Skip Navigation
Body fade

Cover your tracks

When you are on the internet your web browser will save pieces of information from the websites that you visit, any text that you entered into search engines and also keep a trail/history of sites that you have visited.

If you are worried about someone knowing you have visited this or any other website please read the following advice on how to cover your tracks.

Please note that this information is for guidance only and may not completely cover your tracks. If you want to be completely sure of not being tracked online, the safest way would be to access the internet using a machine or device that your abusive partner does not have access to such as at a local library, a friend's house or at work.

Also be aware that if your partner has access to the same machine as you and uses it for day-to-day activities like online banking, where a password may be saved, following the below advice may cause your partner to realise what you have done as the password will be deleted. Likewise, if you delete the web history your partner may again notice this and raise suspicion.

Social Media

Facebook provides a great resource called 'Empowering women to be safe online'.  It can be found in the 'Safety' section of the Facebook website.

Find out what browser you are using

First of all you will need to know what web browser you are using. If you know this, then skip to the relevant instructions below. If you do not know what browser you are using, click on 'Help' on the toolbar at the top of the browser screen.

A drop down menu will appear, the last entry will say 'About Internet Explorer', 'About Mozilla Firefox', or something similar. You can now skip to the relevant advice section below.

Internet Explorer

Internet Explorer 6

(Find your version by selecting Help in the Internet explorer and clicking About Internet Explorer)
Click on the Tools menu and select 'Internet Options...'. On the General page, under Temporary Internet Files, click on 'Delete Cookies' and then 'OK'. Click on 'Delete Files', put a tick in the box labelled 'Delete all offline content' and click 'OK'. Under History, click on 'Clear History' and then 'OK'. Now look at the top of the window and click on the Content tab, select AutoComplete and finally, Clear Forms.

Internet Explorer 7 and 8

Click on the 'Tools' menu and select 'Internet Options'. In the 'General' tab under 'Browser History', select the 'Delete...' button.

Either select and delete each section: Temporary internet files; Cookies, History, Forms data and Passwords or select the 'Delete all...' button at the bottom to clear everything.

(This process varies for different versions of Internet Explorer so the above may not be the exact instructions for the version you are using)

Mozilla Firefox

Click on 'Tools' and then 'Options', then click on 'Privacy'. Click on the 'clear your recent history' link and then make sure the 'Browsing & Download History', 'Form & Search History', 'Cookies', 'Cache' and 'Offline Web Site Data' boxes are ticked before selecting the 'ClearNow' button.

(This process varies for different versions of Mozilla Firefox so the above may not be the exact instructions for the version you are using)

Opera

Click on 'Tools' and then 'Preferences'. Click on the 'Advanced' tab and then the 'History' section on the left-hand side. Click the 'Clear' button to the right of Addresses and the 'Empty Now' button to the right of Disk cache. Opera does not have an easy was to clear all Cookies.

(This process varies for different versions of Opera so the above may not be the exact instructions for the version you are using)

Safari (often used on Apple Macs)

Resetting Safari clears the history, empties the cache, clears the Downloads window, and removes all cookies. It also removes any saved user names and passwords or other AutoFill data and clears Google/Yahoo search entries.

To do this go to the Safari menu at top left hand screen. Choose 'Reset Safari', and click 'Reset'.

Deleting your browsing history

Internet browsers also keep a record of all the web pages you visit. This is known as a 'history'. To delete history for Internet Explorer and Netscape/Firefox hold down the Ctrl key on the keyboard, then press the H key (Ctrl, Alt and H for Opera). Find any entries that you want to delete, right click and choose Delete.

For Safari, select History at top of the screen and choose 'Clear History'.

Toolbars

Toolbars such as Google, AOL and Yahoo keep a record of the search words you have typed into the toolbar search box. In order to erase all the search words you have typed in, you will need to check the individual instructions for each type of toolbar.

Internet browser built-in tools

Some new internet browsers have built-in tools that allow you to view internet pages without registering these pages in your history or cache file, this keeps other people who might be using the computer from seeing what sites you have visited on the internet.

Access the built-in tools by following these instructions:

Internet Explorer 8

Click the Tools menu
Select InPrivate Browsing. (This will open a new browser window, viewing web pages in this window will not be logged or stored in your computer's history)
To end your InPrivate Browsing session, close the browser window

Mozilla Firefox

Click the Tools menu
Select Start Private Browsing.
Click on the Start Private Browsing button and Firefox will restart itself (while using the Private Browsing window the web pages you visit will not be stored in your computers history)
To exit Private Browsing mode, click on Tools and then click on Stop Private Browsing.

Google Chrome

Click the Tools menu
Select New incognito window (viewing web pages in this window will not be logged or stored in your computers history)
To end your incognito session, close the browser window

All of the above information may not completely hide your tracks. Many browser types have features that display recently visited sites. The safest way to find information on the internet, would be at a local library, a friend's house, or at work.

Was this page helpful?

This website uses cookies. By using this website, you are accepting our cookies policy and consenting to cookies being used.

Share with:

Close