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How to Prevent Google Chrome From Storing Browser History

Posted by Jim Tanous on July 5, 2019
Digital Lock

Prevent Google Chrome From Storing Browser HistoryGoogle Chrome has recently become the Web browser of choice for many Mac and PC users. It’s fast, extensible, and relatively secure. But it has a notable flaw: unlike most browsers, Chrome has no user setting to prevent or automatically clear the browser history. Users can always manually clear the history, but doing so takes four clicks through three menus; hardly ideal. Luckily, there’s a trick we can use to prevent browsing history from being recorded in Chrome.

Here’s how you can get this done. Chrome stores the browser history in a file on your computer’s drive. If we limit Chrome’s ability to modify that file, it won’t be able to record any web addresses.

To start, first, go into Chrome and manually clear your history by pressing Command-Y for OS X or Control-H for Windows. Then click Clear Browsing Data, making sure the box “Clear Browsing History” is checked, and then select “from the beginning of time” from the drop-down menu.

Then click the Clear Browsing Data button at the bottom of the window to complete the process. This gives us a blank slate from which to start.

Now we have to restrict access to Chrome’s history file. First, quit Chrome to prevent any conflicts, and then find Chrome’s history file.

In macOS, the history file is stored at the following location:

~/Library/Application Support/Google/Chrome/Default

On a Windows machine, this is where you want to go to find Chrome’s history file:
C:Users[User Name]AppDataLocalGoogleChromeUser DataDefault
Note that you may need to enable Windows Explorer’s “show hidden files” option in order to see the AppData folder.

In either of these locations, you’ll find a file called “History” with no file extension. This is the file we need to lock. In macOS, right click on the file and choose Get Info (or highlight the file and press Command-I).

Under “General,” check the box for Locked. This will prevent Chrome from modifying this file and thus stop any future browsing history from being recorded.

For Windows, right click on the History file and choose Properties. In the Properties window, check the box for Read-Only and then press Apply.

Once you’ve locked the History file, open Chrome and start browsing. Then head to your history list and you’ll see that Chrome reports “No history entries found.” That’s it! If you want to start recording your browsing history again, simply repeat the appropriate steps for Mac or Windows above and uncheck the locked or read-only boxes.

At this point, some of you are undoubtedly asking, “why not just use Incognito Mode?” It’s true that Incognito Mode will prevent Chrome from recording browsing history, but it also blocks cookies and interferes with many extensions. Also, preventing Chrome from recording browsing history means you do not have to remember to browse in Ignoto Mode if you never want Chrome to record your browsing history.

If you want the benefit of extensions and cookies, such as having websites remember your account info, but simply don’t want your browsing history recorded, the method described above is a good compromise.

Of course, if you want to reverse what you did, enabling Chrome to resume recording your browsing history again, just find that same history file and unlock it on a Mac or change it to read and write on Windows.

If you enjoyed this article, you might also like this TechJunkie article: Stay Focused Chrome Extension Review.

Do you have any suggestions on how to improve your privacy using Chrome? If so, please leave us a comment below!

24 thoughts on “How to Prevent Google Chrome From Storing Browser History”

