Internet and Computer Safety

    • There are hundreds of ways that computers record everything you do on the computer and on the Internet.
    • If you are in danger, please try to use a safer computer that someone abusive does not have direct access, or even remote (hacking) access to.
    • Use a safer computer.  It might be safer to use a computer in a public library, at a community technology center (CTC) directory), at a trusted friend's house, or at an Internet Cafe.
    • If you think your activities are being monitored, they probably are.  Abusive people are often controlling and want to know your every move.  You don't need to be a computer programmer or have special skills to monitor someone's computer activities - anyone can do it and there are many ways to monitor.
    • Computers can provide a lot of information about what you look at on the Internet, the e-mails you send, and other activities.  It is not possible to delete or clear all computer "footprints".
    • If you think you may be monitored on your home computer, you might consider no home Internet use or "safer" Internet surfing.  Example:  If you are planning to flee to California, don't look at classified ads for jobs and apartments, bus tickets, etc. for California on a home computer or any computer an abuser has physical or remote access to.  Use a safer computer to research an escape plan.
    • E-mail is not a safe or confidential way to talk to someone about the danger or abuse in your life. If an abuser has access to a computer, they may be able to get into you account and read your e-mail. Even if you believe your account is secure, make sure you choose a password he or she will not be able to guess. Please call A Safe Place's 24-hour help line 847-249-4450; TTY 847-249-6557.
    • If an abuser sends you threatening or harassing email messages, you can print and save them as evidence of abuse.
    • Traditional "corded" phones are more private than cellular phones or cordless phones. 

       -Adapted from the Illinois Coalition Against Domestic Violence

After you have read the following instructions and understand what to do, please close your Internet browser. Restart your browser and then follow the instructions to clear your cache making sure that you are not currently on the A Safe Place web site.


    How can I clear the Internet Explorer history file?


    Instructions on how to clear the History/Cache in Internet Explorer 4.0 and above on a PC.

    1. Select "Internet Options" under the "View" or "Tools" option (depending on the version you are running) on the toolbar.

    2. Under the "General" folder under "Internet Options", there is a section called "History". Change the "Days to keep pages in History:" to 0 and click the "Clear History" button.

    3. Click "Apply" at the bottom of the "Internet Options" box, then click "OK"

    4. To double check that everything is cleared, click the "History" button on the web browser toolbar - it should be empty. Also, click the arrow on the right of the URL Address box - it should be empty as well.

    Internet Explorer 4.0 and above for Macintosh

    Instructions for clearing cache (instructions the same for IE 4.5)

    1. In Internet Exporer 4 or above, open the Edit menu, and then click on Preferences.

    2. Double click on "Web Browser" until the list drops down.

    3. Select "Advanced."

    4. You will see a box called "Cache," and click on "Empty Now" button.

    5. Click "OK," then Quit from Internet Explorer and restart your computer if you need to.

    To change or clear the history file in Netscape Communicator:

    1. From the Edit menu, select Preferences then the Navigator category in the list along the left side of the window.

    2. Click on "Expire now" to immediately clear the history file.

    With Netscape closed, search your computer for the history file and delete it. The next time you open the browser, the file will be recreated.

    • For Windows(all versions), the file is called netscape.hst
    • For Macintosh, the file is called global history
    • For Unix (all versions), the file is called history.dat


          How do I clear the AOL history file?


      1. Pull down Members menu and select Preferences.

              2.  Click on WWW, then select Advanced.

              3.  Choose Purge Cache.

        4.   Finally, make sure "Use Inline Autocomplete" box is NOT checked.  This completes web addresses as they are being typed in the address bar.


    How do I clear the Location (Netsite) Toolbar drop-down menu?


    If you do not know which version of Netscape Navigator or Communicator you are running, under the "Help" menu, click on About Communicator, Navigator, or Netscape (the entry will differ depending on which version you have). The first line of the resulting screen will tell you the version number.

    Operating Systems: Windows 95, 98, or NT 4.0
    Product version: Navigator 2.0 - 3.04

    Only the last 10 URLs you typed into the Location Bar text field will be listed. Since only the last entries you typed are stored, the easiest method of clearing unwanted entries is to type a number of URLs to displace those currently listed.

    In order to completely clear all URLs:

    The following instructions require editing the Windows Registry. This can potentially harm the system if the wrong entries are edited or deleted. Make sure you have current backups of your system before proceeding. Consult Windows help if needed.

    1. Close Navigator.
    2. From the Windows Start menu, select Run..., type: regedit.exe (in Windows 95 and 98) or regedt32.exe (in Windows NT 4.0), and press ENTER.
    3. Click the plus sign beside the following: hierarchy:
      -Netscape Navigator
    4. Select "URL History" on the left.
    5. On the right, clear each entry. In order to do this, double-click in the Name column of a line, then delete whatever appears in the Value data field of the dialog box; click OK to save the changes. Repeat this for each line.
    6. Exit the registry editor by clicking Regedit|Exit.

    If this does not work, it is possible that the the Windows 3.1 version of Navigator is installed. In that case, try using the the Windows 3.1 version of Navigator instructions to clear the URL history.

    Operating Systems: Windows 95, 98, NT 4.0
    Product and Version: Communicator 4.0 - 4.05

    Only the last 15 URLs you typed into the Location Bar text field will be listed. Since only the last entries you typed are stored, the easiest method of clearing unwanted entries is to type a number of URLs to displace those currently listed.

    In order to completely clear all URLs:

    Clearing the location bar URL History involves editing a Netscape data file. Editing this file incorrectly could prevent Communicator from launching or working properly. Before you edit the , make a back up copy of the file.

    1. Go, on your hard drive, to your Communicator profile folder. If you have installed in
      the default location, it is likely located here:

      C:\Program Files\Netscape\Users\{Your_Profile_Name}\ .

    2. Find the prefs.js file.
    3. Copy this file to a safe location on a floppy disk or elsewhere on your hard drive.

    After making a copy of the file, you can edit the original:

    1. Close Communicator.
    2. Open a text editor such as Windows Notepad. If you have not edited your Windows 95 Start menu, you should be able to open Notepad by clicking on
    3. In Notepad, click File|Open... and browse to the prefs.js file. Open the prefs.js file.
    4. Look for lines which look like this:

      user_pref("browser.url_history.URL_4", "");
      user_pref("browser.url_history.URL_5", "");
      user_pref("browser.url_history.URL_6", "");

    5. Delete only the lines which begin with "user_pref("browser.url_history.URL".
    6. When you have successfully deleted these lines, make sure you have left no spaces between lines, and then save the file by clicking File|Save As.
    7. Save as "prefs.js"

    Open Communicator and the entries should be gone.

    Operating Systems: Windows (all versions)
    Communicator 4.06 - 4.7

    1. Open Communicator.
    2. From the the Edit menu,select "Preferences."
    3. Click on "Navigator" on the left so it is selected.
    4. On the right, click the "Clear Location Bar" button.
    5. Click OK.