# Can I view browser history without it showing I viewed history?

There are 2 users on the laptop I want to view the browsing History of. Google chrome is mostly used. If I only view the history, with the other user be able to see that I viewed it? If I want to delete anything from the history, how can I delete it without it showing that something was deleted? Such as if I open a tab from history to view it and then wanted to delete that I opened it?

• There could be an extension or add-on that saves the history somewhere else (online, etc) too – Xen2050 Aug 23 '17 at 11:13
• In Chrome you can just open the "Full History" from the menu, view, and delete individual sites. None of those actions are saved. – JPhi1618 Aug 23 '17 at 15:15
• If you don't want something to be stored in history at all, use Incognito mode. It's safer than deleting entries afterwards because they never go to history and you can't forget to delete them. – gronostaj Aug 23 '17 at 17:06
• The best approach might be to create separate accounts and profiles for the two users, to avoid such complications in the future. – xji Aug 28 '17 at 14:38

Chrome stores its history in SQlite 3 database. You can simply read / modify this database file. Be sure to inform users that things done in that system will not be private and their stuff might be gone anytime.

Windows: C:\users\username\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\History

Linux: ~username/.config/google-chrome/Default\History

Open with any SQLite 3 capable software.

When viewing the history on Chrome, it does not typically get recorded. Unless the other user is a computer forensics expert, he/she will not be able to see you viewed the history, nor will they know if you delete something from the history.

Note I am using Chrome version 60.0.3112.101.

• Thank you. If something is deleted, does it go to the computer trash can? – SMASH42 Aug 23 '17 at 12:01
• No, it is deleted from a database. It was never a file on disk. – JPhi1618 Aug 23 '17 at 15:13
• Pedantically, it was part of a file on disk. – Kroltan Aug 23 '17 at 17:42
• The History page does appear in the Recently Closed list, so maybe superuser.com/questions/1006740 is useful. – Razvan Socol Aug 23 '17 at 19:15
• It's worth noting that, unless you do a VACUUM over the DB, data deleted from an SQLite DB lingers in the file until the space it occupied is recycled for something else. – Matteo Italia Aug 23 '17 at 23:09

Use sqlitebrowser. The history is saved as a sqlite database file (.db IIIRC) somewhere in AppData, under Google\Chrome. You can look through it easily. I'm sure you can find other programs with a better interface, but sqlitebrowser is more than adequate.

In the Google\Chrome userdata folder, you can invoke: sqlite History "select datetime(last_visit_time/1000000-11644473600,'unixepoch'),url from urls order by last_visit_time desc" > history_export.txt, and have a full dump ordered by last_visit_time in history_report.txt

As an alternative, there's this: http://www.nirsoft.net/utils/browsing_history_view.html

I have used it long ago, and it worked adequately.

I agree with the other answers saying that you can edit the history "under the hood" by accessing the database directly. This only bypasses any logging mechanisms that chrome have in place to log changes to the history database. SQLLite is a file database, (but the following still holds for other dbms) the data is a file on the OS's file system which means its last access and modification times are kept by the file system. So normally any change to the database will eventually find its to the file on disk (when the data is flushed fron memory). You can mitigate that by changing the system's clock and then changing it back. But this leads to a change in the registry and so on and so on. My point is that doing something under the OS supervision without leaving any traces is hard. Frankly the deciding factor will be how far each of you are willing to go.

• Maybe add something that would make this an answer? Currently it heavily leans toward discussion which should go to chat or comments, however this could be great answer for paranoids and has perfectly valid points about forensic analysis. – Sampo Sarrala - codidact.org Aug 24 '17 at 14:42

If you open a link from the browser history, it will be noticeable because the opened link will appear again in the history. If you open a recently visited link, the visited link will move to the top of the history, i.e. the access time will be updated (I don't know what exactly counts as recent, I think it's up to 1 hour).

In the first case you could delete the new entry from the history. In the second case there is only one entry, so deleting it would be suspicious - but leaving it would also be suspicious because the access time has changed.

The simple non-technical solution to this is to open any link from the history in a new incognito window.

I think this should be sufficient in most cases where the other user is only inspecting the history. It likely also prevents some of the techniques computer experts would use to determine if a site has been visited (e.g. inspecting browser cache or browser logs) but it won't help if the network traffic is monitored.

I had the same issue, and I solved it by when I opened a new tab to view/edit History, make sure your home page is fully loaded, then go into History and do whatever you need to. Then hit the back arrow, and it will take you back to your browser's home page. The reason that I didn't close it when History was still open was because, you could go into recently closed, and it would show that History was opened. My version of Chrome does not allow me to delete an entry under the "Recently closed" option. Or, do as others have already commented, use Incognito mode.