Internet Track FAQ

If you’re concerned about the files left on your computer when you use the internet or just want to understand the issue, this FAQ offers a straightforward explanation of what internet tracks are, why you might be concerned about them and what to do if you are.

What is an Internet Track?

An internet track is simply a work file created by your browser or email program when you use the internet. These files are used by your browser to make browsing faster or more convenient.

For example, your Browser History function allows you to easily revisit a page you’ve already been to by displaying a list of URLs that you’ve been to recently. This may be convenient for you, but may be embarrassing if you share a computer with your teenaged children and have been surfing sites for solutions to your hemorrhoid problem.

There are many types of internet tracks created when you go on the internet, depending on the browser you are using, including:
– browser cache, browser history, favicons created when you browse site
– download cache created when you download files from other sites

What’s the problem with internet tracks?

While internet tracks exist to speed up browsing and to provide some convenient features for the internet user, they also present two problems.
– Internet tracks can be recovered by other people, which creates a privacy risk for some users.
– Internet tracks take up disk space.

How can I clear my History and clear my Cache?

After using the internet, go into the settings and manually Clear History and Clear Cache. (How to do this and which internet tracks you can manually clear depends on your browser.)

How can I Easily Clear my History and clear my Cache on Mac?

Use NetShred on Mac. When you quit from your browser, it automatically clears whichever tracks you want.

How can I erase internet tracks so they can’t be recovered?

1. Use NetShred on Mac.
2. After you have used NetShred, use ShredIt to wipe your Free Space. Now, any old internet tracks are secure deleted so they can’t be recovered.

Is an internet eraser, an internet track erase, a cache cleaner, a history cleaner and a web shredder the same thing?

Maybe. A short history lesson first. When browsers were first developed, the only internet tracks that had been invented were cache files. Thus, when this type of internet privacy software was first developed, it was often referred to as a “cache cleaner”, or “cache clearer”. Then the history function was added, and the development of “history cleaner” software soon followed. Over time, browsers have evolved to include many more internet tracks that need to be erased, and will most likely add more in the future, so a more generic term like “Internet Track Eraser” is often used.

A little quick research on the internet revealed that there are a number of generic terms used to refer to these internet work files: temporary internet files, internet track, footprint, trace. And sometimes the technical name for the specific type of file is used: cache, history, email trash. As well the software may be referred to as an eraser, shredder, cleaner, remover or manager.

And although this is not an exhaustive list, this type of software may be called any of the following:
– internet eraser, internet washer, internet cleaner, internet clear up software, internet shredder
– internet track eraser, track eraser, tracks eraser, tracks erase software
– clear cache software, cache cleaner, cache remover, cache cleanup software, cache manager, cache eraser, cache wiper
– clear history software, history cleaner, history eraser, history deletion software, history tracks software, history wiper,
– clear footprints software
– trace remover
– privacy software

Do the terms “delete” and “secure delete” mean the same thing?

No. The term “delete” refers to the type of computer function where the data is marked as deleted, but not really gone.

The following functions also perform a simple “delete”:
– Drag files to trash can or recycling bin
– Clear Cache, clear history

The technical term “secure delete” refers to the type of computer function where the data is overwritten by other characters so the data can’t be recovered. An all-purpose utility that does this is often called a “secure delete utility”, a “file shredder” or a “data shredder”.

Do I need to erase my internet tracks?

Unfortunately, scare tactics are sometimes used to sell customers on the idea of internet erase software. Well, don’t let them scare you. While it’s clear that some people need to erase internet tracks, you might not be one of them.

Think of an internet track eraser as insurance against getting into trouble because someone got hold of your internet tracks. You buy house insurance not because you know you’re going to need it, but because you might need it and the cost of not being covered in the case of catastrophe is too high. On the other hand, you might not buy an extended warranty for your new toaster, even though you’re likely to need it, because the cost replacing the toaster should it break is so low.

It’s definitely most cost effective to use an internet track eraser than, for instance, to spend hundreds of dollars and countless hours repairing your credit rating after someone has stolen your identity. But, this might not be a real risk in your case. Armed with your own analysis of what’s in your internet tracks, how likely it is that someone else could get hold of them and how bad it could be if someone did, decide for yourself whether using an internet track eraser is the type of insurance you can afford to be without.

If you can’t decide, take the Mireth Technology Internet Eraser Test

How do I erase internet track files I’ve already deleted?

Internet tracks, or any file for that matter, that has been deleted is assigned to free space. To erase these files, use a ShredIt to wipe the free space on your hard drive.

Please note that this is a time-consuming job. It usually takes a couple of hours to shred all the free space on a hard drive, and maybe longer if you have a large drive.