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Editing of the file?[edit]

Is there a way to keep the index.dat file, but edit it's contents? That is, only take out certain URL's?

Microsoft's View[edit]

Microsoft has recently posted a blog entry about index.dat[1]. This information should be included in the article or referenced. --Apernick 21:54, 4 August 2006 (UTC)


From VfD:

This seems like the author has a hidden agenda and non-notable subject. I looked in my Windows machine and didn't find this "index.dat" file. The author might be some privacy advocate trying to cause unnecessary negative publicity towards Windows. Passion 06:44, 30 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Also, it's highly POV. If it was an encyclopedic subject, a rewrite should begin with a blank page. Passion 07:22, 30 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Also, using Google isn't reliable because there are lots of different files - not related to Windows - called index.dat and it's where shareware developers hawk their "privacy programs". Passion 07:25, 30 Aug 2004 (UTC)

  • Relevant and clearly notable (149,000 Google results.) Keep. - Mustafaa 07:18, 30 Aug 2004 (UTC)
  • I agree. There are at least one Internet Explorer vulnerability connected with this file. BTW, there are seven "index.dat" files on my Windows machine. Keep. --Martinl 08:28, 30 Aug 2004 (UTC)
  • Merge and Redirect: A single Windows file doesn't really need an encyclopedia entry, even if it is presented like this. Merge and redirect to Internet privacy or Internet Explorer. Geogre 12:20, 30 Aug 2004 (UTC)
  • Keep. Don't merge/redirect. A legitimate topic. May need some NPOVification, like adding Microsoft's argument in favor of it. Gwalla | Talk 17:19, 30 Aug 2004 (UTC)
  • Keep but only with a POVectomy. Spatch 18:23, 30 Aug 2004 (UTC)
  • Keep. Not only a legitimate topic, but a notable one, too. Please don't merge/redirect. As for NPOV, that's an issue to deal with after we resolve the Vfd issue. — [[User:33451|Mr. Grinch (Talk)]] 18:28, 30 Aug 2004 (UTC)
  • Keep. Written somewhat unprofessionaly though, send to cleanup. Kim Bruning 18:43, 30 Aug 2004 (UTC)
  • keep, but with urgent cleanup. I don't like how that "deltree" is placed there. WolfenSilva 19:04, 30 Aug 2004 (UTC)
  • Merge I agree that this is indeed a large, encyclopediatic issue (though probably not as currently written as much) it doesn't warrent it's own article. -TheFed 00:20, 31 Aug 2004 (UTC)
    • wikipedia is not paper Kim Bruning 07:26, 31 Aug 2004 (UTC)
  • Keep While the subject is, in my opinion, just pure paranoia and MS bashing, it is real (hidden in a super-secret folder). [[User:Anárion|File:Anarion.png]] 15:07, 31 Aug 2004 (UTC)
  • Keep Real file, real concerns. Does need some NPOV washing. Key45 22:02, 31 Aug 2004 (UTC)
  • Keep. Ah the days of fine-tuning my roaming profile size in Uni (deleting such files!) zoney ▓   ▒ talk 00:36, 4 Sep 2004 (UTC)
  • Keep. There are many legit Google links. It needs cleanup, not deletion. ··gracefool | 04:19, 4 Sep 2004 (UTC)

end moved discusiion

One way to actually see and delete the Index.dat file using Windows' Explorer is to log on with a user account that is a member of the Administrators group. As long as the Index.dat file is not part of the profile of the account that is used to log on, it should be possible to see and delete it. This applies to Microsoft Windows 2000 and XP.

Also the following Folder Options need to enabled or disabled: Enabled: Hidden files and folders - Show hidden files and folders Disabled: Hide protected operating system files (Recommended)

These settings should be applied to all folders.

A site one might want to take into consideration for this article[edit] has quite a bit of info on the index.dat as well as methods to remove the file: "How to manually delete INDEX.DAT Open a Command Prompt (DOS box) and CD to the directory with the index.dat Type in "del index.dat" but don't press enter Close all other programs Get Task Manager up, [CRTL]+[ALT]+[DEL] or right click the Task Bar In 'Processes' look for 'explorer.exe' End this process - it will ask you to confirm and give a stern warning explorer will automactically re-load itself. In the seconds before it does that hit [ENTER] in your command prompt. Hopefully index.dat will be deleted. A new one should appear almost immediately and will be 32k in size - but it will be largely empty. " oops forgot to sign 02:36, 13 February 2006 (UTC)

Problem not fixed in IE7[edit]

I removed the sentence, "This problem has been fixed in Internet Explorer 7", as it hasn't been fixed. --Xyzzyplugh 19:56, 14 December 2006 (UTC)

Removal of index.dat[edit]

Does anyone here have a problem with the addition of how to remove the index.dat file from Windows? If no one speeks up I will write it on Wednesday.--Susan Walton 21:47, 15 January 2007 (UTC)

Hi Susan, Wikipedia is not intended to be a "how to" guide or instruction manual. This is covered by the What Wikipedia is not policy. If you're interested in writing about this, Wikibooks is a great place to do that -- you can then link to that article from here. Thanks. -/- Warren 23:34, 15 January 2007 (UTC)


I removed the reference to using del/deltree to delete the file here [2]. Presemuably if the file is not locked, you can delete it via the GUI or any other normal method of deleting a file. Specifically mentioning del/deltree to me makes it sound like it's still hard to delete the file in safemode. It's (I presume) not, you just delete it like any normal file whether with the GUI/explorer or with cmd or whatever. Obviously moving it to the recycle bin doesn't actually delete it but this is a seperate issue. (Besides that, deleting it doesn't obviously mean the file is gone. It could be overwritten, or it could still be there 10 years from now. But this isn't specific to the index.dat of course) Nil Einne 06:24, 17 March 2007 (UTC)

