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Author Topic: Delete protected index.dat files in Win XP with IE6 without reboot  (Read 6702 times)

Nod5

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I just learned how to delete protected index.dat files in Win XP with IE6 installed without reboot and thought I might as well post the instruction here in case someone else is interested.

note: IE7 seems to have a built in solution for this already: http://blogs.msdn.co...06/01/12/512232.aspx  Does it work as advertised?

Until recently I thought ccleaner regularly cleared the index.dat files (I have that option ticked in ccleaner) but apparently not on my system at least. Tools like ClearAllHistory ($20) claim to be able to delete index.dat on each window startup (I haven't tried it). If anyone knows of some easy and free way to mimic that feature of ClearAllHistory without IE7 then please inform me.

Instruction below condensed and modified from http://www.arstdesig...icles/index.dat.html

-----------------------------
INFO ABOUT INDEX.DAT FILES:
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Index.dat
- index.dat are files related to cache, visited URLs, history, cookies that are hard to remove
- 3 types of index.dat: cache, cookies, history
- each user account contains all three
- index.dat might be loaded/locked by multiple processes at win start
- therefore index.dat files can't be deleted the regular way

---> 3 * num of accounts * num of processes to kill (but many are the same process)
---> 3 * num of accounts index.dat files to delete

To see for yourself, do a search for "index.dat" in path "C:\Documents and Settings"  (might require enabling viewing of hidden files in Explorer settings first). Browse found index.dat files with Index Dat Spy , http://www.stevengou...datspy/download.html . Alternatively, just check the size and creation date for the index.dat files. If a file is old it probably contains track records of internet usage.

NOTE: I've only tried this on index.dat in the "C:\Documents and Settings" path Windows puts index.dat files at other places too. For example:
C:\WINDOWS\pchealth\helpctr\OfflineCache\index.dat
C:\WINDOWS\system32\config\systemprofile\Cookies\index.dat
But those files seem different and deleting them might create problems (from what I've read - I haven't tried it). Also, at least on my system, those files can either not be read by Index Dat Spy or can be read but contain no internet usage related information.

-----------------------------
NEEDED TOOLS:
sysinternals handle (command line freeware)
http://www.microsoft...dThreads/Handle.mspx
sysinternals pskill (command line freeware)
http://www.microsoft...tilities/pskill.mspx
autohotkey + compiled script DelIndexdat.exe (source below)
http://www.autohotkey.com/

-----------------------------
DO THIS:
0. get & prepare tools
0. Put delindexdat.exe , handle.exe , pskill.exe in some folder and open two cmd windows there.
1. Cmd-line: handle \index.dat
2. For each process using index.dat, do in 2nd cmd window: pskill pid   
(note: pid = the process id as listed by handle.exe. Do pskill on explorer.exe last)
(note: Antivirus tools might resist being killed. If so close/disable them manually and repeat 2.)
3. Cmd-line: delindexdat.exe
4. restart explorer (cmd-line: explorer)

-----------------------------
PREPARE TOOLS:
AUTOHOTKEY, save as DelIndexdat.ahk and compile to DelIndexdat.exe
Loop, C:\Documents and Settings\index.dat,, 1
FileDelete, %A_LoopFileFullPath%
HANDLE needed syntax: handle index.dat
PSKILL needed syntax: pskill <process name | process id>
             example: pskill 1496   
             example: pskill explorer.exe


---------------------------------
note: http://www.arstdesig...icles/index.dat.html also suggests creating read-only dummy index.dat files to prevent windows from later recreating some of the index.dat files. I haven't tried that and don't know if it gives any problems.
« Last Edit: July 01, 2007, 08:00:10 AM by Nod5 »

cmpm

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f0dder

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Re: Delete protected index.dat files in Win XP with IE6 without reboot
« Reply #2 on: July 01, 2007, 11:27:43 AM »
I don't see any reason to delete index.dat files unless you're using public computers and doing stuff there you shouldn't be doing from public computers, if you're surfing really nasty stuff at home, or surfing inappropriate material at work (which can be caught by the BOFHs after all).

