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How to Clean and Erase Your Internet or Chat History

How can you keep your computer activities private and clean out all the temporary stuff that stays behind on your computer after regular use?

There’s usually three main reasons people want to do this:

  • Keep their computer from getting slow and bogged down with too many temporary or cache files
  • To make sure their computer activity remains their business, not the business of the websites they visit etc...,
  • Or occasionally they just want to wipe the history of their internet activities, downloads and chats to preserve their personal privacy within the home or office.

As you’re likely aware, the websites you visit, files you download, and chat programs you use leave traces of their history all over your Windows computer. In many cases all these left over cache and temporary files weigh your computer down, making the internet speed excruciatingly slow and causing Windows to take forever to boot, browse, and shut down.

The following is a run-down on the most common places traces of your internet activity or chats etc, hide on your hard drive. You can clean or erase these one at a time manually (a really arduous task), or use an automatic solution to get rid of it all.

We recommend cleaning them out quickly and easily with our favorite windows history cleaner Winclear

Erasing Internet Browser History

If you’re like most people you likely use Internet Explorer 6 or 7. It stores activity records in the following areas:

  • Temporary Internet Files folder: "C:\Documents and Settings\Username\Local Settings\Temp\Temporary Internet Files"
  • History Folder: "C:\Documents and Settings\username\Local Settings\Temp\HISTORY"
  • Cookies: "C:\Documents and Settings\username\Local Settings\Temp\Cookies"
  • Index.dat File: "C\Documents and Settings\Username\Local Settings\History\History.IE5\index.dat"
  • Autocomplete Form Data: Open Internet Explorer, go to Tools > Internet Options > Auto Complete Button and click "Clear Autocomplete" button
  • Downloaded Program Files: "C:\WINDOWS\Downloaded Program Files"

**Important note: Internet Explorer stores a number of other settings like Typed URL History, cookie management settings, and Downloaded Folder Memory in the Windows Registry.

To fully clean these registry keys and all other Internet Explorer traces we recommend strongly recommend WinClea

**Firefox or Opera User? Clean these new browsers with Paretologic Privacy Controls

Instant Messaging and Chat/Voice Programs

All instant messenger clients like MSN, Yahoo, Skype, AIM, and Trillian store a record of complete your chat sessions, and in some cases, voice calls on your computer.

To keep your chat and voice call history private you should regularly clean the history traces from these applications.

MSN Messenger (now called Windows Live Messenger) stores its history traces here:

  • Chat Logs: C:\Documents and Settings\’UserName’\My Documents\My Received Files\ (conversation transcripts are saved here in the form of individual XML files for each contact you’ve chatted with)
  • Program Files: C:\Program Files\MSN Messenger\
  • Received Files: C:\Documents and Settings\’username’\My Documents\My Received Files

AOL Instant Messenger is also popular, here’s it’s history locations:

  • Chat Logs: Stored in the Windows Registry: %Aim5DataPath%
  • Downloaded/Received Files: C:\Documents and Settings\’username’\My Documents\download\%Aim5ScreenName% ALSO: C:\Documents and Settings\’username’\My Documents\filelib
  • Recent Screen Names: Windows Registry Key: HKCU\Software\America Online\AOL Instant Messenger (TM)\CurrentVersion\Login
  • Saved Passwords: Windows Registry Key: HKCU\Software\AmericaOnline\AOL Instant Messenger(TM)\CurrentVersion\Users\UNKNOWN\Login\Password1

**Note: The only program we’ve found that actually removes the history from ALL of the top instant messenger programs is Paretologic Privacy Controls

Paretologic Privacy Controls Removes all activity traces from the following popular instant messenger programs:

  • Skype
  • MSN/Windows Live Messenger
  • Yahoo
  • ICQ
  • AOL/AIM
  • Trillian
  • GAIM
  • Google Talk

Free Instant Messenger Privacy Scan Here PCTuneUpTips Recommended!

P2P (Peer-to-Peer) Downloading Programs

Popular P2P downloading programs store remnants of your file download history in numerous places that are not so easy to find.

The BitTorrent file sharing system is currently the most-used content downloading platform. Here’s where a couple of the most popular BitTorrent client applications store their traces:

Bit Torrent Client 4.x

  • Downloads folder: C:\Documents and Settings\’username’\My Documents\BitTorrent Downloads
  • Incomplete folder: C:\Documents and Settings\’username’\Application Data\BitTorrent\incomplete
  • Torrents Tracker Files: C:\Documents and Settings\’username’\Application Data\BitTorrent\data\resume
  • Logs: C:\Documents and Settings\’username’\Application Data\BitTorrent\bittorrent.log

Azureus 2.x:

  • Torrent Tracker Files: C:\Documents and Settings\’username’\Application Data\Azureus\torrents
  • Download History: C:\Documents and Settings\’username’\Application Data\Azureus\dht
  • Shared file/folder (Seeding): C:\Documents and Settings\’username’\Application Data\Azureus\shares
  • Download Logs: C:\Documents and Settings\’username’\Application Data\Azureus\logs

Important Note: These are just two of the many BitTorrent download clients available, clean nearly every BitTorrent automatically with our recommended BitTorrent client cleaner: Paretologic Privacy Controls

Kazaa is another popular peer-to-peer downloading program. We don’t usually recommend Kazaa as its files are often laced with spyware and viruses, but if you do happen to use it and want to remove its history here’s where it stores its trace files:

**Important Note: Kazaa stores all of its history traces and settings in Windows registry keys, so you’ll need to be very careful if you choose to edit these. Clean Kazaa registry settings and history automatically with Paretologic Privacy Controls Free History Trace Scan

Kazaa 3.x:

  • Information about user details: HKCU\Software\Kazaa\UserDetails
  • Recent file list: HKCU\Software\Kazaa\Kazaa\Recent File List
  • Personal file organizer: HKCU\Software\Kazaa\Kazaa\BrowserSettings
  • Search information: HKCU\Software\Kazaa\LocalContent
  • Search agents: HKCU\Software\Kazaa\Search
  • Filters: HKCU\Software\Kazaa\ResultsFilter

For a limited time clean and wipe history and temp files from your computer instantly and automatically with Paretologic Privacy Controls