Windows XP
Windows Vista
Windows 7
Windows Azure
Windows Server
Windows Phone
Windows 7

Administering Internet Explorer : Managing Windows Internet Explorer Settings (part 1) - Managing Cache

6/19/2011 9:33:11 AM
Windows Internet Explorer 8 is a built-in application in Windows 7. On the surface, it's a web browser used to surf the Internet. However, it has many extra capabilities you should understand.


Internet Explorer version 8 is installed by default with Windows 7. Windows Vista included Internet Explorer version 7, and Windows XP included Internet Explorer version 6. It is possible to install Internet Explorer version 8 on older operating systems.

Because it's a built-in application, it's important to understand Internet Explorer settings and capabilities. Knowing how to manipulate these settings will help you support your enterprise Window 7 users. This section covers the following settings and capabilities:

  • Managing cache

  • InPrivate Browsing

  • InPrivate Filtering

  • SmartScreen Filter

  • Security zones

  • Protected Mode

1. Managing Cache

Windows Internet Explorer maintains different types of information for each web page you visit. Much of this stored data is used to make your next visit quicker. The data is stored in a location commonly called cache.


Cache can be either hardware cache or software cache. For example, a hard drive includes memory used to cache data to improve performance. Cache on a hard drive is hardware cache. Cache used by IE is software cache. IE stores these files in a location on the hard drive so that it doesn't have to retrieve them over the Internet. Retrieving the files from the local cache is much more efficient than retrieving them from the Internet.

Data stored in cache includes

  • List of web pages by URL

  • Copies of web pages

  • Cookies

  • Images such as .jpeg and .gif

  • Media files such as music or video files

  • Style sheets including cascading style sheets (CSS) and Extensible Stylesheet Language (XSL) style sheets

  • Script files

  • Any data that is typed into forms if AutoComplete settings are enabled

  • Any saved passwords that are automatically filled in when you sign on to a website

  • Some installation applications that were downloaded for immediate installation

Forms data and passwords that are saved depend on how IE is configured. Figure 1 shows the settings page you can use to enable or disable the data entered into web page forms. You can access this page via Internet Options by clicking Tools => Internet Options from any open IE window.

Figure 1. IE AutoComplete settings

1.1. Viewing Cache Contents

You can view the files stored in cache. Similarly, if someone else has access to your system, they can view the files stored in cache.

The default cache location for IE is C:\Users\%username%\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Temporary Internet Files.

AppData is a hidden folder, so it probably won't show up unless you've already changed the settings. You can cause hidden files to appear in Windows Explorer by clicking Organize and then choosing Folder And Search Options, selecting the View tab, and picking Show Hidden Files, Folders, And Drives.

The Organize drop-down menu is on the left of the Windows Explorer toolbar.

You will then be able to browse to C:\Users\%username%\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows.

However, the Temporary Internet Files folder is a system folder. You need to enable the display of protected operating system files before you'll see it. You can do this from the same View tab that allows you to enable viewing of hidden files and folders. Deselect Hide Protected Operating System Files (Recommended).

The display will look similar to Figure 2. The two arrows show the settings needed to display the contents of cache.

Figure 2. Configuring Windows Explorer settings to show hidden and system files

Cookies are simple text files that are written to your hard drive by many websites. Cookies are used to track user activity and provide targeted advertising. When you visit a website, cookies are written to the system. When you visit the website or related sites again, additional data is gathered on your activities. When you return to the website, the cookie is read, and it provides the website with information about you.

As an example, if you've ever purchased something online, a cookie was probably written to your system that could identify you when you return to that site. When you return, the cookie is read, and the website knows who you are.

Cookies are stored in the \Users\%username%\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Cookies folder.

History data includes all the sites a user has visited. It is stored in the \Users\%username%\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\History folder. You can also click the Favorites button on the toolbar in the browser and select the History tab to view this data.

When a web page prompts a user to download a file, the file is stored in the Windows\Downloaded Program Files folder.

The Registry also holds some data related to IE usage. Although this requires you to dig a little deeper, you may need access to this information at some point. It's certainly important to realize how easy it is for an attacker to gain access to this information if they have unrestricted physical access to the computer. The three relevant IE keys are as follows:

IE Typed URLs

This key shows URLs that a user typed, as opposed to links that a user clicked. You can access this from the HKEY_Current_User\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\TypedURLs node.

IE Forms AutoComplete

This key includes information stored by AutoComplete. Although the information isn't in clear text, there are tools available that can read the data. You can access this key from the HKEY_Current_User\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\IntelliForms\Storage1 node.

IE Password AutoComplete

This key includes stored passwords used by AutoComplete. Although the information isn't in clear text, there are tools available that can read the data. You can access this key from the HKEY_Current_User\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\IntelliForms\Storage2 node.