Previous-URL autocompletion rocks :-*
- carpe noctem

cmpm

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Re: Delete protected index.dat files in Win XP with IE6 without reboot
« Reply #3 on: July 01, 2007, 01:00:43 PM »
narrow-minded aren't we?
could be other reasons to delete .dat files
i run cleanup occasionally just to blow it's nose
sheesh, get accused of looking at porn for this?

no, i do not surf porn sites, thank you for asking

Nod5

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Re: Delete protected index.dat files in Win XP with IE6 without reboot
« Reply #4 on: July 01, 2007, 01:22:25 PM »
cmpm,
those links point to tools/strategies that either require manual input every time (reboot into safe mode..., Index Dat Spy) or are non-free (PC Mesh; CleanUp!), right? I don't want extra manual work. And it's only these around ten small files that I want to delete repeatedly and they are no big problem so I'll never buy a program for 35$ just to it. I'm more looking for some small, free set-it-and-forget-it solution. Like some way to execute something similar to an autohotkey script or a .bat file at startup, before window has loaded fully and before the other processes have locked the index.dat files. The autostart folder executes after window has loaded so I think that's to late.

I could also just download and install IE7 but last time I checked there was some trouble with it and Maxthon Browser that I use. Probably sorted now though. But I'd still like to know in general how to best execute some sort of customizable script at each reboot without manually going into safe mode.

f0dder,
Writing about cleansing surfing logs can sound a bit suspicious I suppose (on a related note, *cough* fSekrit *cough* We're talking strong encryption! Very fishy indeed!! Probably filled to the brim with explicit ASCII-art!!! :P) But inappropriate stuff is really not the case or issue at all. I just try in general to leave as few logs, usage histories and so on as possible on any computer. It's just a good general privacy habit to adopt I would say. Especially if you have also have a laptop that get's carried around a lot. Besides, it annoys me that microsoft wants to decide over what personal information a user should keep or not keep. That should be up to the user, as always. I think someone said that personal data is becoming the new toxic waste: it leaks and accumulates rapidly everywhere and we don't have the proper systems in place for cleaning it up yet.

I've never liked previous-URL autocompletion in browsers actually (I like live search in many other applications though). I use a plain local start page with a lot of links instead. That covers about 80% of my internet usage and I think it is about as quick as using autocompletion extensively.
« Last Edit: July 01, 2007, 01:27:51 PM by Nod5 »

cmpm

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Re: Delete protected index.dat files in Win XP with IE6 without reboot
« Reply #5 on: July 01, 2007, 01:33:20 PM »
Cleanup is free, I thought the others were also.
Could be mistaken.

Curt

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Re: Delete protected index.dat files in Win XP with IE6 without reboot
« Reply #6 on: July 01, 2007, 04:21:36 PM »
I use IE7 and Maxthon 1.6 and they work fine together. But of course, if you have customized your IE6 you might not want IE7, because it  will not be customized and it is dull to look at, compared to the customized IE6 I had before. In fact, I miss the look of my IE6.



Edit: Read http://www.donationc...dex.php?topic=8812.0 and try the free Returnil
- then there will be no index.dat to care about:

Edit2:
Quote
Features

The Returnil Virtual System:

> Keeps your System Partition safe when browsing the Internet

> Viruses, Trojans, Worms, Adware, Spyware, and unwanted content disappear with a simple reboot

> Enforces settings and protects your internet privacy

> Helps reduce overall disk wear by using memory rather than HDD cloning technology

> Saves you time, money, and lost hair by maintaining or improving peak computer performance

> Reduces or eliminates the need for routine disk de-fragmentation of your system partition

> Your spam filter is strong, but not infallible – Returnil will eliminate the consequences of opening infected e-mail and/or attachments

> Leaves absolutely no traces of computer activities

> Eliminates all activities even if your computer is powered-off or crashes

> Eliminates the danger of evaluating new software that does not require a reboot to install

> Offers stronger, simpler and smarter protection for your PC

> Seamless integration with supported Windows Operating Systems

> Easy to use, simple to configure, and the one tool in your arsenal that will be there to save the day when all else fails!
« Last Edit: July 01, 2007, 04:58:18 PM by Curt »

Nod5

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Re: Delete protected index.dat files in Win XP with IE6 without reboot
« Reply #7 on: July 05, 2007, 04:53:11 AM »
Cleanup is free, I thought the others were also.
Could be mistaken.
No my mistake, will try out Cleanup now. Thanks for the help.

Curt,
Thanks for the feedback. Returnil sounds a bit like Sandboxie.

Curt

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Re: Delete protected index.dat files in Win XP with IE6 without reboot
« Reply #8 on: July 05, 2007, 09:03:10 AM »
To my understanding the biggest difference between Sandboxie (and all the others), on one side, and Returnil on the other side, is that the Sandbox family will work in (on?) a partition, but Returnil is solely working in memory. I have not yet tried Returnil myself, but I sure will, and I expect a lot of it.

And now Returnil is FREE for personal use:
http://www.returnilv...iles/rvspersonal.htm
« Last Edit: July 05, 2007, 09:05:15 AM by Curt »