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Clear index.dat Files Manually in Windows XP

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So you think you know to to cover your history when browsing using Windows? This is a killer tip about the index.dat file. I sure didn’t know this, killer tip!

From TechTV:

Even if you regularly clear your Internet History, Temp files, and cookies to keep ordinary snoops at bay, you’re overlooking a very important detail: index.dat files. These hidden files contain information about your IE surfing history and your Outlook activity. On tonight’s ‘Savers, I’ll tell you a simple way to uncover and clear ’em out manually.

Microsoft claims index.dat files cache webpages you visit to help speed up the loading time in Internet Explorer. A lot of folks disagree, and there are a few conspiracy theories floating around about what index.dat files are really for. I’m not really worried because I know an easy way to get rid of them.

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About Ken Edwards

  • this has been an issue since before windowsXP. i remember reading a mention about it in some PC mag years ago. It pointed out that, even if you delete all your cookies, the index.dat file still has all the web addresses in. I found back then the best thing to do, seeing as you couldn’t delete/edit the index.dat file where it is (as it is being sued by Windows), was to create a blank text file elsewhere, rename it index.dat, then copy it over the real index.dat. Seemed to work too.

  • Adela

    Jadester’s suggestion sounds good and I’ll try it, but I used to have a much shorter way to do it and, not being a savvy tech person…don’t know how I lost it, nor can recall where I got it from – I thought at first from Sarah, but no.

    This is what the person did, she somehow calculated how to do it, then made us save it under: “AllFil~1.fnd” (without quotes). All we had to do was paste that in “Find” and the longest list of index.dat appeared, then we’d just highlight and click delete all! Piece of cake. I still have it in my desktop…but it won’t open anymore. Ever since, I’ve been crying for this loss.

    Anyone has any idea??? Thanks. Adela

    P.S. I vaguely recall it was a lady and had a modest link at google…where I spent days trying to re-find this lady!

  • jacob

    can you please tell me how to do this because i have a laptop that was given to me by my college and need to clear my entire history of everything

  • Fer

    I tried Jadester’s suggestion and it worked for some of the index dat, however not for the main user’s/cookies location as it displays the following message: ” Cannot copy index: the requested operation cannot be performed on a file with a user-mapped section open.

  • The index.dat file will be cleared if you reset Internet Explorer to its original state. You do that by going to Tools > Internet Options > Advanced > (select “Reset”).

    You will have to change any options that you have previously set, and possibly enter all of your bookmarks and so forth, but index.dat will no longer hold the cookies history.