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Do you think your girlfriend/boyfriend is cheating on you? Are your children visiting webs and you don’t know anything about?

Many features we find in modern software are very useful, but sometimes, is complicated to know what they actually do.

InPrivate Browsing is of this kind. The name itself drives to confusion. If you haven’t read about it, you might think is a sort of protection over your privacy on Internet.

To complicate the things a bit, the browser even comes with two new modes with similar names, InPrivate Browsing and InPrivate Filtering.

This is what Microsoft tell us about InPrivate Browsing:

“InPrivate Browsing in Internet Explorer 8 helps prevent your browsing history, temporary Internet files, form data, cookies, and usernames and passwords from being retained by the browser, leaving no evidence of your browsing or search history.”

The key point is no leaving traces so there is no possibility someone discover what you are browsing. It seems like the ideal mode to use in a shared PC.

As we can see  it doesn’t enhance your personal security but at least prevents others to obtain your browsing history from the computer.

I am going to test if it really does what it claims.

First we are going to erase any evidence, on Internet Explorer go to Tools tab:

IE Tools Internet Options

Select Delete…, a list of check boxes will appear:

IE Delete Browsing History

These way the browser history disappears. Just pressing Ctrl + H to see it:

IE Erased History

Okay, now I am going to use two programs to try to look for traces.

Systance Index.dat Analyzer

Piriform Recuva

As you may notice these programs are free. We are now to navigate using InPrivate mode for a web to see if we can find traces. I have chosen BBC site, but it really doesn’t matter.


Here we see how the history browsing looks:

IE Browsing History With Google

Google appears because is the Home Page but there is no traces of bbc.co.uk at least here.

RecuvaUsing Recuva to find deleted files

Recuva is an awesome tool to find erased files. So, if Internet Explorer has tried to erase his traces just deleting the files we are going to find it.

Before using this software we need to prepare the operating system to show us every file that is in the computer. For this we go to the Control Panel, Appearance and Personalization and select Folder Options. Once you are there select the view tab, check Show hidden files, folder, and drives and uncheck Hide protecting operating system files.

Temporary internet files are stored in a system folder so we need to show these sort of files.

Recuva starts a Wizard when you first open it. We select to look for other files so it will look for all kind of files. You have to select where to find for the files. Temporary files are stored for Windows XP:

%USERPROFILE%\Local Settings\Temporary Internet Files

For Windows Vista, 7:

%userprofile%\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Temporary Internet Files

If you find this complex you can select the “I’m not sure” option and the software will look everywhere.

The next windows ask if you want to select Deep Scan, you have to check it. This way there are more chances that you find what we are looking for.

Recuva Scanning For Deleted Files

Once it’s completed, you have to order the files by date:

Recuva Scanning For Deleted Files

Indeed, as you can see is easy to know that someone has been at bbc.co.uk, and you can recover every file that was deleted from the temporary folder.

Maybe, you think that this is not important but it is not complicated to delete those files without leaving traces but Internet Explorer have chosen the generic and more easy way.

Index Dat AnalyzerUsing Index.dat analyzer

Index.dat are files used by Internet Explorer to store information about your browsing objects.

What exactly does this mean?

Index.dat is the method that Internet Explorer uses to control temporary internet files. This way knows if a file is from one web page or another. This file works as a database that informs the program when a web was accessed and every file that was part of that site.

The history also is saved in a index.dat file.

First time you run the program it will look for every index.dat in your system.

If you delete the Browsing History, as we did at the beginning of this article, the information of these files are erased.

But what happens after our test?, remember that Internet Explorer only shows that someone has visited Google.com.

If we select the following file:

%userprofile%\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Low\Temporary Internet Files\Content.IE5\index.dat


This appears because I typed bbc.co.uk and not www.bbc.co.uk, this is important because if the web page use this sort of links more traces appears. Looks what happens with cnn.com:

Index Dat Cnn Traces

I have even found more traces on other file:

%userprofile%\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Temporary Internet Files\Content.IE5\index.dat

Index Dat Traces

I get this last trace because Internet Explorer delete this in a very slow way. It finally gets deleted, but in one case it takes more than a minute to do it.

So InPrivate is not so private after all and you can easy know what have browsed.

About Angel Luis

I am an Engineer of Telecommunications that love computers. My first computer was a Commodore 16kb, about 25 years ago and since then I am always fighting computers problems. Please visit my entries and ask me about whatever problem you have, I will be pleased to help you. My email is discoveryourpc [at] gmail [dot] com. You can follow me on twitter @agenlu or read my blog www.discoveryourpc.net

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41 thoughts on “Hack InPrivate Browsing [How To]”

  1. Frank says:

    I’m not sure I understand – what was the point of this “article”?
    IE sucks? My girlfriend sucks? Your English sucks?
    Seriously, I get that folks oughta know Internet Exploiter retains info – but is there just no proof-reading anymore?
    This might the most poorly written thing I’ve seen in a while – and I’m on the webs.

