We have a Dell Computer with Windows 7. The website history has been deleted and I am suspicious the reason is to hide a couple of sites that were visited. I am NOT computer smart and I really need some help with this. Is there a way for me to search for a specific website that may have been visited when the history has been deleted? Is it also possible to tell how many times that particular website was visited and the dates of each visit? Now, I'm going to reach for the moon and ask if it is also possible to see how much time was spent in each visit?

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There are several ways to check websites have been visited in the past, although I have to make it clear that it will be extremely difficult, almost impossible, to check with your requested level of detail. I'll do my best to help though ;)

There are two ways to recover these details (that I am aware of):

  • through the computer's DNS cache
  • through recovering the browser's deleted history file.

You may wish to do both of these.


DNS Cache method: (I would recommend this)

Pretty much the most reliable way to check a computer's internet history is to check your computer's DNS cache - it's a quick-access store for the ip addresses of previously visited websites, which is browser independant, and it isn't cleared very often.

You'll get a list of websites and their ip addresses (although the web address will only be useful to you)

This is a very helpful tutorial on how to do this: http://www.wikihow.com/Display-the-Contents-of-Your-DNS-Cache

The obvious drawback of this is the fact that you'll not be given much info on how often or when the websites are visited, and it's a very large list that you'll have to go through yourself.


Browser history recovery method:

This method is a shot in the dark. To "reach for the moon", as you put it.

When a peice of data is deleted from a hard drive it is not deleted as such. The area on the disk where the "deleted data" is simply marked "empty", to be written over later on by some other program. It's entirely possible to recover this data, although it may or may not have already been written over.

This method also requires some research on the browser in question, as different web browsers have different ways of storing, and clearing their history.

You'll have to find the name of the browser in question, and research where the history is stored.

If the browser in question simply stores it in a file, you may be able to recover it using this tool (free) http://www.piriform.com/recuva , if it hasn't already been overwritten.

Depending on the browser, it may be difficult to achieve this.
Google Chrome for example, uses multiple files and a file format called 'sql' to store it's history. Even if you could recover the files, it's quite difficult to read them. You'll likely have to seek a specialist firm if this is the case.


Best of luck!

~ Alex

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