How do I delete items from Internet Explorer’s auto-complete list?
Microsoft’s Internet Explorer tries to be very helpful as you browse
the web by keeping track of where you’ve been. You can hit the
Back button to revisit pages you’ve viewed in the current
session, or you can use the history window to go back to pages from
days or even weeks ago. And when you start typing a URL into the
address bar, it shows you a list of places you’ve been that match what
you’ve typed so far.
If you’ve done a lot of browsing that last one can be a huge list. Perhaps
even too huge to actually be helpful.
Become a Patron of Ask Leo! and go ad-free!
When you type a URL into the address box IE’s suggestions come
from several locations: your History, your Favorites, recently
typed entries, or the contents of a folder if you are specifying a path
on your local machine. Let’s look at each of these.
History: as you surf the web the list of places you’ve
visited is kept as your history. You can control how much history is
kept by adjusting the setting found in Tools, Internet
Options, General tab, History box, Days to keep
pages in history setting. By making this a smaller number, perhaps
a week or even just a few days, you’ll make a significant reduction in
the number of URLs that IE will show for auto-complete. You can also
completely clear history here if you like. Alternately, if you would
rather truly edit the history press this History toolbar
button which will open the History window, and you can right click on
any entry and select delete.
Favorites: This is normally a smaller part of the
auto-complete problem but much more easily under your control. You can
delete items from your Favorites menu simply by dropping it down, right
clicking on what you want to get rid of, and selecting
Recently Typed Entries: There’s not really much to be done
here. In reality it’s
small enough that there’s just not much reason to try to edit or
control this. It’ll just fill up again with the next places you
The File System: In your address bar you can start typing the
location of a file. Type “C:\” and IE will present the
contents of the root of your C: drive as auto-complete possibilities.
The more you type, the more refined the list. If you type a directory
name as soon as you type “\” then the auto-complete drop down
becomes re-populated with the contents of that directory. This
one’s just a feature, and I know of no way to control it.
All of the above are discussed, along with some of the options to
further control some of the behavior of IE’s auto-complete features,
including web form auto-completion, in a Microsoft
Knowledgebase article here.