firefox critical error says:
Hey user! I used Mozilla Firefox Browser which is very good at performing and as well as I visited in a link when I was facing any kind of problem which supports me, solved my queries.
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mozilla firefox critical error message says:
Hello users! Chrome is much better than any other browsers as well from Mozilla also a few times ago I strongly recommend Mozilla to everyone but now I believe Chrome is much better than any Browser.
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Questman595 says:
I t worked for me. All you need to do is to do what it says, but also do it with “History-Journal” file and you’ll be right as rain. How ever this will NOT rempve the “recently cosed” data. You will still have to manually remove that for now. I’ll try and figure that out.
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MOOHAUMED says:
No it’s not DEFAULT or the other one it’s now PROFILE 1
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Vishwanath Pillay says:
Solution provided didn’t work. I think it needs to be in details with video example for better understanding
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Sonic Splasher says:
it doesnt work because the folder name is not DEFAULT
it is chromedefaultdata(default is for a old version of chrome) try this
C:Users [user name] AppDataLocalGoogleChromeUser DataChromeDefaultData
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The Michael says:
I didn’t find that this worked either. This not being able to disable web history is horse crap…
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Jeff Young says:
does not work!
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Driagon V says:
lies this aint workin
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newsuperhuman says:
This doesn’t work. My history “default” folder has the “read only” box checked and Chrome still stores all my history. Google is now controlled by the tyrannical NSA and they are collecting data on everyone, making it impossible to remain private. Anyone know a work-around for this?
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Anindya Chowdhury says:
that’s great idea but it can’t stop recording ‘recently closed’.
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Victor Cristy says:
This didn’t work for me I did everything step by step and went to history list on Google Settings opened it and still keeps a current browsing history
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Zing Zang says:
there are two kinds of chrome installations – standalone and . Both have different file storage areas. May yours have different history path than the one mentioned in this article.
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boltgolt says:
Just one command on linux:
chmod 0444 ~/.config/chromium/Default/History
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Zing Zang says:
Sir, even windows has command line option, which allows to set file/directory permissions with just one line of code!
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boltgolt says:
You can, but not as easy. Either way, I’m just providing quick answer for linux users.
Zing Zang says:
Just because you can’t use Windows, it doesn’t mean things are difficult with this OS. Windows’ command is a bit more intuitive:
attrib +R %LocalAppData%GoogleChromeUser DatadefaultHistory
Set attribute to plus R on blah blah blah. Minus R would obviously remove the Read-Only attrib. Unix (not Linux) is my primary work OS but I still have to lookup man pages sometimes to find out the change mode codes. Not so with Windows.
boltgolt says:
Yeah, you just FEEL it’s gotta be “%LocalAppData%” and not “%AppData%” without googling it. Really intuitive. Great OS.
Petr Geiger (ggrrin) says:
if u r logged in u need to also disable syncing your history! 🙂 otherwise doesnt work for me
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Awg Afizal says:
Thanks. Just what the doctor ordered.
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animatedw00d says:
The easiest way for me is as follows: type Google/history. Then click on the cog symbol on your right side of the screen and go to settings. There you will click on show more settings. Then you will click off the manage settings that affect Google history that is stored in the browser history. Note: this only effects the browser history, and not the history setting where you would go incognito for example. To delete that history, you would have to do it manually.
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Taraneh Kohanim says:
type it where?
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Paul Gammage says:
Top stuff! Finally, thanks to the advice on here, managed to stop Google Chrome’s ‘History’. Also, the annoying ‘Last Visited’ history has been stopped with this: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/no-most-visited/ipbodnfjeoebegmlpdfccmmpenaagdaa?utm_source=chrome-app-launcher-info-dialog
As for Mr nondimwit: I don’t give a toss about Firefox standing up to the N.S.A. It crashes, often. Whereas I can’t remember the last time Chrome crashed. Also, I’d rather be a ‘totally ignorant person’, than an arrogant, rude, hubristic know-it-all with the social skills of a hyena.
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person says:
GEEZ JUST RIGHT CLICK GC AND CLICK INOGNITO MODE
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TekRevue says:
As is explained in the last paragraph, Incognito Mode is not always the best option. This is a way to block history without the limitations of Incognito Mode.
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AA says:
Can’t locate Google in Library?
SomeRandomName says:
NEVER MIND!!!
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SomeRandomName says:
ALOT!!!!!!!!!!!!
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SomeRandomName says:
THANKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1
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Yogiraj Mishra says:
doesn’t work anymore
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nondimwit says:
Really, only totally ignorant people are using Chrome. No cookie-by-cookie basis choice, no session cookie control, no easy way to prevent history accumulation,etc, etc…
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waaromdan says:
So what’s your alternative then?
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nondimwit says:
Firefox. The ONLY browser company that stood up to the NSA.
tom says:
Used to use Firefox. Would like to still use it, but got tired of the flash plug-in crashing at least once every day and the broken way it interprets HTML5 on YouTube.
nondimwit says:
I feel your pain, FF is by far the worse for Flash.
indelible says:
Am wondering if you’re still using Firefox, as it’s a fucking awful piece of shit these days. Tried to abandon Chrome for it, but the performance difference between the two offerings is phenomenal.
Firefox today is, quite simple, the single worst browser I have ever used.
nondimwit says:
I use it less and less…
Donna says:
Very clear, thank you.
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