Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Firefox: Clearing Your Browser Information (Privacy)

Yesterday I talked about clearing the browser's cache in Internet Explorer (IE) for troubleshooting and privacy reasons. Now, I am going to tell you how to do this same operation in Firefox 1.5 (and higher).

Firefox and IE have similar caching features, but Firefox has a few extra. Below is a list of Firefox's caching features, and the type of information it tracks:
  • File Cache: Stores local copies of web site elements, such as: images, text, etc. This data is used to speed up the browsing experience if you revisit a web page you have already been too.
  • Cookies: Small amount of text data that can be placed on your computer by various web sites. This information is used by the web site to hold user information (site preferences, account information, etc.).
  • Download History: Tracks the files you downloaded from a web site, and where they're located on your system.
  • Web Site History: A list of Web sites that you visited, including the date and time you were there.
  • Saved Passwords: When you enter your username and password for a web site, you will be given the option to have the browser manage this information.
  • Saved Forms: When you enter information into an online form, this feature tracks your input so that you don't have to enter the same information twice.
  • Search Bar History: Tracks all searches you perform with the Firefox search bar.
Firefox provides a quick and easy way to purge this information (i.e.: cookies, passwords, browsing history, etc.). From Firefox's Tools menu, select 'Clear Private Data...'. Select the items you want to delete, then press the 'Clear Private Data Now' button.

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