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How to Prevent Google Chrome From Storing Browser History

Prevent Google Chrome From Storing Browser HistoryGoogle Chrome has recently become the Web browser of choice for many Mac and PC users. It’s fast, extensible, and relatively secure. But it has a notable flaw: unlike most browsers, Chrome has no user setting to prevent or automatically clear the browser history. Users can always manually clear the history, but doing so takes four clicks through three menus; hardly ideal. Luckily, there’s a trick we can use to prevent browsing history from being recorded in Chrome. Here’s how.

Chrome stores the browser history in a file on your computer’s drive. If we limit Chrome’s ability to modify that file, it won’t be able to record any web addresses. To start, first go into Chrome and manually clear your history by pressing Command-Y for OS X or Control-H for Windows. Click Clear Browsing Data, make sure the box “Clear Browsing History” is checked, and then select “from the beginning of time” from the drop-down menu. Press the Clear Browsing Data button at the bottom of the window to complete the process. This gives us a blank slate from which to start.

Now we have to restrict access to Chrome’s history file. First, quit Chrome to prevent any conflicts, and then find Chrome’s history file. In OS X, this file is stored at the following location:

~/Library/Application Support/Google/Chrome/Default

In Windows, it’s:

C:\Users\[User Name]\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default

Note that you may need to enable Windows Explorer’s “show hidden files” option in order to see the AppData folder.

In either of these locations, you’ll find a file called “History” with no file extension. This is the file we need to lock. In OS X, right click on the file and choose Get Info (or highlight the file and press Command-I). Under “General,” check the box for Locked. This will prevent Chrome from modifying this file and thus stop any future browsing history from being recorded.

For Windows, right click on the History file and choose Properties. In the Properties window, check the box for Read-Only and then press Apply.

Once you’ve locked the History file, open Chrome and start browsing. Then head to your history list and you’ll see that Chrome reports “No history entries found.” That’s it! If you want to start recording your browsing history again, simply repeat the appropriate steps for Mac or Windows above and uncheck the locked or read-only boxes.

At this point, some of you are undoubtedly asking, “why not just use Incognito Mode?” It’s true that Incognito Mode will prevent Chrome from recording browsing history, but it also blocks cookies and interferes with many extensions. If you want the benefit of extensions and cookies, such as having websites remember your account info, but simply don’t want your browsing history recorded, the method described above is a good compromise.

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  • Donna

    Very clear, thank you.

  • nondimwit

    Really, only totally ignorant people are using Chrome. No cookie-by-cookie basis choice, no session cookie control, no easy way to prevent history accumulation,etc, etc…

    • waaromdan

      So what’s your alternative then?

      • nondimwit

        Firefox. The ONLY browser company that stood up to the NSA.

        • tom

          Used to use Firefox. Would like to still use it, but got tired of the flash plug-in crashing at least once every day and the broken way it interprets HTML5 on YouTube.

          • nondimwit

            I feel your pain, FF is by far the worse for Flash.

  • http://www.protechlover.com/ Yogiraj Mishra

    doesn’t work anymore

  • SomeRandomName


  • SomeRandomName


  • SomeRandomName


  • person


    • http://www.tekrevue.com/ TekRevue

      As is explained in the last paragraph, Incognito Mode is not always the best option. This is a way to block history without the limitations of Incognito Mode.

      • AA

        Can’t locate Google in Library?

  • Paul Gammage

    Top stuff! Finally, thanks to the advice on here, managed to stop Google Chrome’s ‘History’. Also, the annoying ‘Last Visited’ history has been stopped with this: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/no-most-visited/ipbodnfjeoebegmlpdfccmmpenaagdaa?utm_source=chrome-app-launcher-info-dialog

    As for Mr nondimwit: I don’t give a toss about Firefox standing up to the N.S.A. It crashes, often. Whereas I can’t remember the last time Chrome crashed. Also, I’d rather be a ‘totally ignorant person’, than an arrogant, rude, hubristic know-it-all with the social skills of a hyena.

  • animatedw00d

    The easiest way for me is as follows: type Google/history. Then click on the cog symbol on your right side of the screen and go to settings. There you will click on show more settings. Then you will click off the manage settings that affect Google history that is stored in the browser history. Note: this only effects the browser history, and not the history setting where you would go incognito for example. To delete that history, you would have to do it manually.