How to Manage Browsing History and Other Private Data in IE 11

Control the types of information that Internet Explorer stores locally

As you browse the web, Internet Explorer stores data on your local hard drive, including a list of websites you've visited and temporary files that help pages load faster on subsequent visits. Learn how to manage your browsing history, cache, cookies, and other private data components in Internet Explorer 11.

Instructions in this article apply to Internet Explorer 11. If you are using an older version, you can upgrade Internet Explorer for free.

How to Manage Private Data in Internet Explorer 11

To manage your browsing history and other private data in IE 11, follow these instructions:

Microsoft Edge has replaced IE as the default browser in Windows 10, but you can still make Internet Explorer 11 your default browser.

  1. Select the Gear icon in the top-right corner of the browser and choose Internet options from the drop-down menu.

    Internet Options in Internet Explorer settings
  2. Select the General tab, then select Delete under Browsing history.

    Alternatively, use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + Shift + Del to open the Delete Browsing History window.

    The General tab and Delete button in Internet Options
  3. In the Delete Browsing History window, check the boxes beside the individual components you want to remove from your hard drive, then select Delete. The options include the following:

    • Temporary Internet files and website files: Delete the IE 11 browser cache, including all multimedia files and copies of web pages.
    • Cookies and website data: Delete user-specific settings and information stored by websites.
    • History: Delete the history of URLs you have visited.
    • Download History: Delete the record of files you have downloaded through IE 11.
    • Form data: Delete all stored form entry data including email addresses and usernames.
    • Passwords: Forget all saved passwords.
    • Tracking Protection, ActiveX Filtering, and Do Not Track: Delete data associated with ActiveX Filtering and the Tracking Protection feature, including stored exceptions to Do Not Track requests.

    Check the box next to Preserve Favorites website data to keep data (cache and cookies) from websites listed as Favorites.

    In the Delete Browsing History window, check the boxes beside the individual components you want to remove from your hard drive, then select Delete.
  4. Close the Delete Browsing History window and select Settings in the Internet Options window.

    The Settings button
  5. Select the Temporary Internet Files tab in the Website Data Settings window and adjust the following settings:

    • Check for newer versions of stored pages: Set how often the browser checks with a web server to see if a newer version of the page currently stored on your hard drive is available.
    • Disk space to use: Set the amount of data in megabytes you wish to set aside on your hard drive for IE 11 cache files.
    Select the Temporary Internet Files tab in the Website Data Settings window and adjust the settings.
  6. Select Move folder under Current location to change where IE 11 stores temporary files.

    Select View objects to display currently installed web applications. Select View files to see all temporary internet files, including cookies.

    The Move Folder button
  7. Select the History tab in the Delete Browsing History window and set the number of days you want IE 11 to keep your browsing history.

    The History tab and "Days to keep pages in history" window
  8. Select the Caches and databases tab to control individual website cache and database settings. Choose a website, then select Delete to remove its cached data.

    Deselect the box next to Allow website caches and databases to disable data caching for individual websites.

    The Caches and Databases tab and Delete button
  9. Select OK in the Website Data Settings window, then select Apply and OK in the Internet Options window.

    Check the box next to Delete browsing history on exit to remove private data components that you have selected for deletion upon each time the browser is closed.

    Select OK in the Website Data Settings window, then select Apply and OK in the Internet Options window.