Internet Explorer remembers visited web pages, searches, cookies (small files that websites store to keep your preferences or track your behavior), user names on forms (for some careless people passwords, too!) and it saves displayed images in a special Temporary Internet Files folder to make loading them faster the next time you visit the page (this is also called caching or cache).
This all might be convenient on your own computer at all times, but what if you are on your friend's computer or a public computer and you need to check your webmail account or read company mail? Are you sure that your user name and password will not be remembered? What if you want to visit some web sites or execute some searches that you do not want to be seen in browsing history later?
Here come InPrivate Browsing and deleting Browsing History.
InPrivate Browsing allows visiting web sites with ease of mind - no trace will be retained about visited sites, entered user names or passwords and executed searches. Some humorous people call this the "Porn Mode". Yeah, funny, but you actually need InPrivate Browsing when you are at an Internet Café or someone else's computer. Of course, they need to have Internet Explorer 8 installed, too.
To start InPrivate Browsing, press Ctrl+Shift+P on your keyboard or open Safety menu and click InPrivate Browsing.
This will open a new window. Note the dark blue InPrivate text in Address Bar and "[InPrivate]" added to Title Bar.
Keep in mind that InPrivate Browsing disables all third-party extensions and toolbars, such as WOT Safe Surfing Tool or Google Toolbar. This happens because Internet Explorer cannot delete information saved by third-party extensions and toolbars after you close your InPrivate Browsing window, therefore some information about where you have been might still be visible in browsing history.
You can now surf the Internet without having to worry about possible leaks of sensitive information.
To stop InPrivate Browsing, close the Internet Explorer window.
Sometimes it is best to clear all browsing history, user names and passwords, search history and items in Temporary Internet Folder. This has long been possible in Internet Explorer, but until Internet Explorer 7 this option was not too easy to find.
Internet Explorer 8 enhances Browsing History deletion by letting you keep data related to the web sites in your Favorites Center or Favorites Bar while deleting everything related to other sites.
To empty browsing history, press Ctrl+Shit+Del on your keyboard or open Safety menu and click Delete Browsing History....
By default, Internet Explorer 8 keeps information related to your Favorites and deletes all other Temporary Internet Files, Cookies and History. If this is fine with you, click Delete.
In case you want to delete absolutely everything, deselect Preserve Favorites website data and select Form data and Passwords. Then click Delete button.
But what about InPrivate Filtering data? This is applicable only if you use InPrivate Filtering - and most people do not, ever.
InPrivate Filtering is always off when starting Internet Explorer 8 and users must turn it on manually every time they use Internet Explorer. The purpose of InPrivate Filtering is to determine and block third-party websites that track user behavior and browsing activity at high levels. This might include analytics that web sites use to gather statistics, but this might also catch very spy-like web sites that try to target malicious advertisements based on information gathered about you.
Because InPrivate Filtering needs to gather information before blocking high levels of tracking and it must be turned on manually, I do not recommend using it really. It might create more problems than it solves.
Internet Explorer 9 and 10 users in Windows Vista, 7 and 8 actually have enhanced and usable version of InPrivate Filtering - called Tracking Protection.
And last, but not least: do not forget to check the Securing Internet Explorer article for more privacy and security tips!