RE: Deltree/del[edit]

You would not be able to see the file even with 'show hidden' or 'protected operating system' files in Windows Explorer, you need to use the command line to see the files. Microsoft uses the desktop.ini file's view modification capabilities (along with some shell extensions that it triggers I believe) to obfuscate the contents of folders containing index.dat files. They REAALLLY tried to hide these files and they are always locked as long as the networking components are loaded so safe mode with networking will not even work to unlock them.

more on removal of index.dat[edit]

I removed the statement that index.dat can be deleted simply by rebooting in safe mode, as this does not work, at least not in Vista. I just tried it.-- (talk) 08:45, 5 January 2008 (UTC)

Vista is not XP, ME, or any other system. I won't undo your edit because I'll probably be rebuked and reverted for putting it back, so just consider other things in the future. Yamakiri TC § 02-2-2008 • 18:12:22


The article is woefully problematic. Index.dat is not "one" file, but there are multiple Index.dat to index different uses - visited url cache, autocomplete cache, history, feeds etc. Plus the article puts extreme emphasis on its removal, thus making it pov. Plus it doesn't adress the fixes made with IE7 (clearing the cache used to remove stuff from the index.dat index, now it removes the actual entries as well). --soum talk 06:18, 14 February 2008 (UTC)

Clearing the cache doesn't remove anything from index.dat, it's all still there. Every few years microsoft announces that they've fixed this problem, but they never do. --Xyzzyplugh (talk) 17:08, 14 August 2008 (UTC)


This part of the article plus tde link I removed looks a lot like CCleaner advertisement.

It was very biased, ignoring the technical context and even negating existing Windows features.

  • The accusation that Windows Explorer hides index.dat files skips the fact that this is a feature - Windows Explorer shows a special "view" displaying the content of the included index.dat files instead of just the file itself. So it actually offers more transparency. I find it highly suspicious (someone wants to sell index.dat cleaners here?) to describe this as an attempt of hiding something.
  • Knowing that, the statement that Microsoft does not offer tools to view or delete these files is clearly wrong - the tools are included in the OS. Granted, this allows only database entry level removal, but a clear display of its content. If it needs to be mentioned that Windows does not allow "everything", it would be that it does not allow hard removal of the file, but the way it was stated, it sounded like it would allow nothing.
  • The usual arguments for removing the whole file is that database entry level removal does not physicaly remove the entries, just flag them as deleted. While this is true, this is true for most database formats, since it is a performance feature (re-arranging the whole database on the harddisk to cut out deleted entries would slow it down massively).
  • The false sense of security was also not well formed. Who would expect some logging to stop when you delete a log file? The feature is called Clear Temporary Internet Files, and if the author of that text thinks that this is commonly misunderstood as Disable Temporary Internet Files, please add proof.

I am not a MS fanboy, I do not work for them, on the contrary, I work in the anti-spyware industry, but facts have to be regarded fairly, and there is no need to hype index.dat beyond what it really is - a browser cache like nearly every other browser out there has, with the "Clear on Exit" feature that is argumented as missing is not that long in Firefox either and missing in most other browsers as well. (talk) 08:07, 11 November 2009 (UTC) (guess I'll register soon, sorry for the IP)

What you say is not correct:

1) If you "take possesion" of the complete OS (Windows 7) with the commands "attrib -a -s -r -h c:\* /s /d /l " and "takeown /f c:\* /a /r /d y" you will find that there are lots of instances of AppData nested in succesive levels, each one with it´s own Temporary Internet Files (index.dat) , at least this happens with Windows 7 Ultimate x86 and x64.

2) The index.dat files are not only created by the IExplorer but also by the Windows Explorer and by Java programs and contain a description of all your activity in your computer and in internet. It is relatively easy to clean or cover your traces in Internet but not of what you do in your own computer.

3) It is near impossible to know if all the index.dat are cleaned or deleted, even working in DOS and with both explorers and java unlocked, due the very deep level of the nested AppData, that as infinite "mamoushkas" never let you know where is the end, ie: c:\users\YOU\Local\AppData\AppData\AppData\AppData\AppData\AppData\AppData\AppData\AppData\AppData\AppData\.......etc (I counted up to 32 levels of nested AppData in my computer before to give up with the cleanning process). Also the Users folder IS NOT a mirror of Documents and Settings and both can contain different data.

4) The evident intention of this is not to give security to the users but in contrary to let them forever unsafe and exposed to forensic investigation procedures.

5) The only safe procedures are: 1) to edit the hard disk at low level byte by byte with tools like WinHex forensic version or 2) directly to format the disk with a low level formatter filling with zeros all the disk surface. Of course the use of tools like Winhex require a level of knowledge that most users don´t have.

5) The REAL question is if the fight against crime and terrorism justify or not such invasion to the privacy.

Be sure that the FBI, the NSA and the CIA have the tools for to read your "deleted" or "cleaned" index.dat. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Pef890 (talkcontribs) 04:29, 15 October 2014 (UTC)

index.dat also used in MS Office[edit]

An index.dat is also used by MS Office for recent file links. In Word 2010 a large index.dat and thousands of LNK files in the recent file dir can lead to delays starting or stopping word. C:\Documents and Settings\Default User\Application Data\Microsoft\Office\Recent\index.dat — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:24, 6 February 2013 (UTC)

citation needed?[edit]

At the top it says this. However, the rest of the article pretty clearly explains that brief summary. The contents of the article itself are enough of a citation! (No?) — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:43, 31 March 2013 (UTC)

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