How to Manage AutoComplete in Internet Explorer 11

Internet Explorer AutoComplete Settings

Internet Explorer
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Even the most experienced typists can use some help every now and then, and IE11's AutoComplete feature provides just that. Entries in the address bar and 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 lets you manage AutoComplete in several ways, providing the ability to specify which data components (browsing history, forms, etc.) are utilized as well as offering a way to delete all the AutoComplete history.

Internet Explorer AutoComplete Options

Here's how to access and modify IE11's AutoComplete settings:

  1. With IE open, go into Tools > Internet options, or click the gear icon below the exit button to find Internet options.
  2. Click the Content tab.
  3. In the AutoComplete section, open Settings.

There are several options here, some of which are enabled by default and others that aren't. Components that are not accompanied by a checkmark are excluded and not using AutoComplete.

Address Bar

  • Browsing history: Enabled by default, this address bar selection ensures that URLs of websites you've previously visited are included when constructing AutoComplete suggestions.
  • Favorites: Enabled by default, it 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 option integrates the desktop search platform included in the Windows OS with IE11's AutoComplete feature.
  • Suggesting URLs: Enabled by default, this selection allows the application to suggest websites that you have never visited before. For example, typing in life may cause the browser to suggest lifewire.com.

Forms

The next main option in the AutoComplete Settings dialog, called Forms, is disabled by default. 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 definitely come in handy, especially if you tend to fill out a large number of online forms, like when online shopping or making user accounts.

User Names and Passwords on Forms

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

The Manage Passwords button (found below the checkboxed options and only available in Windows 8 or newer) opens the Credential Manager window.

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.

  • Preserve Favorites website data: This option preserves 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: Use this to remove images, multimedia files and even full copies of stored web pages that are used 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 things like your login credentials or session data. This option tells IE11 to remove all of these files from your hard drive.
  • History: IE11 maintains a list of URLs that you've visited so that you can easily go back through them to reopen any website. Selected by default, this option instructs the browser to completely delete these records from your computer.
  • Download History: Just as it maintains a record of all sites that you've visited, Internet Explorer also keeps track of the files that you've downloaded. 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 later use. 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 makes IE11 delete all the locally stored form data.
  • Passwords: With so many passwords needed nowadays, it can be a great feature when a browser offers to store them for you. However, you may not want your passwords kept locally, especially if other people use the same computer. When selected, this option tells IE11 to obliterate all saved passwords.
  • Tracking Protection, ActiveX Filtering and Do Not Track: Your browser protects you in many ways, such as preventing harmful plugins from running and notifying you when a website may be sharing your online behavior. 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, you can have IE delete all of this information, including stored exceptions to Do Not Track requests.