Clear my Tracks: yes please!!!!


Internet Explorer Team Blog

Clear my Tracks: yes please!!!!

First let me introduce myself. My name is Uche Enuha and I am a recent college graduate hire to the Internet Explorer team. I am a Program Manager working on the User Experience team.
Now to the main point. There is a new feature in IE7 called ‘Delete Browsing History’ that gives users an easy way to control the data stored by the browser.I am going to answer the three main questions that I think are going through your heads right now, I’ll let you meditate on the information and allow the excitement to naturally evolve.

Why would I use this feature?
I am glad you asked this question. Let’s look at an example of how this feature can be used. So you’re trying to buy a gift for your loved one and you know how important it is to keep this mission secret. You’re aware of every site you visit but your machine is aware of even more; the stuff you type, the information you read, even the cookies requested by the site where you eventually buy the gift. You realize how important it is that your loved one never gets hold of any of this information. So you do what we all would, you try and cover your tracks. Now back in IE6, you would have to spend a lot of time looking through various places on your computer to get rid of all the relevant information and possibly still miss some critical information. Now with the ‘Delete Browsing History’ feature, we are giving every person the ability to clear all their browsing information from one location with a click of a button and, the peace of mind that the job was done right.

What does this feature really do?
It deletes the following items which are split into five categories, listed below:

  • Temporary Internet Files: Downloaded files cached on the client for quick access
    • Temporary Internet Files cached for quick access
    • Cached files containing Offline favorites
    • Information stored by other applications in the Temporary Internet Files folder (e.g. attachment files stored by Outlook)
  • Cookies: Information persisted by the client on behalf of the server
    • Cookies
    • XML Userdata cache
  • History: website addresses (URLs) stored to enable History/most recently used website addresses
    • Typed website addresses used for Addressbar Autocomplete
    • The list of most recently used website addresses in the Run… dialog
    • URL History entries (excluding ones marked as Offline Favorites)
    • Stored value for Encoding (Code Page)
  • Form Data: User-entered personal data stored by the client
    • AutoComplete form data
  • Passwords: User-entered personal data stored by the client
    • AutoComplete password data

(Please note, if you’re part of a domain in a corporate environment, an administrator has the ability to disable certain aspects of this feature.)

The User Interface for this feature provides information about what exactly these types of information are and gives the user the ability to individually delete each type of information or delete all information at once. Here’s what the main dialog looks like:

Delete Browsing History dialog

As an added bonus, if cleaning up is taking a while, a cancellable progress dialog is shown. You can ignore the dialog and go back to the browser (or even close it) – the process will continue in the background until it’s done. No more sitting around waiting for your 200MB cache to be emptied!

Where can we find this great feature?
Just go to the Tools menu and you’ll see ‘Delete Browsing History…’. Or whilst you’re in the internet options dialog, you can find this feature under the General tab in the Browsing history section cleverly disguised as the ‘Delete…’ button.

So there you have it. ‘Delete Browsing History…’ will be coming to a computer near you very shortly. Use it and enjoy it. Think of it as your friend that has your back and covers your tracks.


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