Index.Dat File Viewer

Propellerhead Top Tip

In case you are wondering what this is all about a quick recap might be in order. All versions of Windows (since Windows 95) have a number of hidden and protected files called index.dat, one in particular is quite troubling because it logs the address of every web page you visit using Internet Explorer, from the day that you first switch your PC on. Needless to say conspiracy theorists have has a field day with it and the favourite explanation is that it was put there a the behest of the FBI. Microsoft has certainly never given a sensible reason for its inclusion, or why it is tucked away and protected from deletion by normal means.

Anyway, over the years Propellerhead has used several tools that clear out the index.dat files — Crap Cleaner and Spider (Windows 9x only) have done a sterling job over the years, but here’s a new one, called Index.Dat Spy. This little freeware utility tracks down all of the index.dat files on your PC and shows you their contents, with the option to delete whatever they contain on the next reboot.

On my admittedly well-used multi-drive machine it found no less than 55 instances of the file, many of them quite innocent and belong to other applications but anything that reveals files that may contain personal, private or sensitive information has to be worth investigating. There’s a whole website full of useful utilities, Top Tips and freeware downloads at PCTopTips

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