Delete browsing, search and download history on Firefox

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  • Creator: scoobidiver
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  • Reviewed by: Verdi
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As you browse the web, Firefox helpfully remembers lots of information for you – sites you've visited, files you've downloaded and more. All of this information is called your history. However, if you are using a public computer or share a computer with someone, you may not want others to be able to see these kinds of things.

This article explains what information is stored in your history and gives you step-by-step ways to clear all of part of it. To temporarily have Firefox not store any history, see Private Browsing - Use Firefox without saving history.

What things are included in my history?

  • Browsing & Download History: Browsing history is the list of sites you've visited that are shown in the History menu, the Library window's History list, and the Awesome Bar - Search your Firefox bookmarks, history and tabs from the address bar's address list. Download history is the list of files you've downloaded that are shown in the Where to find and manage downloaded files in Firefox.
  • Form & Search Bar History: Form history includes the items you've entered into web page forms for Control whether Firefox automatically fills in forms. Search Bar history includes items you've entered into Firefox's Search the Web on Firefox.
  • Cookies: Cookies - Information that websites store on your computer store information about websites you visit, such as site preferences or login status. This includes information and site preferences stored by plugins such as Adobe Flash. Cookies can also be used by third parties to track you across sites. For more info about tracking, see How do I turn on the Do Not Track feature?
    Note: In order to clear cookies set by Flash you must be using the latest version. See Updating Flash for instructions.
    Note: Clearing cookies in Firefox 3.6 does not remove those set by plugins. To be able to do that you’ll need to update Firefox and your plugins.
  • Cache: The cache stores temporary files, such as web pages and other online media, that Firefox downloaded from the Internet to speed up loading of pages and sites you've already seen.
  • Active Logins: If you have logged in to a website that uses encryption since you most recently opened Firefox, that site is considered "active". Clearing this logs you out of those sites.
  • Site Preferences: Site-specific preferences, including the saved zoom level for sites, character encoding, and the permissions for sites (like pop-up blocker exceptions) described in the Page Info window.

How do I clear my history?

  1. At the top of the Firefox windowOn the menu bar, click the ToolsToolsFirefox button, go over to the History menu and select Clear Recent History... menu, and select Clear Recent History...Clear Recent History...
    For Windows XP: At the top of the Firefox window, click the Tools menu and select Clear Recent History...

    History Win1

    History Mac1
    History Lin1
  2. Select how much history you want to clear:
    • Click the drop-down menu next to Time range to clear to choose how much of your history Firefox will clear.
      History Win2 History Mac2 History Lin2
    • Next, click the arrow next to Details to select exactly what information will get cleared. Your choices are described in the What things are included in my history? section above.
      History Win3 History Mac3 History Lin3
  3. Finally, click the Clear Now button and the window will close and the items you've selected will be cleared.

How do I make Firefox clear my history automatically?

If you need to clear your history every time you use Firefox, you can set it to happen automatically on exit so you don’t forget.

  1. Click the menu button New Fx Menu Fx57Menu and choose Options.Preferences.
  2. Select the Privacy & Security panel and go to the History section.

  3. In the drop-down menu next to Firefox will, choose Use custom settings for history.
    Fx60HistorySettings-UseCustom Fx63CustomHistory
  4. Check the box for Clear history when Firefox closes.

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  5. To specify what types of history should be cleared, click the Settings... button next to Clear history when Firefox closes.
  6. In the Settings for Clearing History window, check the items that you want to have cleared automatically each time you quit Firefox.
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  7. After selecting the history to be cleared, click OK to close the Settings for Clearing History window.
  8. Close the about:preferences page. Any changes you've made will automatically be saved.

How do I remove a single website from my history?

  1. Click the Library button 57 library icon , click History and then click the Show All History bar at the bottom to open the Library window.Click the menu button New Fx Menu , click History and then click the Show All History bar at the bottom to open the Library window.
  2. Search for the website you want to remove from your history by typing its name in the Search History field in the top-right corner and then pressing EnterReturn.
  3. Then, in the search results, right-clickhold down the Ctrl key while you click on the site you want to remove, and select Forget About This Site.
    All history items (browsing and download history, cookies, cache, active logins, passwords, saved form data, exceptions for cookies, images, pop-ups) for that site will be removed.

    History Win6 History Mac6 History Lin6
  4. Finally, close the Library window.