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Retain your history in Internet Explorer

I'm running Window XP Service Pack 2 and am having a problem with my Internet Explorer. Whenever I log off, the URL/History list seems to get purged. How can I stop this?

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This could be one of a few things. In IE, look in Tools | Internet Options | General | History, and see how many days the history is set to hold. If it's too small, you might be seeing this as a side effect. If you set it and it reverts the next time you log on, you're probably looking at a Group Policy setting that's affecting IE behavior. (If you look in Group Policy under User Configuration | Administrative Templates | Windows Components | Internet Explorer, many IE options can be set there. There's no specific setting for the size of the History, but it is possible to enable or disable changes to it.)

One way to tell what else might be going on is to create a new user account, log in with that, and see if the behavior persists there. If it doesn't, then there's a per-user setting problem, such as a corrupt INDEX.DAT file or cache issue with IE, which can be fixed by erasing and rebuilding the IE cache directory. (Some third-party programs like CCleaner will do this for you.)

This was first published in October 2006

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