Windows 10 operating system offers plenty of options to make your daily work easier. It records almost every single activity you do on your computer. This will be helpful when you are using a private PC or laptop. However, recording history can affect your privacy especially when you are using shared computer. In this article, we will explain how to completely delete history in Windows.
What History Windows Stores?
Below are some of the ways Windows records your activities:
- Timeline in Task View
- Windows Search or Cortana
- Quick Access in File Explorer
- Browsing History in Edge
- Temporary Files
Let us explain how to clean up all these stuffs.
Note: Before proceeding further, make sure you are logged in to your Microsoft account on your computer. This will help you to delete the history on all synchronized devices using your account. If you are using local administrator login and not using syncing then make sure you are logged in with the local account.
1. Delete Timeline History
Windows can store up to 30 days of activities in Timeline in Task View. This includes each and every application you use like browsers, files and games. You can click on the Task View icon on the taskbar to view the latest history of all your activities.
if you do not see Task View icon on the taskbar, you can enable by right clicking on the taskbar and choose “Show Task View button” option.
Follow the below instructions in order to delete Timeline history.
- Press “Win + I” keys to open Windows Settings app.
- Go to “Privacy” option and click on “Activity history” tab.
- scroll down on the right pane and click on “Clear” button below the “Clear activity history” option.
- Confirm your action by clicking on the “Ok” button.
- This will delete all your Timeline history. You will see a tick mark next to “Clear” button indicating the history was deleted.
if you want to disable Timeline history completely on your device, uncheck the option “Store my activity history on this device” option.
2. Windows Search or Cortana
Whenever you click on the Windows Search or Cortana box in taskbar, you can view the previously searched history.
- Go to Windows Settings app and click on the “Search” option.
- Under “Permissions & History” tab, click on “Clear my device history” button below “History” section.
If you are using Cortana, then open Cortana settings and go to “Permissions” section to delete history and manage the access.
3. Quick Access in File Explorer
Windows File Explorer keeps track of your files and folders access to show under “Quick Access” section. It will show the history under “Frequent folders” and Recent files” sections.
Follow the below instructions to delete Quick Access history or disable it completely.
- Open File Explorer and go to “View” tab.
- Click on “Options” button and select “Change folder and search options” menu.
- This will open “Folder Option” dialog like below. You can open the File Explorer defaulting to “This PC” instead of “Quick Access“. In this manner, you can avoid seeing the access history whenever launching File Explorer.
- You can also click on “Clear” button under “Privacy” section to delete the access history.
- In addition, uncheck the boxes “Show recently used files in Quick access” and “Show frequently used folders in Quick access” to completely disable showing history in File Explorer.
4. Browsing History in Edge
Another popular way Windows stores history is in the browser. Microsoft Edge will store all your browsing history to speed up your access. However, anyone case access your browsing history if you do not delete it.
- Open Microsoft Edge and press “Control + Shift + Delete” keys.
- This will open up a pop-up for clearing your browsing history. If you are using older Edge version, you can see this inside settings menu.
- Choose “All time” as “Time range” and check the required options. Make sure to uncheck “Passwords” checkbox to retain stored passwords.
- Click on the “Clear now” button to delete all your previous browsing history.
However, every time deleting the browsing history maybe a tedious work. You may also forget to do this in urgency and the next person using the computer can easily find what you have browsed before. In order to avoid this hassle, Edge also offer another option that you can delete the history automatically when closing the browser.
- Go to “edge://settings/clearBrowsingDataOnClose” URL in the address bar.
- Turn off the items you want to Edge to delete automatically when closing the browser.
5. Temporary Files
The last place where Windows stores your history is in the temporary files. Though it includes the browsing history (from Edge as well Internet Explorer), there are many other ways temporary files are accumulated.
- Go to Windows Settings app and click on “System” option.
- Navigate to “Storage” section and click on the “Temporary files” option.
- On the next screen, you can see all types of temporary files Windows accumulated on your computer.
- Here are the files Windows accumulate as temporary files.
- Recycle Bin
- Windows Upgrade Files
- Windows Update Cleanup
- Temporary Files
- Windows Defender Antivirus
- Delivery Optimization Files
- Temporary Internet Files
- Windows Error Reports and Feedback Diagnostics
- DirectX Shader Cache
- Select the option you want to delete and click on the “Remove files” button.
- Select the item and click “Remove files” button to delete the content from your computer.
As you can see, Windows records every single action you do on your computer. We hope the above explained options will help you to delete Windows history completely and keep your privacy safe. In addition, make sure you are not sharing any data with Cortana and Bing search in Edge.