How does one cover their tracks so to speak after fooling around on-line at work?

All I know about the workings of my computer are the very basics,obviously :frowning: I like a little diversion at work when things get slow but I don’t want anyone knowing where I hang out. So how do I cover my tracks? I work In my husbands office so its not like a huge deal, I’d just like to avoid any hassle…TIA

You mean, *besides * going to Tools, then Internet Options, and then clearing the History and the cache/temporary Internet files? Those steps are more or less harmless. You might also have to clear out a few Cookies.

Probably the easiest way is to use something like CCleaner
http://www.ccleaner.com/

(it does more than just elimination of search history, but it does that well)

There are things it won’t do though - if your emails come and go through a local server, and/or if your internet access is via a proxy server or router with logging, then you can’t do much about those.

Those steps will clear the computer, but not knowing the size of the office and how the network is administered, they may not be enough. If this is part of a larger network, then there most likely is an auditable trail of everything you’ve done on the computer.

In fact, in my “My Computer / Docs & Settings/ user /Cookies” file, there is a non-deletable “index.dat” . I’ve always assumed that’s a log of the web pages I access. Correct?

I say “Bug off, I work a gazillion hours of overtime. If you don’t want me looking at the Straight Dope, fire my ass and find someone else with my skills in this town.”

I guess that’s not much of a coverup.

If you’ve got a server that’s blocking network traffic using WebSense, then the URL of every single object you touch on the internet is being saved in a log file on a server you almost certainly don’t have access to.

Fortunately for you, in that case, the URL of every single object everybody touches on the internet is saved to the same log file. These suckers are huge. Unless they’re specifically looking for bad stuff, they’ll never bother to even look at them. If they were looking for bad stuff (and bad stuff was to be found with your name on it), they’d be at your desk by now.

Thanks for all the info. My computer is not tyed in to the main office system. Its a medical office btw and the computer system for that is set up for billing and electronic filling of insurance… I imagine I can just do what Dr Deth suggested? that wouldn’t get rid of anything important I guess? Thanks!

Less for the OP, and more for a wide variety of interested parties in various work situations:

It is true that a sufficiently motivated IT department could track your web visits, if they so desired. But, let me tell you – I work in IT myself … and 99% of us just don’t care what you do as long as you get real work done. We screw around ourselves. Rare is the workplace that monitors this stuff contientiously – they exist, but they’re rare. When people get busted at jobs like this, it’s usually a combination of porn/gambling visits AND low productivity at the actual job.

Whether or not they review said logs (or even care) is another story. Please … I don’t have time for that. Surfing the SDMB and doing my actual work leaves no time to play Colombo.

Now … once in a blue moon … the slacker that spends 6 hours a day rubbing his crotch against his desk (no lie) and is late on every assignment? That guy will P.O. his boss off enough to put pressure on me to find out what’s up. Otherwise, you’re fine.

For non-porn sites like the SDMB and such … even getting cold-busted visiting them too often normally only merits a warning, not a termination. Very often, internet abuse is an excuse or pretense to get rid of a bad worker, not a singular reason to do so.

Some sites that I visit, I wouldn’t mind being detected by management. I think google.com itself is a legitimate site to have visited, for example. It’s possible to delete specific Google searches from History while leaving others.

To keep stuff from popping up in the address bar, I bend over backwards never to enter anything into the bar (except google and a few internal sites). When I want to go to this site, I use google.com as a buffer – I go to Google, enter a search for “forums.footballguys”, then a get a link straight here. Using that link never “feeds” the address bar any history. I use Google as a buffer for a slew of sites I visit.

The common theme “as little use of the address bar as possible”. It’s true that won’t keep someone from going through logs … but it will make it a lot harder for someone who had admin rights to your computer to follow the breadcrumbs you might leave behind on your own machine.

I understand that consistently having an empty Temp Internet files folder and a blank History is, in itself, suspicious. I have a bunch of job-related links in Favorites that I legitimately use day in and day out. I do wipe out History, cookies, and Temp files … but then I repopulate it back a little bit with a few quick hits at some of the legit sites.

Re: index.dat file – cleaning it requires special software AFAIK (e.g. Primedius’ Web-Tunnel). Might could do this with some DOS wizardry, but I’ve not tried myself … can’t be sure.

Here’s a good article about what indexs.dat files are and where they are located. Unfortunately, “Show hidden files” doesn’t reveal the index.dat files – hence the need for extra software dedicated to this task. The info in the link comes from a vendor of a index.dat cleaner software package.

If someone perserveres to look through these files … they are highly motivated and have a good reason to be suspicious (liked they looked over your shoulder from afar and got a good look at your unsavory surfing). You are probably already as good as gone at that point.

You definitely have to have a handle on the corporate culture of your workplace in regards to personal Internet use. If your boss is always waving you into his office showing you the latest online comics or something, that tells you something. If the department VP is always plugged into Rhapsody, that tells you something. Doesn’t necessarily mean you can download porn all day … but checking out the SDMB is almost certainly safe.

Well, clearing cookies can cause some annoyances. For instance, if you clear your cookies, then every time you come here, you’ll have to log in again. Similarly, for any other web page that you go to that remembers anything from the last time you were there. But I wouldn’t say it’d “break” anything.

Well I tried to clear the temp files and when I checked they were still all there. Then it said I couldn’t delet the folder because windows would not run w/o the folder…I’m a computer retard! So now I don’t know what to do. Any more ideas?

Don’t try and delete the folder, just the files in it.

Have you got Spybot Search & Destroy on your machine?

Post here the process you used to clear the temp files.

And, what System you are running.

You don’t need to “delete” a file or folder. There is usually simply a box to check labled “Delete Files” or something. Did you go to Tools, then Internet Options?

No; it’s an index of the cookies in the folder; delete the cookies, then fire up IE and the index will be rebuilt, destroying whatever was in it before.

FWIW, at my office, the Tools -> Internet Options menu has been disabled, so we can’t clear our histories.

I visit the SDMB and a couple of other forums at work, but I’m not sweating it too much – I get the job done, and (touch wood) with 4,000 employees, that log file has to be huge!

Load up a portable browser on a USB thumb drive, and surf from that. I actually started doing that when IT refused to load Firefox (and I didn’t have install permissions set). When set up correctly, this leaves nothing incriminating on the machine’s HD. Does nothing about the router logs though.

If you are not accessing the 'net via the LAN there is nothing on the router. It is possible to obtain unlimited 'net access via a cell phone for around $20 a month. If your employer has monitoring-ware installed on your machine, this won’t help.

“Their”?

And what do you suggest for a gender-neutral 3rd person possesive pronoun?

According to the current rules of use for the English language, try “his.”