Whether you’re trying to get back your Internet history after accidentally deleting it, or you want to recover it after someone else deleted it, the procedure is pretty much the same. Most of them are free and effective, you just need to know how to do them.
To recover Internet history, you need to understand certain important aspects. One of them is where the Internet history get stored. The Internet history gets stored in the Windows Registry. There are also chances that the Internet history may get stored as Internet cookies too. The ways to recover deleted Internet history is, hence, meant to target these system resources and get the history.
Recover Internet History using System Recovery
If the Internet history was deleted fairly recently, you can simply use the System Restore tool to get the deleted history back. Here’s what you have to do:
Click on ‘Start’ and go to ‘Programs’. In the ‘Programs’ menu, click on ‘Accessories’ and then go to ‘System Tools’.
The ‘System Tools’ option will give way to various options. One of them is the ‘System Restore’.
Select that option; pick a date that precedes the date when you cleared your Internet history. Reboot and check your browser.
Recover Internet History using Search Desktop Operations
There are cases in which the restore option of system recovery is disabled. In such cases, you can use a desktop search program. There are many desktop search programs available like Yahoo desktop search, Google desktop search, etc. If you remember a few keywords of what you want to search for in the Internet history, you can type it there in the search box and get it recovered.
Recover Internet History using Log Files
A look into the log files can also let you recover deleted Internet history. All Windows computers have this file extension that stores arbitrary data, the .DAT extension. In our scenario, the system uses a file called ‘index.dat’, that stores all the information of the operations you have performed.
To recover the history using log files, follow the steps:
– Click on the Start menu, and go to the Control Panel.
– Look for Folder Options and click on the icon. You will have three tabs in this window, the second of which is View.
– Inside the View tab, look for, and select, the Show hidden files and folders option. There will be another check box under it called Hide protected operating system files (Recommended). Remove the check in its box. Apply changes and exit the window.
– Go to My Computer and use the search tool to find all instances of index.dat in the C drive and the C drive only.
– You should now have multiple index.dat files in the search results.
– To read a .dat file, go to Google index.dat reader, or directly go to a software downloading site that you trust (like Softpedia or CNET) and get the reader. WinSpy is an example of such a reader.
– In case of Firefox, it is the ‘history.dat’ file, which needs to be checked out.
Recover Internet History using Cookies
Whenever we browse the Internet, certain cookies get downloaded and stored into our systems, without our knowledge. A look into these cookies can give you a fair idea of the web pages you have viewed. You can find the option for recovering deleted cookies under one of the tabs in the ‘Internet Options’ dialog box of your browser. For example, in the Firefox web browser, you can get the option to check out the cookies under the ‘Privacy Tab’ of the options dialog box.
Other Options for Recovering the History
Besides the ways listed above, there are other options that you can resort to. Depending on how important the data is, and what lengths you are prepared to go to in order to recover it, there are two things you can try. The first and the easier one, is to install professional recovery software, which may cost a bit, but stands a better chance of recovering any lost data. The second, though it might seem like overkill, is to opt for professional data recovery services.
Regular backups is always the best option to avoid a scenario where recovering deleted data becomes too difficult or impossible. If you do follow the guidelines I’ve given here, make it a point to remember every step you take, so it becomes easier to retrace them, if need be.