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Windows: Index.dat, the hidden history file...

Posted on 01/21/2003 12:56:48 PM PST by 1stFreedom

Folks, I bet you didn't know there is a "super secret" collection of files on your computer that contains all the websites you have ever visited.

Even if you think you have cleand out your surfing history, you are wrong. Windows stores the data in index.dat file and leaves the data there EVEN if you clean out the history, temporary internet folders, and cookies.

(If you use Outlook or Office products, that history is also stored -- even deleted messages!.)

While I'm a big advocate of "if you have nothing to hide don't worry" I'm also an advocate of keeping my pc free of my web visits, e-mails, etc.

I deleted my index.dat files and regained a whopping 28mb!!

(Keep in mind that most employers keep track, so some degree, of sites you have visited. Deleting index.dat files will only clean out your PC. Don't think you can visit forbidden sites and get away with it.)

You can't just find or delete these files from Windows easily -- they are hidden. On your favorite search engine do a search on Windows and index.dat. You'll find plenty of utilities that will clean these files out for you.

TOPICS: Miscellaneous
KEYWORDS: microsoft; techindex
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To: 1stFreedom
41 posted on 01/21/2003 1:33:09 PM PST by kidd
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To: spodefly
42 posted on 01/21/2003 1:37:39 PM PST by Publius6961
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To: zcat
Turned on my computer last night and all my personal "Favorites" were gone. Ive got Window's 2000. Any ideas?

You might be in the wrong house.

43 posted on 01/21/2003 1:39:17 PM PST by TightSqueeze
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To: 1stFreedom
There are many solutions.

Two that come to mind:

Use a different browser.
Reinstall your OS after wiping the hard drive.

I reinstall mine quarterly.
44 posted on 01/21/2003 1:45:52 PM PST by proxy_user
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To: Psycho_Bunny
How "Super Hidden" can they be if you can find them?

I could tell you, but I'm on Double Secret Probation.

45 posted on 01/21/2003 1:47:33 PM PST by socal_parrot (Fat, drunk and stupid is no way to go through life...)
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To: general_re
Click Here Before Judging Sorry but the web site name is a little vulgar, so if the "F" word is to much for you don't go there.
46 posted on 01/21/2003 1:48:07 PM PST by itsahoot
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To: All
a good free utility is SPIDER:

Aside from tracing your url's these files grow and
slow down your browsing. Microsoft then makes more money when you go out and buy an new box.

One other think to keep in mind is that even if you delete
a file on a PC, all or part of the data may still be readable, even after a defrag!
47 posted on 01/21/2003 1:52:12 PM PST by blue_nova
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To: McGruff
Maybe you can help me. I moved from one PC to another. I'd like to move the bookmarks in IE from my original PC to my new one. What file are they in?
48 posted on 01/21/2003 2:02:21 PM PST by RonF
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To: SauronOfMordor
Trust me, this isn't enough. There are several copies of Index.dat.

I've deleted all my temp folders at home, cleaned history,etc, and I found an Index.dat (8mb) that was stored elsewhere.
49 posted on 01/21/2003 2:06:44 PM PST by 1stFreedom
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To: Psycho_Bunny
For the average user they are hidden. Some versions of Windows are coded to exempt these files even with all the various flags set.

Most Windows users don't have a clue how to change the S flag on a file.
50 posted on 01/21/2003 2:08:12 PM PST by 1stFreedom
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To: itsahoot
"Muck Ficrosoft"? ;)

I've seen it all, and it's much ado about nothing, IMO. There's no nefarious intent here, but if it makes you sleep any easier at night, go ahead and delete index.dat - it won't hurt anything, other than possibly slowing down your browsing a bit...

51 posted on 01/21/2003 2:09:23 PM PST by general_re (Never seen "Fast Find" or URL autocompletion described as "dangerous" anywhere else, though...)
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To: 1stFreedom
Yes...I understand that. The H and S attributes are to keep the average user from poking at the files.

