Taking all of the actions on this page may not prevent an abuser from discovering your email and Internet activity. The safest way to find information on the Internet is to go to a safer computer. Some suggestions would be your local library, a friend’s house or your workplace. Other safety suggestions: Change your password often, do not pick obvious words or numbers for your password, and make sure to include a combination of letters and numbers for your password.

How can an abuser discover your Internet activities? As a rule, Internet browsers will save certain information as you surf the Internet. This includes images from websites visited, words entered into search engines and a trail (‘history’) that reveals the sites you have visited. Below are instructions on how to minimize the chances of someone finding out that you have visited this website.

Warning about deleting cookies and address histories It’s important to state that there is a risk involved in removing data from your computer. For instance, if your partner uses online banking and has a saved password, then if you clear the cookies on your PC, your partner will realize you’ve done so, because their password will no longer be saved. Also, your partner may notice if the address history on the PC has been cleared, and this may raise suspicion.

How do I know which browser I’m using? If you know what browser you are using, then skip to the relevant instructions below. If you do not know the type of browser you are using, click on Help on the toolbar at the top of the browser screen. A drop down menu will appear, the last entry will say About Internet Explorer, About Mozilla Firefox, or something similar. The entry refers to which browser type you are using – you should then refer to the relevant instructions below.

Instructions on how to delete history & cache from your Computer:

Internet Explorer 6
(Find your version by selecting Help in the Internet explorer and clicking About Internet Explorer)
Click on the Tools menu and select Internet Options… On the General page, under Temporary Internet Files, click on Delete Cookies and then OK. Click on Delete Files, put a tick in the box labeled Delete all offline content and click OK. Under History, click on Clear History and then OK. Now look at the top of the window and click on the Content tab, select AutoComplete and finally, Clear Forms.

Internet Explorer 7
Click on the Tools menu and select Internet Options. In the General page under Browser History, select the Delete… button. Either select and Delete each section: Temporary internet files; Cookies, History; Forms data and Passwords; or select the Delete all… button at the bottom to clear everything.

Firefox 1
Click on Tools and then Options, then click on Privacy. Click on the Clear button next to History; Saved Form Information; Cookies and Cache.

Firefox 2
Click on Tools and then Options, then click on Privacy. At private data select settings, ensure that all boxes have been selected and then click on Clear Now

Firefox 3
Click on Tools, then on Clear Private Data… Check all of the boxes, and select “Clear Private Data Now.” If you do not want to delete stored passwords, uncheck “Saved Passwords” before clearing.

Netscape 7
Click on the Edit menu and select Preferences. In the left pane, expand History then in the right area click Clear History. Next, expand Privacy and Security and select Cookies then on the button Manage Stored Cookies and in the new dialog box click Remove All Cookies. Then repeat similar for Forms and the Manage Stored Form Data button and the same for Passwords and the Manage Stored Passwords button. Additionally, you may Manage Forms, Cookies and Passwords individually from the Tools menu – but not the temporary page Cache files.

Click on Tools and then Preferences. Click on the Advanced tab and then the History section on the left-hand side. Click the Clear button to the right of Addresses and the Empty Now button to the right of Disk cache. Opera does not have an easy wasy to clear all Cookies.

Resetting Safari clears the history, empties the cache, clears the Downloads window, and removes all cookies. It also removes any saved user names and passwords or other AutoFill data and clears Google/Yahoo search entries. To do this go to the Safari menu at top left hand screen. Choose Reset Safari, and click Reset.

Deleting your browsing history:

Internet browsers also keep a record of all the web pages you visit. This is known as a ‘history’. To delete history for Internet Explorer and Netscape/Firefox hold down the Ctrl key on the keyboard, then press the H key (Crtl, Alt and H for Opera). Find any entries that say www.womensaid.org.uk, right click and choose Delete. For Safari, select History at top of the screen and choose “Clear History”

Downloads: Whenever you download a file from a website, it is saved somewhere on your computer. Always make sure to right click and Save As… downloadable files from a website, and save them on the desktop. Browsers like Firefox have a download handler that tracks the files you save from the internet — always remember to hit “Clear List” after downloading. (If you don’t see this window, turn it on by going to Tools > Options, then checking “Show the Downloads Window.” Also make sure to check “Always ask me where to save files,” so that you don’t accidentally download a file to a spot you cannot find.) Whenever you view a file on your computer, it stores a record of it in a folder called “Recent Documents.” You can delete this entry by going to the Start Menu, followed by Recent Documents. It will open up a drop-down menu — right click on the files you wish to remove, and hit “delete.”

E-mail: If an abuser sends you threatening or harassing e-mail messages, they may be printed and saved as evidence of this abuse.

Be aware of how records of your emails can be accessed:

• Any email you have previously sent will be stored in Sent Items. Go to sent items and delete emails you don’t want a person to see
• If you started an email but didn’t finish it, it might be in your drafts folder. Go to the draft folder to delete it
• If you reply to any email, the original message will probably be in the body of the message – delete the email if you don’t want anyone to see your original message.
• When you delete an item in any email program (Outlook Express, Outlook, Thunderbird etc) it does not really delete the item – it moves the item to a folder called Deleted Items. You have to delete the items in Deleted Items to remove them completely
• If there’s a risk that your abuser may know how to access your emails, it’s a good idea to set up a new email account. Use a provider like Hotmail or Gmail for an account you can access from anywhere, and use a name that is not recognizable as you, for example bakedbeans@hotmail.com. Keep this email secret.

Toolbars: Toolbars such as Google, AOL and Yahoo keep a record of the search words you have typed into the toolbar search box. In order to erase all the search words you have typed in, you will need to check the individual instructions for each type of toolbar. For example, for the Google toolbar all you need to do is click on the Google icon, and choose “Clear Search History”.

General security: If you do not use a password to log on to your computer, someone else will be able to access your email and track your Internet usage. The safest way to find information on the Internet, would be at a local library or university, a friend’s house, or at work.