Managing AutoComplete in Internet Explorer 11

Internet Explorer 11 autocomplete
Getty Images (Credit: hh5800 #175443591)

This tutorial is only intended for users running the Internet Explorer 11 Web browser on Windows operating systems.

Even the most experienced typists can use some help every now and then, and IE11's AutoComplete feature provides just that. Entries in the browser's address bar - as well as within various types of Web forms - are stored for later use, auto-populated whenever you begin typing something similar. These suggested matches can save you from a great deal of unnecessary typing in the long run, and can also serve as a virtual memory bank of data that you may have otherwise forgotten. IE11 allows you to manage AutoComplete in several ways, providing the ability to specify which data components (browsing history, Web forms, etc.) are utilized as well as offering a way to delete all history associated with this feature. This step-by-step tutorial explains how to access and modify IE11's AutoComplete settings.

First, open your browser. Click on the Gear icon, also known as the Action or Tools menu, located in the upper right-hand corner of your browser window. When the drop-down menu appears, select Internet options. The Internet Options dialog should now be displayed, overlaying your main browser window. Click on the Content tab. IE11's Content Options should now be displayed. Locate the section labeled AutoComplete. Click on the Settings button, found within this section. The AutoComplete Settings dialog should now be displayed. The first option, Address bar, is enabled by default. When active, IE11 will utilize AutoComplete for the following items within its address bar. Those components not accompanied by a check mark will be excluded.

Address Bar

  • Browsing history: Enabled by default, this address bar selection ensures that URLs of websites that you have previously visited are included when constructing AutoComplete suggestions.
  • Favorites: Enabled by default, this selection instructs IE11 to include your favorite websites in its AutoComplete repertoire.
  • Feeds: When checked, the browser incorporates data from your saved RSS feeds when attempting to complete your address bar entries.
  • Use Windows Search for better results: Enabled by default, this selection integrates the desktop search platform included in the Windows operating system with IE11's AutoComplete feature.
  • Suggesting URLs: Enabled by default, this selection allows the application to suggest Web addresses of sites that you have never visited before. For example, typing in abo may cause the browser to suggest


The next main option in the AutoComplete Settings dialog, disabled by default, is Forms. When enabled, select data components such as name and address entered in Web forms are stored by AutoComplete for later use in a similar fashion to the suggestions presented in the address bar. This can come in very handy, especially if you tend to fill out a large number of online forms.

Usernames and Passwords

Directly below Forms is the Usernames and passwords on forms option, which instructs AutoComplete to utilize stored login credentials used to access email and other password-protected products and services.

The Manage Passwords button found below the options accompanied by checkboxes and only available in Windows 8 or above, opens the operating system's Credential Manager.

Delete AutoComplete History

At the bottom of the AutoComplete Settings dialog is a button labeled Delete AutoComplete history..., which loads IE11's Delete Browsing History window. This window lists several private data components, each accompanied by a checkbox. Some of these are used by the AutoComplete feature, and those that are checked/enabled will be removed from your hard drive completely when the deletion process is initiated. These options are as follows.

  • Preserve Favorites website data: Selected by default, this option instructs IE11 to preserve stored data (cache and cookies) from your Favorites even when you choose to clear those particular data components from your hard drive for all other websites.
  • Temporary Internet files and website files: Selected by default, this option instructs the browser to remove images, multimedia files, and even full copies of Web pages that have been stored in an effort to reduce page load times on subsequent visits. These files, as a whole, are also known as your browser's cache.
  • Cookies and website data: When you visit many websites, a text file is placed on your hard drive that is used by the site in question to store user-specific settings and information. This text file, or cookie, is then utilized by the respective site each time you return in order to provide a customized experience or to retrieve data such as your login credentials or session data. Selected by default, this option instructs IE11 to remove all of these files from your hard drive.
  • History: IE11 maintains a list of addresses, or URLs, of all websites that you have visited. Selected by default, this option instructs the browser to completely delete this record from your PC.
  • Download History: Just as it maintains a record of all sites that you have visited, IE11 also keeps track of the files that you have downloaded through the browser. When selected, it will wipe this history from your hard drive.
  • Form data: Whenever you enter information into a Web form, IE11 may store a portion of that data. For example, you may have noticed when filling out your name in a form that after typing the first letter or two your entire name gets auto-populated. This is because the browser has stored that data from an entry in a previous form. Although this can provide a welcome convenience, it can also become a privacy issue or security risk. When selected, this option instructs IE11 to delete all form data that has been stored locally.
  • Passwords: With so many passwords needed nowadays on the Web, it can be a welcome feature when a browser offers to store them for later use. However, you may not want your passwords to be stored locally, especially if other people use the same computer. When selected, this option instructs IE11 to obliterate all saved passwords from your PC.
  • Tracking Protection, ActiveX Filtering and Do Not Track: Your browser protects you in many ways while you surf, such as preventing harmful plugins from running and notifying you when a website may be sharing your online behavior with others. Some of these actions generate data which is stored locally, including a list of sites that may be excluded from ActiveX Filtering as well as data utilized by the browser's Tracking Protection feature. When selected, this option instructs IE11 to delete all of this information, including stored exceptions to Do Not Track requests.