If you’re setting up a computer for your kids or for a school or workplace, you’ll likely want to make sure you can monitor where users go online. One important step is disabling the ability to delete Internet Explorer’s browsing history. Administrator accounts on all versions of Windows can make a few quick changes to the registry, and Ultimate or Enterprise users can use the Group Policy Editor to easily disable the function.

1

Using the Registry Editor

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    Know when to use this method. The Group Policy Editor is the easiest way to disable deleting browser history, but not all versions of Windows have access to that tool. If you’re using the Home version of any Windows, you likely do not have the Group Policy Editor installed, and should use these instructions.

    • Press the Windows key + R, type gpedit.msc, and press Enter. If the Group Policy Editor opens, click here to see instructions for it. If it can’t be found, continue reading this section.
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    Press .the Windows key + R, type regedit, and press Enter. This will open the Registry Editor.
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    Use the tree on the left to navigate. Expand it to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\.

    • If you want to disable history deleting for just a specific user instead of all users, log into that user’s account and select the HKEY_CURRENT_USER key instead of HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE.
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    Select .Microsoft and then right-click in the right frame. Select “New” → “Key” and type Internet Explorer.
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    Open the new .Internet Explorer folder in the left frame. Right-click in the right frame, select “New” → “Key” and type Control Panel.
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    Open the new .Control Panel folder in the left frame. Right-click in the right frame and select “New” → “DWORD”. Name it DisableDeleteBrowsingHistory and press Enter.
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    Double-click the new DWORD to open its properties. Change the “Value data” field to 1 and close it.
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    Try deleting your Internet Explorer history. You’ll notice that the Delete… button and the “Delete browsing history on exit” box have been grayed out, and there is a message on the bottom informing the user that “Some settings are managed by your system administrator”.[1]

    • All users on the computer will be affected. You can return to normal by deleting the DisableDeleteBrowsingHistory DWORD.
2

Using the Group Policy Editor

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    Press .the Windows key + R, type gpedit.msc, and press Enter. If the Local Group Policy Editor doesn’t load, use the previous method.
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    Navigate using the directory tree in the left frame. Expand the folder to open the following location: Computer Configuration\Administrative Templates\Windows Components\Internet Explorer\.

    • If you want to disable history deleting for just a specific user instead of all users, log into that user’s account and select the User Configuration folder instead of Computer Configuration.
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    Double-click the .Delete Browsing History folder. You can find this in the left frame after expanding the Internet Explorer folder.
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    Double-click the “Prevent access to Delete Browsing History” setting. Select the “Enabled” option and then click Apply.
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    Try deleting your Internet Explorer history. You’ll notice that the Delete… button and the “Delete browsing history on exit” box have been grayed out, and there is a message on the bottom informing the user that “Some settings are managed by your system administrator”.

    • All users on the computer will be affected. You can return to normal by opening the Local Group Policy Editor and changing “Prevent access to Delete Browsing History” back to “Not configured” or “Disabled”.[2]

 

 

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