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Clear index.dat files manually in Windows XP

Even if you regularly clear your Internet History, Temp files, and cookies to keep ordinary snoops at bay, you're overlooking a very important detail: index.dat files. These hidden files contain information about your IE surfing history and your Outlook activity.

Index.dat files aren't only hidden, they're system files. Even if you select to show hidden files in your folder options, they remain unseen. To track down index.dat files, you need to know where to look.

File names and locations depend on which version of Internet Explorer you have. Assuming you run IE 4.0 or above, the file names will be "index.dat."

In WinXP, here's where you'll usually find them.

* C:\Documents and Settings\username\cookies

* C:\Documents and Settings\username\Local Settings\History

* C:\Documents and Settings\username\Local Settings\Temporary Internet Files

How to Clear index.dat:

1. Restart your computer in Safe Mode with Command Prompt. (Press F8 on startup and choose Safe Mode With Command Prompt.)

2. Log on as administrator. Enter your password.

3. Once you reach the command prompt, type "CD\" (no quotes) and hit Enter to get to your root directory.

4. Type "del index.dat /s" (no quotes) and hit Enter to erase all files named index.dat on your computer.

5. Type "shutdown -r" (no quotes) to restart your computer normally.

Your index.dat files will return once Windows boots up normally again, but they'll be empty! Have fun hiding your dirty little secrets.



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