Preface: My operating system for my desktop computer is Microsoft Windows XP Professional Service Pack 2 and my internet browser is Mozilla Firefox version 3.0.13. My operating system for my laptop computer is Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition Service Pack 2 and my internet browser is Mozilla Firefox version 3.0.13.
Is there any way that I can recover deleted web browsing history on my computer?
I was on a webpage a little over a week ago on either the 3rd or 4th of September which I now realize I really need to get back to. Unfortunately, I have no memory of what the address was and it appears that it's impossible to re-discover it via web search, as I've tried for several hours straight with no luck whatsoever. Even more unfortunately, when exiting Firefox a few days ago it asked me if I wanted to clear my browsing history, cache, cookies etc and I clicked "OK" without really thinking and now all the browsing history from before then is gone.
Now, the first thing I did when I realized my predicament was googling for help, and of all the sites out there giving answers on how to recover deleted web history, this one seems to be the most prominent and reliable:
This site says there are two ways to do it: a.) Using "System Restore" to go back to a time when the files were still there or b.) Using a program to read the index.dat files in the computer.
Since there are a lot of important documents and files on this computer and I haven't used System Restore before, I tried using it on an old laptop of mine first to see what the results would be. Before I did, I checked the current web history on the laptop; it spanned about 5 days, from September 5th to September 10th. (I did this on September 10th). I restored it to the date of August 19th (2009) and after loading for a while it booted up with a desktop full of items and folders that I had deleted since August 19th, which was encouraging, but when I opened up Firefox and checked History, it was exactly the same as it had been before doing the System Restore, with the history still showing the same web addresses from September 5th through September 10th instead of showing the addresses I had visited on August 19th and prior. I'm not sure if there's some other way I should be viewing the history other than just going to the System Restore point, opening Firefox in the restored date, and selecting History - Show All History, but apparently the result of doing this yields the same History results as it does before the System Restore is put into place. Therefore I didn't feel it necessary to try this on my regular computer since it apparently doesn't work in giving you your history from the date you restored to and also since doing a System Restore on my laptop led to a whole new set of problems for that computer; read my thread about THAT here
So, unless anyone can provide insight as to how else System Restore can be used effectively to retrieve deleted Web Browsing History, it looks like that option is out.
Now the second thing that the wikihow page suggests to do is to download a program that will read the index.dat files in the computer and give you various histories. It says "Super WinSpy is one such reader, but it's infected." The fact that they say "it's infected" right after providing a link to download it seems a little odd to me and leads me to believe that it's not something I want to download or install on my computer. I googled Super WinSpy and found some pretty mixed results, many of which said it should be avoided at all costs and some of which looked rather sketchy. It then says to do a google search for "index.dat reader," which I did, also to sketchy and mixed results, so at this point I decided I'd better check here first where there are actual computer experts who can let me know what to do. Lastly, going the index.dat route, I did some research on index.dat files and it would appear that they only work with Internet Explorer, a browser that I never use, and the URL I need was viewed in Firefox, not IE.
So that brings me to where I am now. Sorry if this post is a little lengthy, I wanted to try and include all the details.
Can anyone help with this in any way?
Thanks in advance for any responses,