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I’m in the process of doing some data-recovery and as part of that, I am using browser histories to get information about the source, filename, and timestamp of files that were downloaded over the years.

This is simple enough with Chrome; I just dumped the Downloads table from the History file (Nirsoft’s tool doesn’t seem to show downloads and seems to be limited with its timeframe). I haven’t used Firefox much, but Nirsoft’s tool should do it (though I prefer the flexibility of dumping the SQL myself).

Now the problem is with IE (no joke please). I used to use IE6 almost exclusively for many years until Chrome 0.2.149 came out. As such, many old files that I downloaded came from IE. I have my browsing history at least as far back as 2001 (I probably have some more in some of my old backups), so I want to get a dump of all of the files I’ve downloaded through IE (and optionally also the pages visited since that helps provide context).

I tried Nirsoft’s tool, but it doesn’t seem to show downloads. I looked around for a way to see the IE download history, and some people indicated that IE doesn’t have a dedicated history for downloads like Firefox and Chrome do, but I still need a way of getting that information.

I suppose IE’s regular history could indicate downloaded files (for zips, exes, etc.) but what about renderable files like photos? Opening a photo in IE doesn’t necessarily mean that the file was subsequently saved (though for my current purposes, that doesn’t matter; in fact, even visits are useful). But conversely, I have often downloaded a bunch of files by holding Alt and clicking on links (or right-clicking and selecting Save Link As) without actually opening the file. How can I find out those? Are those included in the regular history?

Does anyone know of an effective way to view a list of files downloaded with IE?

share|improve this question
What IE6-related files do you have backed up? – Karan Jul 1 '13 at 15:12
@Karan, the IE History folder (i.e., History, MSHIST*, index.dat, etc.) – Synetech Jul 1 '13 at 15:13
I remember rooting around in index.dat back in the day to retrieve URLs. Not sure whether I used a custom utility or perhaps just a hex editor plus strings. – Karan Jul 1 '13 at 15:19
@Karan, well the Nirsoft tool can parse them, but I’m trying to get a list of downloaded files, not just page visits. – Synetech Jul 1 '13 at 15:30
@Synetech, you said "over the years"...the browsers history clearly is not the place to accurately acquire such. Your perimeter firewall logs might've been the ideal store of such data, but I'm sure they too are long gone. – packets Jul 1 '13 at 15:40

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