I was wondering if IE’s “History” (using CTRL-H) can be
retrieved on my computer somewhere once it’s been deleted. Or once it’s deleted
is it gone? Can you please let me know if I can retrieve the deleted
In short – probably not. There are a couple of approaches that
might work, if you’re lucky, and perhaps desperate enough.
First, we need to locate where the history is kept.
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For Windows XP, Internet Explorer’s history is kept in a per-user directory
underneath “\Documents and Settings”. Assuming a default location, that would
c:\Documents and Settings\Username\Local
“Username” would be replaced by your login user name. So mine, for example,
would be “c:\Documents and Settings\LeoN\Local Settings\History”.
Note: the “History” directory is marked “invisible” by
default, so it’s likely that you won’t find it by default. You’ll need to
enable viewing hidden files in Windows Explorer, or searching for Hidden Files
when you perform a search. In a Command Prompt, you can simply “CD” to it, even
if you don’t see it.
The easiest way is to simply recover the contents of that directory,
including all subdirectories, from a recent backup. If you’ve been making
regular backups of your full system, as recommended, then you can simply use
your backup utility to restore only those directories, after which you should
be able to restart IE and have the old history restored.
Alternately, and with an even lower chance of success is to see if
you can “undelete” an older version of the files found in that directory. If
you get very lucky you might be able to undelete or recover a file
that has the history you want. I do not recommend this approach,
simply because the chances of it working are so very low.
Ultimately, I believe that the chances for successfully recovering this data
is so low, that it is effectively zero.
I will throw out one last approach – but it’s expensive, potentially time
consuming, and really only for the most dire of circumstances. It is sometimes
possible, using advanced data recovery techniques, for a data recovery service
to recover this type of data. You’d be sending them your hard disk, and you’d
be writing a fairly large check. There are many factors involved, and it’s
definitely not as easy as you might see on TV, but it can, sometimes, be