While browsing, every website you visit is recorded in the browser’s history with complete details of when and what was searched. This history can easily be accessed in the browser, and can be deleted as well, either completely or just specific searches.
One would think that any user can browse around and delete the history like they were never there, but this is not the case. The history is deleted, but can still be recovered via different means.
If you want to double-check the full history or if you just deleted some important browsing history by mistake, we will help you recover this data via different means, you can just use the method that fits your situation best.Use DNS Cache to View Deleted Browsing History
Method #1: Use DNS Cache to View Deleted Browsing History
The operating system (OS) DNS (Domain Name System) cache stores your searches temporarily and deletes them when the computer is restarted. When you delete your browsing history, the DNS cache is not deleted, so you can see all the domain names that were accessed.
This method is fast but not reliable, it’s not good for old history and can be deceiving because the OS DNS cache is used by almost everything connected to the internet (apps, advertisement, etc…), not just your browser.
So if an app access anything on the web, this will also be displayed as searched website, making it hard to know which sites were accessed personally.
DNS cache stores your searches temporarily and deletes them when the computer is restarted. When you delete your history from the browser, DNS cache is not deleted. If this history is deleted recently and computer is not restarted, you can see all the searches.
This method is fast but not reliable, it’s not good for old history and can be deceiving. The DNS cache is used by almost everything connected to the internet, not just your browser. So if an app or Video game access anything on the web, this will also be displayed as searched website, making it hard to know which sites were accessed personally.
The process is simple, just press Windows+R button and “Run” will open. Type “cmd” there and click on “OK” (you can also type “cmd” in Windows search).
This will open Command Prompt, there you can type or copy/paste this command ipconfig /displaydns and hit enter.
Note: if you are going to copy/paste, then Ctrl+V shortcut for “paste” will not work in Command Prompt, you will have to right click and select “paste” from the context menu.
All your recently accessed websites, including from other programs will be displayed. Only the address of the website will be displayed, which pages were visited on the website will not be displayed.
If you would like to clear DNS cache without restarting, then in the Command Prompt enter this command ipconfig /flushdns and press enter. All DNS cache will be deleted permanently.
Method #2 : Use a Recovery Software to Recover Browsing History Files
Your browser history is saved on your PC’s hard drive just like other files. When you delete browsing history from your browser, it is actually deleted from your PC. You can use a Data recovery tool to recover these files just like you can recover other deleted data on PC.
You can use recovery tool such as Recuva to recover any deleted file including browsing history files. All you need is to know where these files are located for your specific browser and scan that directory with a recovery tool. You can use the following directories to access browsing history files of your specific browser.
Google Chrome: C:\Users\(username)\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\local storage
Mozilla Firefox: C:\Users\(username)\AppData\Roaming\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\<profile folder>
Internet Explorer: C:\Users\(username)\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\History
Just replace “(username)” with the username of the account of which you would like to recover history. In our case, it is “user” and we will just replace it in the directory and paste it in My computer search to access the location.
You can also manually access the required location by going into each folder manually. Although, you might also have to set your folder options to “Show hidden files and folders” to access the directories mentioned above, here is an Article showing how you can do it.
To recover the files, you can check out this article “How To Recover Deleted Files”. It’s a step by step guide on how to use a recovery tool to recover deleted data.
Method 3: Recover Deleted History Using Google History
This is a fast, easy and quite reliable method to see past browsing history. However, it will only work if you have a Google Account and while browsing you were logged in. If you use Google services, then most likely you were logged in while browsing, it should not be a problem.
If you were logged-in, then you will be able to gain lots of information easily, including past history from years ago. The Google History is not deleted just by deleting history from browser and it will store all browsing history, including all pages visited and all devices attached to your Google Account. This means, you can also recover that history from your Android phone.
Just go to Google History and sign in with the Google account which you used while browsing.
All your History will be displayed along with date/time, and there is also a calendar that you can use to go to date at which you would like to see the browsing history.
You can also delete this history by checking each website individually and clicking on Remove items.
If you would like to delete history in bulk or completely, click on Menu and in there click on “Remove items”. Now, choose the time period from where you would like to delete data and click on “Remove”.
You can also pause the feature from the Settings, so future history is not recorded.
Just click on Gear icon and from the drop down menu, click on “Settings”.
You will see a green button next to “Your searches and browsing history”, just click on it and from the prompt, click on “Pause”, the button will turn gray. This feature will be paused and no future searches will be shown, although past history will still stay and you can delete it if you like. You can enable this again using the same process and click on the gray button.
If there are any questions or you know a better way to recover browsing history, let us know in the comments below.
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