Vista: How to Keep Users from Clearing IE’s History of Their Browsing

Posted December 18, 2008 by Rob Rogers in Microsoft Vista

Internet Explorer keeps a history of cookies, sites that have been visited, and form data. This history can be quite useful in tracking the browsing practices of an employee or your child (or even spouse). Many people are aware of the fact that they can delete this history from the browser, but you can take away this ability in situations that call for such action.

1. Click the Windows Orb and input gpedit.msc into the Start Search text box. Select gpedit.msc when it appears in the listing. Click Continue when the UAC prompt appears.

2. When the Group Policy Object Editor appears, go to the left pane and expand either Computer Configuration or User Configuration (depending on whether you wish to apply this to any user on the computer or just a specific user).

3. Expand Administrative Templates.

4. Expand Windows Components.

5. Expand Internet Explorer.

6. Select Delete Browsing History.

7. In the right pane, you will see the following listed:

Prevent Deleting Cookies
Prevent Deleting Web sites that the User has Visited
Prevent Deleting Temporary Internet Files
Prevent Deleting Favorites Site Data
Turn off "Delete Browsing History" funtionality
Prevent Deleting Form Data
Prevent Deleting of Passwords
Disable "Configuring History"
Prevent the deletion of temporary Internet files and cookies

8. Double click the desired setting. When the Properties window appears, select the Enabled radio button.

9. Click OK.

10. Repeat steps 8 and 9 until you have enabled all of the desired settings.

11. Close the Group Policy Object Editor.


About Rob Rogers

Once a prolific author here on Tech-Recipes, Rob has moved on to greener pastures.
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The Conversation

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  • okay

    ccleaner to the rescue ! — will delete these files anyway !

  • Innocent Bystander

    Yup, but I suppose if you’re an “average salaryman” working at a company that needs to lock down this much, they’re not going to go give you install permissions to your machine, anyhow, so ccleaner is out. They probably won’t give you browsing permissions either, so who cares what their browsing history is/was.

    So, no-one’s going to read this and implement it, save for the mothers of 14 year olds, afraid that their snowflake is going to see the old roast beef sammich down below.

  • Crusin

    If you have Home basic / premium gpedit.msc is Not available.

  • Rohan

    Never knew there is this type of prevention in vista.
    but ccleaner will do the job anyhow.
    guess it was not gonna use for a company employer!

  • DP

    Well, in fairness, any employer that is going to implement this type of policy is going to do so through Group Policy, rather than Local Policy. And while using Group Policy, they’d also lock out the use of unwanted executables — like ccleaner.exe.

  • karri

    im trying to do this and it says gpedit.msc not found … can any pne hlep

  • Diana

    I would like to figure out how to do this with Vista Home Premium…. any help??

  • Marianne

    when I type gpedit.msc, the search says no results.

    • Boobamboo

      did you ever find out how to block the delete history for windows vista

  • Stacy

    i have windows vista and gpedit.msc doesnt come up.. What do i do?

  • Brittany

    I did this and then went to try to delete history and a text box came up and I could click what I wanted to go ahead and delete with no passwork or anything….So it doesnt really work.