Using "Super Hidden" to describe HS attributes is simply alarmist ignorance. 

If we were talking about a file that has a dropped DOS encrypted with a GUID...included in the Registry System Path to prohibit deletion from Windows...etc etc etc....THEN we're talking about a "Super Hidden" file.

52 posted on 01/21/2003 2:15:47 PM PST by Psycho_Bunny
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To: b4its2late

S'OK. SupportFreeRepublic is a nick created to post the donation requests on all the threads, I think.
53 posted on 01/21/2003 2:19:50 PM PST by justshe (Truth detection prevents mental cavities.)
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To: 1stFreedom
Okay, I've downloaded the Spider Zip. Now, how do I get it to clean up the Index.dat files on my puter?... Baby steps please, I'm computer illiterate.
54 posted on 01/21/2003 2:24:40 PM PST by MHGinTN (If you can read this, your life has had life support from someone. Protect Life Support for others.)
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To: 1stFreedom
55 posted on 01/21/2003 2:26:46 PM PST by egarvue (Martin Sheen is not my president...)
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To: 1stFreedom
"Keep in mind that most employers keep track, so some degree, of sites you have visited."

That's why, if you are worried about detection, you do your surfing on other workstations that can't get tracked back to you. Or spoof someone else's ID so the data packets get tracked to someone else. We've had a couple instances of dumb employees getting busted because they don't realize the internet traffic stats include their PC workstation name, which just happens to contain their initials. Also helps to use software to do a wipe of your PC (re-write of all free space with zeroes after deleting files).

56 posted on 01/21/2003 2:31:01 PM PST by roadcat
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To: TheJollyRoger
WARNING! I think this is a HOAX! DO NOT delete index.dat until you speak to your system manager!

Good advice but it's not a hoax in that the information is correct about the file growing in size. It shouldn't just be deleted though. In fact it CAN'T be deleted when IE is running.
There is a utility you can download called delindex.bat. It takes some configuration to do it right and is definitely not something to be tried by anyone not familiar with the process of setting up .bat files and Windows startup.

I've used it on a number of Win 98 type machines and it does make IE load and run faster. Nothing more.

57 posted on 01/21/2003 2:31:44 PM PST by Bloody Sam Roberts ()
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To: Richard Kimball
Here's some information on the subject.
58 posted on 01/21/2003 2:39:57 PM PST by Bush2000
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To: Bloody Sam Roberts
Here's another case where Microsoft bigots and a variety of stupid, paranoid or idiotic people without a single sense of technology get all in a huff about something totally benign they have no understanding of. Simply put, browsers cache pages and portions thereof to improve performance by being able to retrieve a local copy of a file and other content rather than having to download repeatedly. In order for the browser to ascertain whether the file or other resource has been previously downloaded and to locate where such was previously stored a persistent "index" file is used. If you don't want to take advantage of the caching feature then disable it through the browser. If you want to clean up temporary internet files that are no longer being utilized then it's preferable have the browser do it for you to ensure that both the index and associated cache files are deleted in tandem. Next thing you know these same "geniuses" who are trying to undermine the browsers caching capabilities will be complaining about its download times or other problems they've created.
59 posted on 01/21/2003 2:42:06 PM PST by Steven W.
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To: roadcat
This raises a Windows 98SE question I have (for anyone). When I try to clear the free space on any computer, I get constant "Restart due to disk write" messages and can't complete clearing. Before starting, I close every process I can ( using the Close Program Dialogue Box ) except Explorer, clear out cookies and junk files, make sure the computer is offline, and disable the anti virus. I even try this in the Safe Mode, but it doesn't work. I use Norton Wipe info, but my neighbor just uses the Windows program and gets the same results. How can I get either disk clearing program to complete at least one pass?
60 posted on 01/21/2003 2:48:47 PM PST by Hillarys Gate Cult (Yatta)
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