How to Clear Private Data in Google Chrome for Windows

Remove your browsing history in a few easy steps

There are many things you may want to keep private while online, ranging from the sites you visit to the information you enter in online forms. With increased concerns over privacy and security, it is nice to be able to clear your tracks when you're done browsing. Google Chrome for Windows allows you to clear the private data of your choosing in a few steps.

An open digital lock on a black background

Types of History and Data You Can Delete

You must understand what each browsing or data category includes before clearing it, or you may erase important information. Review each item below before clearing your data.

  • Browsing history: Browsing history keeps a record of the websites that you visited. You can view this record by selecting History > History from the Chrome More menu in the upper-right corner, indicated by three vertically-aligned dots.
  • Download history: Chrome keeps a record of every file you download through the browser.
  • Cached images and files: Chrome uses its cache to store images, pages, and URLs of recently visited web pages. By using the cache, the browser can load these pages faster on subsequent visits to the site by loading the images locally from the cache rather than from the web server.
  • Cookies and other site data: A cookie is a text file that is placed on your computer when you visit certain websites. Each cookie notifies a web server when you return to its web page. Cookies remember certain settings you have on a website.
  • Passwords: When entering a password on a web page for something such as your email login, Chrome usually asks if you want it to remember the password. If you choose for the password to be remembered, it is stored by the browser and then populated the next time you visit that web page.
  • Autofill form data: Any time you enter information into a form on a website, Chrome may store some of that data. For example, when filling out your name in a form, after you type the first letter or two, your entire name populates the field. This is because Chrome saved your name from an entry in a previous form. Although this can be convenient, it can also be a privacy concern.

How to Clear Your Browsing History in Chrome

You can delete some or all of your browsing history if you don't want a record saved on your computer. Here's how:

  1. Open the Chrome browser.

  2. Select the More icon in the upper-right corner.

    Chrome with the More Options menu highlighted
  3. Choose History, then select History from the menu that appears.

    The History menu in Chrome settings
  4. In the Search History screen, go to the left pane and choose Clear browsing data.

    Clear Browsing Data in history settings
  5. Select the Browsing history check box. You can deselect the cache and cookies if you want to keep that data.

    The check mark for Browsing History
  6. Select the Time range drop-down menu and choose how much history you want to delete. To delete everything, choose All time.

    The Time Range menu
  7. Select Clear Data.

    The Clear Data button

Other types of data can be selected on this screen. In addition to Browsing history, the Basic tab includes Cookies and other site data and Cached images and files. In the Advanced tab, you can select Download HistoryPasswordsAutofill form data, and other less common choices.

How to Clear Only Selected Sites From History in Chrome

If you don't want to clear all your browsing history, you can remove a single site or a selected group of sites from your browsing history. To do this:

  1. In Chrome, go to the More menu and select History > History.

    The History menu in Chrome settings
  2. Select the check box for each site you want to clear, then choose Delete at the top of the screen.

    Deleting a single site from Chrome history
  3. To remove a single entry, select the More icon next to the entry, then choose Remove from history.

    The Remove From History command