For one reason or another, your computer or mobile phone’s browser(s) may be accessible to many users be it friends, family and/or co-workers. In this case, you might want to maintain a close watch on every activity or site visited on your browser by any third-party user.
Basically, all anyone needs to do is to clear/delete browsing history and close the browser, and their tracks would be covered. However, there have been significant upgrades to “browser privacy” over the years. This has enabled proprietary users to keep track of all third-party access, regarding sites visited on browsers.
Essentially, you can now disable the “delete or clear browser history” option on your browser. In this article, we’ll be enlightening you on how to prevent users from deleting cookies and browser history on Firefox, Chrome and Edge.
How to stop users from deleting internet history
Prevent users from deleting history in Firefox
Mozilla Firefox is, without doubt, one of the most durable browsers available. As such, it is one of the most used. Basically, the browser comes with a default “auto-clear” option, which deletes your browsing history once you exit the browser.
To disable this function and keep your browser history stored on the browser, follow the steps outlined below.
Method One: Lock (Disable) the “Clear Browsing History on Exit” option
- Open your Firefox browser and navigate to the “Firefox” icon at the top right corner, and then click on “Options”
- Navigate to “Privacy” and click on it.
- Under “Privacy“, go to “History“.
- Under “Firefox will:” drop-down, select “Use custom settings for history” option.
- Uncheck the “Always use private browsing mode box”
- Check the “Remember my browsing and download history” box
- Check “Remember search and form history” and “Accept cookies from sites” tickbox
- On the “Accept third-party cookies” drop-down menu, select “Always”
- Under the “Keep Until” drop-down menu, select “they expire”
- Uncheck the “Clear history when Firefox closes” box
- Save your privacy preferences by clicking “Ok” at the bottom of your screen.
With the above highlighted steps, you’ll be able to view every site visited by third-party users. However, users can still clear their browser history before exiting Firefox. In this case, you won’t be able to access the browser history.
Nevertheless, you can make use of Firefox‘s “about:config” option to modify certain privacy functions, aimed at discouraging users from clearing browser history. Below is a configurative function for elongating browser history’s expiration period.
Method Two: Use About:config to set maximum number of pages to retain in history
- Navigate to “about:config” on your Firefox browser
- Open a new configuration by clicking the + icon
- Select “New” and “Integer”
- Input the code: places.history.expiration.max pages
- Input your desired number of pages.
- Save changes
With this, you can set maximum pages in their hundreds. Hence, you are able to retain your browser history for years.
Note: However, it should be noted that the “about:config” option is not limited to the above outlined function. Basically, you can customize virtually all Firefox options with it.
Lastly, it is important to point that there is no defined method to prevent users from deleting cookies and browser history on Firefox. As such, to monitor web traffic, especially at work, you may have to adopt the services of a proxy server or you can simply password key sections (like the privacy section) of your browser. You can also also use extensions and/or plugins.
Prevent users from deleting history in Chrome
Google Chrome, though not a default browser of any known computer brand, is arguably the most reliable web browser. It is, by a long stretch the most widely used browser today.
Method One: Modify Google Chrome privacy settings
First and foremost, you need to modify your privacy settings to save all cookies and data on your Chrome browser, and ensure you can access every information on your browser history. To do this, simply follow the steps below.
- Open your Chrome and navigate to the menu option (denoted by “…”) at the top right corner.
- Tap on “Settings”
- Under “Settings”, select ” Advanced Settings”
- Select “Content Setting”
- Navigate to “Cookies” and check the “Allow local data to be set” box
- Scroll down and uncheck the “Block third party cookies” box
With the above steps, you’ld be able to view the history (sites visited) on your browser, provided the users fail to clear the browser history. However, to ensure you keep abreast of sites visited via your browser, you may have to disable the “delete browsing history” option on your Chrome.
In light of the foregoing, Google Chrome does not offer any straightforward method for disabling browser history. This is unlike the Internet Explorer, which offers a direct option to prevent users from deleting cookies and browser history. Nevertheless, there are few options (hacks & tweaks) which have been tried in the past.
Method Two: Using Google Apps Admin Console
- Under the Google’s C-Panel (Google Apps Admin Console), navigate to “Device Management”
- Under “Device Management”, go to “Chrome Management”
- Select “User Settings” and navigate to “Security”
- Under the “Incognito Mode” drop-down menu, select “Disallow Incognito Mode”
- Scroll down to the “Browser History” drop-down option and select “Always save browser history”
This is relatively a rudimentary method, and any user with a mid-level tech know-how would easily by-pass it and clear the browser history. Nevertheless, you can also try the method below.
Method Three: Blacklist “History Frame” & “Clear Browser Data Frame”
Note: This is also a function of Google Apps Admin Console
- Under C-Panel, click on “Device Management”
- Select “Chrome Management”, then navigate to ” User Setting”.
- Locate “URL Blacklist”, under “URL Blocking”
- In the URL Blacklist boxes, enter “chrome://settings/clearBrowserData/”, “chrome://settings-frame/clearBrowserData”, “Chrome://history-frame/”, and “chrome://history/
- “Save” changes.
This method has been proven to work on old Chrome versions. With newer versions, however, users are easily able to work around it and successfully clear history. Moreover, it only works when a user signs into Chrome with his/her Google account.
Method Four: Use Google History Extension
- Get a Google History Extension and install it on your computer
- Link it to your Chrome account
This records all sites visited via Chrome and you’ll be able to access browsing history, even after the user has cleared it.
Note: Setting Chrome to “Incognito mode” effectively renders this method useless. Also, if a user logs out of the Chrome account, he/she can easily clear his/her browser history, without leaving any trace.
Lastly, you can easily block any inappropriate site on your Chrome browser, especially with the use of “OpenDNS” (and a host of other tools). With this, no user will be able to access blacklisted site(s) via Chrome on your PC.
Prevent users from deleting browsing history in Edge
Edge is the default Microsoft browser for Windows 10 computer systems. Technically, it is a form of “advanced Internet Explorer”. However, unlike Internet Explorer, Edge browser doesn’t have a clear-cut option to prevent users from deleting cookies and browser history.
Nevertheless, you are afforded the opportunity of disabling the “Clear Browsing Data on Exit” option. With this, every user’s browsing history is stored, and unless a user deletes his/her browsing history before exiting the browser, you can view every site accessed via your browser.
- READ ALSO: The 14 best Edge extensions to download
Method 1: Disable “Clear Browsing Data on Exit” on Edge
- Launch Microsoft Edge web browser
- Click on the three dots (…) menu, and then click on settings
- In the settings bar, under ‘Clear browsing data’, click on ‘choose what to clear.
- Uncheck the Browsing history tickbox, and then toggle off the ‘always clear this when i close the browser‘ option
- Exit Microsoft Edge afterwards.
Note: This method only works with a set of Windows 10 computers, specifically Windows 10 Education & Windows 10 Pro Enterprise.
Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge, as emphasized above, do not provide clearly-defined options to prevent users from deleting cookies and browser history. There are, however, various forms of hacks and tweaks, which, if properly implemented, would restrict or out rightly prevent third-party users from deleting browser history.
Some of these tweaks and hacks range from “extending browser history expiration period ” to “disabling default clearing of browser history on exit”.
Bottom line, there is no clear-cut method for disabling delete browsing history on Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge. The only browser that supports this function is the Internet Explorer. Hence, if you want to have unfettered access to your kids or employees’ browsing history, Internet Explorer is the ideal browser for you.
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