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PurgeIE - Purge Cache, Cookies and Tracks for Internet Explorer

Notice - the Index.dat files were discontinued beginning with Windows 8.


AutoComplete - is the feature of Internet Explorer that attempts to save one some keystrokes during the keying into the URL Address field.  It presumes to complete the URL based on Visited URLs from the History INDEX.DAT file.


Cache – as used in this document, the collection of Temporary Internet Files.


Cache INDEX.DAT data file – the file located within the Temporary Internet Files Folder that is used to contain URL entries for the Temporary Internet Files.


CDF – acronym for Channel Definition File.  PurgeIE takes additional steps to preserve these files.


Channel - a Web site designed to deliver content from the Internet to your computer, similar to subscribing to a favorite Web site.  Please refer to "What is a Channel" in the Help function within Internet Explorer for a proper understanding of Channels.


Cookies – are small Text files that are written to a user’s hard disk by their Web Browser.  The cookies are generated by the Web-site being visited.  Some Web-sites use Cookies to retain user selection criteria such as stock ticker symbols you indicated to be automatically processed when you revisit the stock quote site.  Another valid example is the specification of a city to be processed when you revisit your favorite weather Web-site.

Some Web-sites utilize Cookies to simply indicate that you have visited the site previously and will present you with a different Web-page that was presented on your first visit.  Many people are concerned that the use of Cookies is or can easily become an invasion of privacy.  Unfortunately, some Web-sites refuse access unless the visitor accepts Cookies.


Cookies INDEX.DAT data file – the file located within the Cookies Folder that is used to contain URL entries for the Cookies Files.


History Folders – are folders that contain History information for Web-Sites you have visited.  Typically, there is a History Folder for each day that Internet Explorer retains for you.  You indicate the number of days of History to retain via Internet Explorer Options.


History INDEX.DAT data file – the file located within the primary History Folder that is used to contain URL entries for each Web-page accessed.  This data is used by Internet Explorer’s AutoComplete function.  Within this document, these entries are referred to as Visited URLs.


INDEX.DAT data files – a specially formatted type of data file used by Internet Explorer to contain URLs and other reference data like ‘Hits’, last access date and pointers to associated files such as Cookies and Temporary Internet Files.  There are several of these files named INDEX.DAT on a typical system.  They should not arbitrarily be deleted as some contain critical Offline (or Subscription) Cache information.


Non-Subscription Cache – the collection of Temporary Internet Files (TIF) that are not from a Subscription Web-site.


Offline Cache – the collection of Temporary Internet Files (TIF) that were downloaded for "Offline Viewing".  Note that IE-4 referred to this as Subscription Cache.


Online Cache – the collection of Temporary Internet Files (TIF) other than those downloaded for "Offline Viewing".  Other portions of this document refer to this as Non- Subscription Cache.


Protected Cookies – Cookies that have been protected by PurgeIE’s ‘Protect’ function.  Note that this protection only prevents deletion of this Cookie by the PurgeIE Purge function.  Protected Cookies can still be deleted by other programs and systems such as Internet Explorer.


Recent LNKs – are Links to documents, images, etc., that were accessed by your system.  These are displayed as Icons when you press the Windows Start button and select Documents.  Note that this can include LNKs other than those generated from Internet Explorer.


Subscription Cache – the collection of Temporary Internet Files (TIF) that are from a Subscription Web-site (IE-4).  IE-5 refers to this as "Offline Viewing".


Strays - as used in this document, the Cookies and Cache files that are not indexed by the their respective INDEX.DAT data files.  Temporary Internet Files can exist in the Cache directory without being indexed by multiple causes.  The primary cause is termination of the loading of a Web-page prior to its complete processing.  The file goes into the cache but the index is not updated to reflect its location.

Also, index items within these INDEX.DAT data files that refer to non-existing local files are considered to be Strays and will be deleted by the ‘Strays’ function.

Computer failures that require a reboot (without a proper Shutdown of Windows/NT have been observed to cause a large number of Strays.  Another way that this can occur is by deletion of the Temporary Internet Files by DOS functions.  DOS has no means for updating the INDEX.DAT data files.

Note that some utility programs delete the Temporary Internet Files by DOS functions and do not modify the INDEX.DAT data file.  This can result in the INDEX.DAT file becoming enormous.  Some have been reported to exceed a megabyte.  If this is your situation, you will experience the deletion of a tremendous number of URL Strays the first time you purge Strays with PurgeIE.


Temporary Internet Files - the files such as Web pages and graphics files that are stored on your hard disk as they are retrieved from the Internet as you view them.


TIF – acronym for Temporary Internet Files.


Typed URLs – are entries placed into the Registry for the URLs that have been typed into the URL Address field.


UnProtected Cookies – Cookies that have not been protected by PurgeIE’s ‘Protect’ function.


URL – Uniform Resource Locator - An Internet Address.


Visited URLs – are URL entries that are maintained in an INDEX.DAT file in the primary History folder.  This file contains a record of each URL you have visited.  This data is used by Internet Explorer for its AutoComplete function.


Windows Temporary files – files stored in the Windows Temporary File folder.  Typically these files are created by Windows programs and deleted upon termination.  Microsoft Word is an example of such a program.  System failures and Program failures prevent the proper deletion of these files and the folder can waste a great deal of disk space.  Periodic cleanup is advised.  Internet Explorer also makes use of this folder and could leave ‘tracks’ there.

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Revised: August 23, 2015