How to: Check Your Computer’s History

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How to: Check Your
Computer’s History
Quick Start Guide & Safety Tips
© Copyright Web Wise Kids. 2009. All Rights Reserved

WHAT IS COMPUTER HISTORY? Your computer contains records that can tell you a lot about the types of activities your children use it for. Checking the computer’s history, lists of downloads, and temporary Internet files are all excellent ways to stay informed about the places your children visit when they use the web.

on your computer. If you discover that your computer has a history that is consistently empty, your children could be deleting the list of sites they visit, or perhaps your browser has an auto-delete feature enabled. It is also wise to look in the Windows Recycle Bin to see what your kids are throwing away and why.

HISTORY The history is the name for the lists of websites that have been accessed from your computer. Be aware that your children may use a different browser than you do, so make sure you check every installed browser that is in use
To see which websites have been visited from a computer or cell phone, follow the steps listed for your specific web browser.

WHAT YOU CAN DO To see which websites have been visited from a computer or cell phone, follow these steps:

Internet Explorer 8 In Internet Explorer 8, look for the star icon with the word Favorites. Click on Favorites and select History. As a shortcut, you can also open Internet Explorer and hit CTRL and H simultaneously on your keyboard.

Mozilla Firefox In Mozilla Firefox, find the Menu bar and click on the word History (or just hit CTRL and H simultaneously on your keyboard). Now click on Show All History. The list of sites that have been visited will be sorted into folders organized by date. To view a list of all website names, enter a character in the "Search History" box that is common to all entries, such as a colon (":") or forward slash


In Safari for home computers, open Safari, click History at the top of the screen and choose Show All History. On a smart phone, go to the Safari app and tap the bookmark button at the bottom of the screen (looks like an open book). The first item on the list is History.

In AOL, simply open up the AOL browser and locate the Navigation Bar at the top of the screen (this is the long narrow box where you type web addresses). To the right of the Navigation Bar is a tiny arrow pointing down. If you click on that arrow, a list of the last 300 websites visited will appear.

NOTE: If your child uses Opera Mini, Skyfire, or other mobile web browsers on a smart phone, consult your owner’s manual for instructions on checking the browser’s history.

To see a list of photos, software, and other media that has been downloaded onto your computer (called download history), follow these steps:
For all PC computers, go to your Windows Start menu at the bottom left of the screen. Click on Start and then All Programs. Select Accessories. Select System Tools. Select Disk Cleanup. Select the drive you want to scan and click OK. In a few moments, Windows will assemble a list of all downloaded files. Click on Temporary Internet Files and click View Files.
In Internet Explorer 8, find the Menu bar and click on the word Tools. Now go to Internet Options, then General, then Browsing History, then Settings, then View Files. This is also the place where you can customize how many days the browser will store your history.
In Mozilla Firefox, click on Tools in the Menu bar and click on Downloads or just open up Firefox and hit CTRL and J on the keyboard.
For additional assistance with these and safety features, try typing a query such as “Check history on Internet Explorer 8“ into your web browser to see video tutorials and obtain additional information.

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How to: Check Your Computer’s History