Covering Your Tracks

You might not be aware of it, but you can easily be mistakenly or purposely exposed on your computer by your friends, family, or other people you might not want to know about you, even after you've stopped using it. In fact, with Netscape and Internet Explorer for Windows 3.1, 95 or 98, I know of 8 ways people can view what you were looking at. I'm not as familiar with macs but some of these holes in privacy probably apply. Yikes! I'm an advocate for internet privacy, and don't believe other people have a right to see where you have been surfing. So here are some solutions:

Location Bar History

In most PC browsers, there's a little arrow next to your location bar where you type web addresses. Click on it and it will display either a list of recently typed addresses or recently visited addresses. A user can click on any site on the list and go right to it. One solution is to flood the list out with tame URLs. A better one is this:

If you have Netscape 4.x, you can just click on "clear location bar" in preferences. Or, if it's 4.6, "clear history" will do the same thing. I forget when they combined the clear location bar button and clear history button to do the same thing, but if your preferences has a clear location bar button, click it.

For Internet Explorer 4.0 or 5.0, "clear history" in internet options will also clear the location bar.

If you have Netscape or Explorer 3.x, follow these instructions:

Close all browser windows. (copy these instructions down and do this later...You're not done visiting my site yet!) :-)

Click on "run" in the start menu.

Type in "regedit" and hit enter. This will open a program that allows you to edit your registry.

*Note* Screwing with the registry can cause major problems on your computer, though I'm sure this stuff written below won't. If you want to be extra safe, you can back up your registry first, by clicking on "Export registry file" in the file menu, but there's no need to do this if you follow these instructions carefully.

Follow the path below, by first double clicking on the folder named HKey_Current_User, and then double clicking on the folder named Software, etc.

For Netscape: My Computer\HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Netscape\Netscape Navigator\URL History

For Explorer: My Computer\HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Typed URLs

Select any of the incriminating URLs, and hit delete, and then hit ok. Note: Deleting one URL for explorer might make it delete all of them. I don't know why.

Close out of Registry Editor, and relaunch your browser. Voila! Unfortunately, having a blank location bar list might be a little suspicious, so if you want to be extra careful you can go to a few tame sites to fill it up again.


AutoComplete is a newer function that attempts to guess at what URL you're typing in and fill in the rest automatically for you. Netscape and Internet Explorer 4.x keep a list of typed URLs for AutoComplete, meaning your mom can start typing in the address to ebay and have fill in if you've typed it in earlier. Internet Explorer 5.0 is even worse in that it uses your entire history file as its autocomplete database, and lists all the possibilities under the URL bar, meaning your mom can type in and have it list your previous search for teen crossdressing,

Luckily, Microsoft and Netscape were smart enough this time to let you turn AutoComplete off, and clearing your history will also clear the AutoComplete list.

Forms AutoComplete

In Internet Explorer 5.0, There's a new kind of AutoComplete that also can remember form data and passwords, and clearing your history won't delete your forms and passwords autocomplete history. (nasty!) This means if you've searched for something private in a search engine, the next time you search it will be listed, and even if you've signed out of yahoo mail, if someone else uses yahoo mail it will list your username. To clear this and turn it off, go to Internet Options, go to the Content tab, click on AutoComplete, and uncheck what you want to turn off and click on Clear Forms and Clear Passwords.

History File

If someone's really nosy, they can access your URL history file. Pressing control-H right now will show your most recent history, which is just a little bit of your history file, but people can also easily read your full history file, which lists every site you've been to since you first installed your browser or cleared the file. That way they can see wherever you've been. If you think someone might view your history file, you can clear it in preferences or internet options, either by pressing "clear history" or "clear cache" depending on your version of your browser. People also tell you not to screw with your netscape.hst file, but I've never had a problem just deleting it.

Visited Links

Links to places you've been to turn purple. If your dad happens to stumble upon a link to this site, it will be purple and he'll know you've been here. You can click on "Expire Links Now" in Netscape or simply Clear History in Netscape and Explorer to get rid of this.

Disk Cache / Temporary Internet Files

If someone's really hunting you down, or if you're really paranoid, keep in mind that copies of the pages you've visited are stored on your hard drive. If someone goes through these files or searches for files containing the word "crossdress," they can find what you were looking at. Parent snoop programs often have a database of "bad" words that bring up files that contain them on your computer. If you want to be really careful, you can "Clear Memory Cache," "Clear Disk Cache," (for Netscape), and "Delete Files" under Temporary Internet Files in Explorer. Then again, if you're this paranoid, or your parents are this nosy, you might as well come out.

Yahoo and other Member Services

If you have incriminating account names like "juliateencd" on Yahoo or other member services, they can use cookies and javascript to either say "Hi Juliateencd!" or even remember your password if you let them. Be sure to sign out from these accounts when you're done using them. On Yahoo, be sure to sign out and then "sign out completely" if other people use Yahoo services. I wouldn't recommend disabling cookies, because then your Yahoo account won't work. And never, never, disable Javascript. This is how I was caught by my mom, because I disabled Javascript while signed in so it didn't sign me out, and then my mom had full access to my email account.

Windows 95 and 98: The Documents Menu and the Recycle Bin

If you download, create, read, or edit incriminating media or document files, note that it will show up in your documents menu in the start menu. That way it's just a click away! Click on the start menu, then settings, then taskbar, and then the start menu programs tab to clear the documents menu. If anyone asks, just say you were reducing clutter or freeing up memory or something. And if you need to delete files, either really delete them (hold down shift) or empty the recycle bin after you've recycled them.

Compuserve 2000

If you have Compuserve 2000 or 4.0 with I.E.5, clearing the history in I.E.5 and in compuserve will not clear compuserve's own integrated location bar history. In Compuserve 2000, you have to go to preferences>toolbar clear history now to clear it, (checking "clear history trail after disconnecting or switching member name" is also a good idea) and I don't know how to clear it in 4.0. Also, I've had weird things happen between Compuserve's browser and I.E. 5 itself, like histories and cookies being shared. I can't explain how it works, but watch out for it.

Campus, Library, and other Public Computers

Don't go to any sites that have incriminating evidence that link to you directly on secured public computers. By that I mean, don't go to your crossdressing site with pictures of you on a computer that has foolproof, at ease, etc. On such computers sometimes it is impossible to do any of the things I've mentioned such as editing the registry or clearing the history, and administrators are more likely to snoop the history files, etc. If you do get into such a predicament, let me know as I have some experience in hacking foolproof and at ease. Hehe.

Whew! It's all kind of ridiculous, huh? All for a little bit of privacy.

Back to Table of Contents