Dumb computer history question

Where are all the locations on the computer where you can find traces of browser activity? I know that it is in the C/Windows/Temp Internet files and the Browser history files but where else can you find the remains of Web browsing? Do the programs that are supposed to erase your internet tracks actually work and how do they do what they do?

The answer to these questions are highly dependent on what operating system, web browser, and “programs that are supposed to erase your internet tracks” you are using. Given that there are dozens of web browsers available, many of which are under active development, it’s unlikely that these cover-your-tracks programs are going to be able to work for any given setup. However, I would imagine that most of them work as described; that is, if they claim to erase the cache and URL history for a given version of Netscape Navigator or Internet Explorer, then they probably do. Such operations are not highly technical and can, in fact, be manually performed without too much trouble.

Perhaps if you narrowed your question down to the particular OS and software you’re interested in, the people here would be better-positioned to give an answer.

Windows 98 and Win2K IE6.

When you delete a file, you’re actually deleting references to it in the file system and basically telling the computer that it’s okay to overwrite it now. The actual file will still be there, but it’ll be inaccessible unless you use a disk recovery program like Drive Recovery to recover it. What the paranoid programs that you’re likely to see advertised in pop-up ads and spam probably do is fill the data of deleted files with garbage data so no one can recover them. Probably a little more thorough than is necessary for most users, unless you’re looking at stuff you really shouldn’t be looking at.