The contents of these folders depend on the settings for IE. For example, if Forms is deselected in AutoComplete, there won't be a Storage1 node.

1.2. Clearing Cache

You can clear cache by manipulating the Internet Options page. Figure 3 shows the page you can use to delete browsing history. You can get to this page by clicking Tools => Internet Options, and clicking the Delete button in the Browsing History area.

Figure 3. Deleting browsing history

Notice that you can choose what data to delete. Exercise 1 shows you how to view the current contents of cache and then clear it.

Exercise: Viewing and Clearing Cache

  1. Click Start => Computer to start Windows Explorer.

  2. Browse to the C:\Users\username folder, where username is the name of the account you used to log on. If you're not sure what user account you're logged on with, open a command prompt and type in whoami.

  3. Click Organize => Folder And Search Options. Select the View tab.

  4. Select Show Hidden Files, Folders, Or Drives.

  5. Deselect Hide Protected Operating Files (Recommended).

  6. Browse to the C:\Users\%username%\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Temporary Internet Files folder. At this point, you can look around to see the files stored in cache.

    • View the cookies in this folder: \Users\%username%\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Cookies.

    • View the history data in this folder: \Users\%username%\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\History.

    • View downloaded files in this folder: Windows\Downloaded Program Files.

  7. Open Internet Explorer. Select Tools => Internet Options. The General tab should be selected.

  8. Click the Delete button.

  9. Select the browsing history that you want to delete, and click Delete.

Several Group Policy settings allow you to manipulate what a user can delete. Settings exist in both the User Configuration and Computer Configuration nodes. The settings are located in the Administrative Templates => Windows Components => Internet Explorer => Delete Browsing History node.

The following settings apply to at least IE version 8.0 in Windows 7:

  • Prevent Deleting Cookies

  • Prevent Deleting Web Sites That The User Has Visited

  • Configure Delete Browsing History In Exit

  • Prevent Deleting Temporary Internet Files

  • Prevent Deleting Favorites Site Data

Some settings were introduced with Windows Vista and require at least IE version 7.0:

  • Turn Off "Delete Browsing History" Functionality

  • Prevent Deleting Form Data

  • Prevent Deleting Passwords

Other -----------------
- Visual Basic 2010 : Reflection - Understanding Assemblies Metadata & Getting Assembly Information
- Visual Basic 2010 : Hosting WCF Services in Internet Information Services & Configuring Services with the Configuration Editor
- Supporting Mobile Windows 7 Users : Understanding DirectAccess & Using BranchCache
- Microsoft Excel 2010 - Creating and Modifying Charts - Changing Chart Titles
- Microsoft Excel 2010 - Creating and Modifying Charts - Changing Chart Gridlines and Axes
- Microsoft PowerPoint 2010 : Working Together on Office Documents - Working with SharePoint Workspaces
- Microsoft PowerPoint 2010 : Working Together on Office Documents - Collaborating with Documents on Windows Live
- Microsoft Visio 2010 : Starting a New Diagram from a Sample Diagram
- Microsoft Visio 2010 : Creating a New Diagram - Using AutoAdd and AutoDelete
- Microsoft Visio 2010 : Creating a New Diagram - Using AutoConnect and Quick Shapes
Video tutorials
- How To Install Windows 8 On VMware Workstation 9

- How To Install Windows 8

- How To Install Windows Server 2012

- How To Disable Windows 8 Metro UI

- How To Change Account Picture In Windows 8

- How To Unlock Administrator Account in Windows 8

- How To Restart, Log Off And Shutdown Windows 8

- How To Login To Skype Using A Microsoft Account

- How To Enable Aero Glass Effect In Windows 8

- How To Disable Windows Update in Windows 8

- How To Disable Windows 8 Metro UI

- How To Add Widgets To Windows 8 Lock Screen
programming4us programming4us
Popular tags
Microsoft Access Microsoft Excel Microsoft OneNote Microsoft PowerPoint Microsoft Project Microsoft Visio Microsoft Word Active Directory Biztalk Exchange Server Microsoft LynC Server Microsoft Dynamic Sharepoint Sql Server Windows Server 2008 Windows Server 2012 Windows 7 Windows 8 windows Phone 7 windows Phone 8
programming4us programming4us
Popular keywords
HOW TO Swimlane in Visio Visio sort key Pen and Touch Creating groups in Windows Server Raid in Windows Server Exchange 2010 maintenance Exchange server mail enabled groups Debugging Tools Collaborating
programming4us programming4us
Windows Vista
Windows 7
Windows Azure
Windows Server
Windows Phone