A Little More Privacy Over The Holidays

A Little More Privacy Over The Holidays

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When I borrowed my dad’s computer this weekend I noticed something strange – it seemed as if every web site I browsed to was advertising a new car. I figured my dad was probably shopping for a vehicle – and I was right. It wasn’t a big deal that I found this out, but it would have ruined the surprise if he had been shopping for, say, a present for me. These ads I saw were a result of online trackers following my dad and showing him ads that were targeting him.

There are some simple things that my dad could do to better protect his privacy from regularly deleting browsing history to blocking online trackers. Privacy is something to be mindful of, particularly when sharing your computer. And over the holidays, people tend to share PCs for things like checking email or a football score online. Ideally you should set up multiple accounts on your PC to help keep all of your personal information private; however, many don’t always do this. In such cases, Internet Explorer 9’s browser privacy features can help enhance your privacy while you browse online.

So, over the holidays if you find yourself on someone else’s computer or lend yours out, remember these privacy features built into Internet Explorer that can keep your browsing history more private.

When using someone else’s computer, use InPrivate Browsing Mode

If you’re browsing on someone’s computer you should start the browser in the “InPrivate” browsing mode. This way when you’re done browsing, just close the window and Internet Explorer will automatically delete any information associated with your browsing session, including cookies, temporary internet files, browsing history and more. To start the browser in this mode, open Internet Explorer and hold Ctrl + Shift + P. Alternatively, you can click on the gears icon, go to “Safety”, and click on “InPrivate Browsing” or just launch InPrivate Browsing from the bottom of your new tab page.


If sharing your computer, set your browser to automatically delete browsing history

The easiest way to assert your privacy is to clean up your browser’s history and cache on a regular basis. To make this easier you can set Internet Explorer to delete browsing history every time you exit. Just go to “Internet Options” and on the General tab check “Delete browsing history on exit.”


If you don’t want to delete all the information, Internet Explorer lets you preserve data from your favorite sites. Via the Settings menu, click on “Safety”, then “Delete Browsing History”, and check the “Preserve Favorites website data.” When you do this, Internet Explorer will not delete information associated with sites that you’ve added to your favorites list.


These features can help enhance your privacy by deleting information stored on your computer about your browsing history.

Turn on Tracking Protection in Internet Explorer 9

The other aspect to privacy is controlling online tracking. Information used to track you can be collected and stored online by trackers as well.

Tracking Protection is a feature built into Internet Explorer 9 that can help block such online tracking. All you need to do is to install a Tracking Protection List. These lists tell your browser to block certain servers and allow others. Severs that are blocked cannot communicate with your browser and collect information about you. These lists are maintained by independent organizations such as TrustE, EasyList, Abine, Privacy Choice and more. You can access the Tracking Protection List gallery by clicking on the Gears icon, “Safety”, “Tracking Protection”, and finally on the link “Get a Tracking Protection list online” in the window. Once there, simply click on the install link to install a Tracking Protection List.


The websites you visit collect information about you for various means – from providing targeted advertising to collecting usage data for site improvement. It’s not easy to tell that information about you is being collected either. Whether you choose to share this data should be up to you. There are over a billion Windows customers and some love sharing information while others value their privacy more. For those that want to keep their personal information more private, Internet Explorer contains powerful privacy features to limit online tracking. Try them out!

Anurag Pandit

Product Manager, Internet Explorer Team

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  • carusen
    23 Posts

    Those looking for a way to pin an InPrivate shortcut for Internet Explorer, should check out this tutorial:


    It makes it much easier to start a private browsing session.

    Also, for those of you looking to eliminate some of the ad blocks found on websites, you can set up your own AdBlock for Internet Explorer. This is how it is done:


  • Advertisements are an inevitable and unavoidable fact of the internet. I would rather them be made mildly interesting and personalised through tracking, than boring and irrelevant. Privacy is dead.

  • z5teve
    1 Posts

    Q: I read from a magazine if you use "OSK" (on screen keyboard) to input your credit card details hackers cant log your key strokes is that true?.