgot what it was. In any event, this can easily be accomplished.
Most browsers have the option to view the website history on a computer, but I will focus on Internet Explorer since this is a Microsoft article!
When you open Internet Explorer, you should have Internet Explorer 11 installed if you are using Windows 7, 8 or 8.1. To confirm your version, click “Help” and then “About Internet Explorer.” If you don’t, go to Windows Update and get the latest version of IE.
With Internet Explorer open, if you look carefully at the top-right, just under the “X” that closes the program, you’ll see three symbols: A home, a star and a sprocket. Click the star icon and a box will slide out from the right showing three tabs at the top: “Favorites,” “Feeds” and “History.” Click the History tab. Click a date, such as “Today” and below, you will see the history of the websites that have been visited for that date. You may see anywhere from 0 to 999 days displayed.
If you are looking for specific websites in the history, such as those that may have objectionable content, look at the title of the website and then click it to see exactly what pages were visited within that site. Some websites may be named a number instead of using letters, but when you click on it, it usually will expand and show a better description of the website pages visited.
Let me show you an example so you can view the history. Before going into this history area, open your Internet Explorer and go to www.TooeleOnline.com. Next, hover your cursor over “News” and then hover over “Columns,” and then click “Tech Guru.” Once the page opens, you’ll see a grid of many of my articles on the Tooele Transcript Bulletin’s website.
Next, close and reopen Internet Explorer and go into the history by clicking the star icon at the top-right. Click the “History” tab and then scroll down until you see “tooeleonline (tooeleonline.com)” in the list. Click it and it will expand to all the pages visited. You’ll see the main page listed and then the “Tech Guru” page. If you click the “Tech Guru” link, you’ll be taken directly to the page. It’s that easy.
I don’t recommend you keep 999 days of history on your computer unless you know why you need to. You can change the number of days stored by going to the top of Internet Explorer and clicking “Tools” and then click “Internet Options.” Make sure to click the “General” tab and then you’ll click the “Settings” button in the Browsing history section towards the bottom of the box.
Once the Website Data Settings box opens, click the “History” tab at the top. Here is where you can decide how many days you want stored in your history. Keep in mind, the more days you store, the more it may slow down your Internet Explorer performance. If you are monitoring it for a specific reason, select enough days so you have time to check it out before they are deleted.
One note you should know. If you go into the history, and there isn’t any website data listed, then the user(s) may be deleting the browsing history after their surfing session.
If you have a lot of history in storage, delete the browsing history by clicking “Tools” and then click “Delete browsing history.” Checkmark all the boxes except for “Preserve Favorites website data” (also, you should remove the checkmark from “Passwords” if you can’t remember all your website passwords) and then click “Delete.” A gold bar indicating the history is deleted will appear at the bottom. This will improve your performance when browsing the Internet and won’t hurt your computer.
For 14 years, Scott Lindsay has helped tens of thousands of people better their skills, publishing more than 300 articles about Microsoft software, the computer and the Internet. You can reach Scott for comments or questions at ScottLindsay@Live.com.