Clear Firefox 3 Browsing History, Cache and Private Data

My last few articles focused on .  I figured while I’m in a “Security” frame of mind, I would capture the same process for Mozilla Firefox.  Like IE7, the process in Firefox is incredibly easy.  Personally, since you can also automate the process and have Firefox clear the cached data automatically each time you close the Firefox browser, I think it’s even better than IE’s process.  Yes yes yes, I know you can also configure IE to remove Temporary files on close but, from my testing, that’s all it does, whereas Firefox gives you more options and it’s configurable to clear cookies, history, etc. after you close Firefox.  Enough talk – let’s get to it!


First, let’s look at the MANUAL way to Clear Browsing History and Private Data in Firefox:


1. Open Firefox and Click Tools, Clear Private Data

TIP: You can also use the Keyboard Shortcuts by Pressing Ctrl+Shift+Del with Firefox open

Clear Firefox Browsing History and Stored Privacy Data


2. Check any or all items you want to clear/delete.  Click Clear Private Data Now and YOU’RE DONE!

Firefox Windows choosing which Browsing History to Delete


Now let’s review the How-To configure Firefox to Clear the Browsing History, Cache, Cookies, etc. each time you close the Firefox browser:


3. Click Tools, Options

Configure Firefox to Clear Browsing History when you close Firefox


4. Click the Privacy Tab, Check Box Always clear my private data when I close Firefox then Click Settings under Private Data to configure WHAT to clear

Configure Firefox to Clear Browsing History when you close Firefox


5. Click Each box/item you want to Delete as shown below then Click OK to Continue then OK Again to Save

Tip: Personally, for maximum privacy, I always delete the Cache, Cookies, and Browsing History at a minimum, but this is all just personal preference/level of security consciousness/paranoia :)

Configure Firefox to Clear Browsing History when you close Firefox


That’s it!  Next time you close your browser, you will be prompted to delete all the various items (history, cache, cookies, etc.) which you configured.  BTW – if you don’t want the prompt, just UNCHECK the box “Ask me before clearing private data” on the Privacy Tab as shown in Step 4.

As normal, please be GROOVY and leave any comments or feedback here.  Please post Technical Questions Related or not in the !

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  1. babybox

    what about cntrl-shift-del?

  2. orbitsgm

    @babybox – look under #1. mrgroove included the ctrl+shift+del short cut-keys in his “tip”.

    or did you have a question about the short-cut keys?

  3. shannon-y

    Great tip! I didn’t like the ‘are you sure’ prompts so i disabled that. thanks

  4. andys

    exactly what i was looking for! great screen shots! thanks mrgroove!

  5. MrGroove

    @babybox – get your question answered?

    @shannon-y & andys – Thanks for the Feedback on the How To Tutorial! I agree, I don’t like the Prompts either however I do like to know if the history in Firefox is actually cleared or not. Sometimes I fat finger the keys so I’m not 100% sure unless I get the prompt.
    Either way, I’m glad you enjoyed the How-To!

  6. kakiayam

    Hi Mr. Groove, but even after doing all these, the history is still there! Anyway out of this?


  7. MrGroove

    That’s really odd. Are you running Firefox 3.x? Your trying to clear you browsing history right?
    Try this. Open Firefox and hit a few sites. In the Command Menu, Click History. You should see your browsing history. Click out of it and use the Keyboard Shortcut to Clear the Firefox history – Ctrl+Shift+Delete. You should be prompted to delete the cookies, history temp files etc… Be sure the Check Box for Browsing History is checked (it’s the first check box) then Click Clear Private Data Now.
    Now Click on History again on the Command Bar. Is the history gone? Let us know!

  8. riya

    Friends: After doing all these will the system have any files stored anywhere hidden??or if we uninstall the firefox will it keep any data in the system anywhere?If not why there are products in market to delete Temporary Internet files???can anyone explain me, i dont know much about these….Thanks in advance

  9. MrGroove

    @Riya – Hi Riya and Welcome to the site!
    To answer your question, when you use the process above, I can confirm that it does a pretty good job of deleting all the Cache, Cookies, etc.. from Firefox 3.x. If you want to verify all the files are gone, just type the following into the Firefox URL Bar:


    This command will show you not only show what you have cached in Memory, Disk and Offline Cache but it also provides the directory where the cache is stored on disk. On my machine for example (Windows Server 2008), the cache data is stored here:


    Now don’t forget, a file DELETE is only as good as a file DELETE. I’m guessing they are simply DELETING the files rather than WIPING them (being that the delete happens so quickly). So, if your looking to WIPE your drive then you will need to find some sort of WIPING program (I use PGP) and manually WIPE the files 3-10 times from the drive once you determine where you Disk cache is being stored using the About:Cache command above.


  10. MrGroove


    BTW – you can also try the about:cache command and manually nuke the history/cache :)

  11. Riya

    Thank you so much for ur reply……i did all these to clear my history……….Thank you so much Mr.groove

  12. MrGroove

    @Riya – Excellent! Any further questions, plz feel free to use our Free Tech Support Community – It’s an easier way to ask for and receive help on any IT subject!


  13. KaKiaYam

    Thank you Mr. Groove. I did clear all my browsing history. I guess I mistook the bookmark for browsing history. For example, when I type “www”, all links in the bookmark which starts with that will be displayed. And I mistook that as browsing history…hehe…

    Thanks again!

    Have a good day ahead.


  14. MrGroove

    @KaKiaYam – Good news! Glad to hear your all fixed up!

  15. kayfranks

    followed all the steps for clearing history in Firefox (I think mine is 3) but the URLs are still in the dropdown box I’ve checked several sites for answers, and am still stumped. Any new things to try? Thanks,

  16. MrGroove

    @Kayfranks – Yes…. Very annoying “FEATURE” in Firefox 3. Mozilla updated the Navigation bar (Now it’s called “AwesomeBar” and that’s one of the new FEATURES.

    I just answered this question in our groovyPost Community Forum –

    Look towards the end of the first post for instructions on how to remove those links. Feel free to reply to my post there if you have any further questions or create a new topic if you need help with something else.


  17. clueless_ _

    I have firefox 3 and have tried everything but it won’t allow me to dlete my browsing history on the toolbar in which you type the website name.

  18. MrGroove

    @Clueless – Take a look at Comment #16 above. Should fix what your looking for.

  19. vipisti

    To hide the history in the URL bar:
    – enter about:config (to the URL bar)
    – look for browser.urlbar.maxRichResults, double-click and enter 0 (the default is 12)

  20. Joseph

    You wrote a great article with perfect pictorial instructions, (which *should* be common sense) but doing the above doesn’t let me clear my cache. (Really, I even rebooted my system, not just Firefox. Further, I uninstalled & reinstalled Firefox 3.0 but it ‘remembered’ my add-on’s, cache & even my history, too. Do I need to uninstall /install as v2.0 again? *Any* suggestion would be very welcome. Thanks again!

  21. MrGroove

    @Joseph – Thank you for the comments and Welcome to groovyPost! In regards to your question regarding your firefox cache, take a look here:

  where we had a good conversation.


    You should also search our forum here:

  as there has been quite a bit of discussion about this in our free groovy Community Forum. ;)

  22. MrGroove


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