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Privacy " erase index.dat files "


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#1 mhoss49

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Posted 20 October 2011 - 08:42 AM

Is it a good idea to purchace a "erase index.dat file " program? Is it safe for average computer user to use? Will it have an effect on speeding up computer? And can someone recomend the best product or program?

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#2 quietman7

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Posted 20 October 2011 - 09:59 AM

Index.dat files are used by Internet Explorer and Windows to store history, Internet cache, cookies, UserData records and other information about what you have done in Internet.

The index.dat file is a database file. It is a repository of information such as web URLs, search queries and recently opened files. Its purpose is to enable quick access to data used by Internet Explorer...The index.dat file is user-specific and is open as long a user is logged on in Windows. Separate index.dat files exist for the Internet Explorer history, cache, and cookies.

...Internet privacy groups contend[citation needed] that the use of index.dat files in the Windows operating system is an invasion of users' privacy. The information contained in an index.dat file can be considered private to the user. One of the groups' main complaints is that the index.dat files cannot easily be deleted. This is because windows prevents open or "locked" files from being deleted.

...Various free programs (among them Red Button, CCleaner, Index.dat Suite), can completely remove index.dat files until they are recreated by Windows, though CCleaner, and perhaps the others, does not delete the hidden index.dat file in the Temporary Internet Files folder, which contains a copy of the cookies that were in the Cookies folder. However, if Secure Deletion is enabled in CCleaner then this will effectively wipe the contents of this file although the size will continue to increase with use.

About index.dat files

Although the Wikipedia write up references that a large index.dat file can impair performance, I have not found that to be true in any significant degree which would cause concern.

If you do a search on the net for how to erase Index.dat files, you will find various free third party utilities which can be used. If using Windows XP, you can also follow these instructions while in safe mode with command prompt.

The location of index.dat files depends on the version of Windows and whether or not you are using User profiles.
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#3 quietman7

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Posted 20 October 2011 - 10:01 AM

Forgot to mention...I use CCleaner for removing those files.
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#4 4dude

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Posted 24 October 2011 - 01:24 PM

I can easily delete my index.dat file thats in the "Temporary internet files" folder by right clicking the folder and clicking DELETE (It goes to recycle bin).. Then i open task manager and END TASK on Explorer... (You have to "End task" to release the files being used by windows)

Then i goto the COOKIES folder and right click the index.dat file in there and send it to recycle bin...

Then i restart explore and empty the bin :)

Edited by 4dude, 24 October 2011 - 01:48 PM.


#5 mhoss49

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Posted 24 October 2011 - 04:11 PM

Thank you quitetman7 and 4dude. The ccleaner with Secure Deletion enabled seemed too really help.

#6 quietman7

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Posted 24 October 2011 - 04:20 PM

You're welcome on behalf of the Bleeping Computer community.
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#7 Didier Stevens

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Posted 24 October 2011 - 04:27 PM

I can easily delete my index.dat file thats in the "Temporary internet files" folder by right clicking the folder and clicking DELETE (It goes to recycle bin).. Then i open task manager and END TASK on Explorer... (You have to "End task" to release the files being used by windows)


Is there any particular reason why you terminate Internet Explorer after you delete "Temporary internet files"?
I would assume you would first terminate Internet Explorer, and then start to delete the folders.

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#8 Didier Stevens

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Posted 24 October 2011 - 04:54 PM

Is it a good idea to purchace a "erase index.dat file " program? Is it safe for average computer user to use? Will it have an effect on speeding up computer? And can someone recomend the best product or program?


If you use Internet Explorer 8 or 9, you can also use InPrivate Browsing mode. This mode will automatically clean "index.dat files" and other data, like explained here:
http://windows.microsoft.com/en-GB/windows-vista/What-is-InPrivate-Browsing

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#9 4dude

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Posted 26 October 2011 - 03:28 PM

Is there any particular reason why you terminate Internet Explorer after you delete "Temporary internet files"?

Well buddy AFTER SENDING THE FOLDER "TEMPORARY INTERNET FILES" TO RECYCLE BIN,YOU HAVE TO "END TASK" ON EXPLORER SO THE FILES ARENT BEING USED BY WINDOWS ANYMORE.... Then you can restart explorer and empty your recycle bin.. (YOU CANNOT EMPTY THE BIN W/O FIRST ENDING TASK ON EXPLORER....THE FILE (INDEX.DAT) IS IN USE BY WINDOWS (same thing with "index.dat" in the cookie folder)

Edited by 4dude, 26 October 2011 - 03:30 PM.


#10 Didier Stevens

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Posted 26 October 2011 - 03:51 PM

@mhoss49 If you decide to manually erase Internet Explorer's work files, via Windows Explorer like explained here, I recommend you terminate Internet Explorer before you erase any of its work files.

This will not only prevent errors when Internet Explorer has still exclusive handles open to some of its work files, but it also allows Internet Explorer to clean things up before you start erasing.

Edited by Didier Stevens, 28 October 2011 - 03:16 AM.

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