  2. Lou says:

    For the first time I have found that this program is truly one of the best. It does what it says it will do and more , I have sat at my computer checking every hard drive that I have used in my computers in the past and ran this program sometimes waiting several hours for the results. I was amazed to find that even files that could not be recovered were still listed in this program and I was sometimes able to view at least some portion of the contents. This is a program that I believe everyone should get And donate some dollars to keep these guys going. as for the other programs available on there site they are the best,do what they say and best of all free! My hats off to you guys and by the way I never write any comments for any products so with that said I am impressed. thank you Lou

    1. NAN says:

      I concur. LOL I wonder about Google Chrome…. hmm…..

  3. Angel says:

    Thanks for the comment.

  4. Bukkworm says:

    why disturb the privacy of others

  5. Angel says:

    For that reason is important to know that Inprivate Browsing is not so private.

    Thanks Bukkworm.

  6. Q-tee70 says:

    tried to download rescuva and it’s NOT free

    1. Rich says:

      Please use this link: http://www.piriform.com/recuva

      It’s here.

    2. Taylor Ling says:


      Recuva and all other software from piriform are still freeware, although now they do ask for support by purchasing their software by giving out priority support. Go ahead to download from filehippo.com or piriform.com as stated in their download page.

      1. adrian sweeney says:

        went to that site and it still is not free ?

      2. Rich says:

        Hi, if you scroll down a little (ignoring the big “buy” button), you’ll see the free link: http://www.piriform.com/recuva/download/standard

  7. iwonder says:


    1. Angel says:

      Thanks for the comment, but what do you mean?

  8. Curious says:

    Are these 2 programs the only way to look for traces or is there a method to look for traces without the need for these programs?

    1. Angel says:

      There are more programs that can help you to look for deleted files.

      These programs are free so what is the problem?

      1. Tlinkogle says:

        Are these programs discreet? Or will someone else accessing the computer be able to see that you are accessing the inprivate browsing history?

      2. Angel says:

        Discreet they don’t leave any traces

    2. Angel says:

      Thanks for the comment.

      These tools are designed to run after so you cannot do exactly what you want.

  9. Angel says:

    You can use the same program to permanenty delete them.

  10. Amysweeney says:

    Looks like you havent been on here in a while… but I’m a little confused every time I try and go download the software it says it costs 24.95 ??? and you stated it was free ? is there a different website for to download it ?

    1. Rich says:

      Hi, if you scroll down a little (ignoring the big “buy” button), you’ll see the free link: http://www.piriform.com/recuva/download/standard

  11. UVAIS says:

    Thanks   Angel Luis :) 

    1. Angel says:

      Thank to you for the post

    2. Angel says:

      Thank to you for the post

  12. Bryar-ahmed says:

    i downloaded it and it find all this data but when i recover it doesnt open and nothing comes on the preview for anything it has found

    1. Angel says:

      This is because Recuva cannot find the data it have been overwritten.

  13. guest says:

    When I try to use the filename you have listed for windows 7 it says that it does not exist help please!!

    1. a dude says:

      ….try following the steps again….don’t over think it

  14. Rich says:

    It depends what you deleted with CCleaner. I am not too familiar with CCleaner but I don’t think it “scrubs” the drive by default so you should be able to recover data. It may be difficult to recover browsing history (assuming history refers to this) but it’s worth a try.

  15. M0nkey01234 says:

    thanks for your help, time to go beat soon to be ex bf’s ass. :)

  16. Luvmysoccer says:

    is it possible for popups to automatically show up when you are in privatebrowsing?  I found an opened sexsite on my spouses computer and wonder if this is a popup or is that possible in privatebrowsing?

    1. Rich says:

      Yes, it’s possible still; in addition to adult sites, viruses, compromised/hacked sites, “gray” area websites etc. may also display adult-themed popups.

  17. Blues11 says:

    Hi Angel, how can i view inprivate browsing in Safari? I tried your suggestions above but the sites viewed via safari don’t show up, only the deleted Explorer files. thanks!!

  18. frustrated says:

    I had uploaded the Recuva and was wondering how to list the browsing history in order by date? Also what’s the difference between the different colored dots on the left; green, red, orange? Is there a easier way to find just the name of site visited under the file name. I don’t understand the gibberish with the sqiggle lines underscore ect. I just want it to show what websites were visited and list in order by date in the inprivate browsing. I’m trying to see what my boyfriend was looking up. Thanks

  19. C M says:

    how good is temp file cleaner combined with ccleaner? Are you saying if you click delete history it will clear traces but just takes up to a minute or two?

  20. anger much says:


  21. Traciesmale says:

    Hi can u help me my husband has iprivate on his computer,do u download it yourself if not how do u get it on your computer???

  22. niki_lauder says:

    you make it look so easy….but after I ran the Recuva a bunch of nr. shows on but how do I see what they are? how do I open the files found?
    Thank you!

  23. Big Dave says:

    So came across this post and I have a question. If the inprivate history is being stores in the same place as the non inprivate browsing are they both fighting for the same space and writing over each other? Also if you stream a video does that fill this up very quickly?

  24. Michael Townsend says:

    If you need to check on your partner’s sincerity, employee’s honesty, recover your email passwords, Social networks (i.e Facebook, Twitter, IG), change your school grades, clear your criminal records, gain access to bank accounts. contact me via greyhatshadowhacker2002 (at) gmail dot com or text 512 766 5142

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