If you share a Windows PC or the same internet connection with others, there are two ways for them to indirectly check the websites you browsed under incognito mode.
If you are wondering where your Incognito mode history is saved, here is the answer:
Your incognito mode history is saved in the DNS cache of your PC, which you can access through the command prompt, and in the Activity History of your router, which you can access through your router settings.
So there are two groups of people who can have access to your incognito history:
Who Can See Your Incognito History?
People using the same device as you and the router’s owner have the means to check your incognito mode history by checking your DNS cache and browsing activity in the router settings.
Before I show you how to access your incognito browsing history using these two methods and also how to hide your online activity, here are three things to keep in mind:
- Checking the incognito history in the DNS cache works for any browser. The process will be the same for Google Chrome, Firefox, Microsoft Edge, or any other browser.
- Restarting the PC clears the DNS cache, so others can only view your incognito mode history if you didn’t reboot the PC since you browsed under incognito mode.
- To access your incognito history in your router, you will need your router login information.
To view your browsing history, follow the steps below.
(If you want to understand what the incognito mode does and what it doesn’t, check this article to see who invented the incognito mode and what is the purpose behind it.)
How to Access Incognito Browsing History via DNS Cache
The DNS cache is where Windows store the IP addresses of visited websites to load them quicker in the future.
To access your incognito browsing history via DNS Cache:
- Type Command Prompt on Windows Search, then click on Run as administrator:
- On Command Prompt, input the following command:
ipconfig /displaydns> C:\Incognito.txt
This will extract your DNS cache to a text file named “Incognito” in your C:\ disk. (Inputting ipconfig /displaydns will display your DNS cache on the command prompt window.)
- Access your browsing story by opening the .txt file we created on your C:\ disk:
This file will show your browsing history as a whole, not only incognito history, so this includes websites you visited outside it.
If you see the access denied error when trying to extract your DNS file to a .txt file, it is because you are not running the Command Prompt as administrator.
Read the next session to prevent others from snooping on your browsing history through the DNS cache.
How to Delete Incognito History on Windows 10
There are two ways to permanently delete your incognito history from the DNS cache on Windows:
- Restart your PC. It automatically clears your DNS cache and, consequently, your browsing history.
- Flush your DNS Cache. It will delete your DNS cache without the need to restart your PC. This can be done in the command prompt.
Deleting your Incognito history by flushing your DNS Cache is extremely quick, just follow the steps below.
How to Delete your Incognito History by Clearing the DNS Cache on Windows 10
- Type Command Prompt on Windows Search, then click on Run as administrator.
- On Command Prompt, input the following command:
- After a moment, your DNS cache will be clear:
Here is a quick video breakdown of this process:
However, this cannot guarantee that no one will have access to your incognito browsing history. Someone with access to your router settings can still check your browser’s activity through the process shown below.
How to Access Incognito Browsing History via Router
As the device that bridges your PC and the internet, the router will also store your browsing history.
To check your browsing history in your router:
- Log in to your router by entering your router IP address on your browser address bar:
(Try commonly used router IP addresses like 192.168.1.1 or 192.168.0.1. You can try looking at the bottom or side of your router for this IP address.)
- Depending on your router device, try to look for an option named Logs, Log Settings, Activity History, WiFi History, or something like this.
- Click enable. If this feature is not turned on, you won’t be able to see the browsing history of different devices in your network.
Fortunately, there is a simple way to avoid others snooping on your incognito history through your router or WiFi. You can hide your traffic history from your router with a VPN.
Does VPN Hide Browsing History from Router?
A reliable VPN service completelly hides your browsing history from routers and WiFi. As the VPN traffic is encrypted, someone with access to the router will only know that you were on the internet but won’t be able to see the contents of your browsing.
Whenever your VPN is on, there is no need to worry that your incognito search history will be available to the router’s owner or your ISP.
But, of course, you will still want to make sure you clear your DNS cache after browsing incognito to avoid people using the same device as you see your browsing history.
Be careful when choosing your VPN. VPNs are complex software and vital to your privacy, so you want to be sure that you are selecting the best solution, as the wrong solution might do more harm than good.
Here are some tips when choosing a VPN service:
- Stay away from free VPNs. Free VPNs are free because they often sell the data they are supposed to hide, and you don’t want to take risks. If your only choice is a free VPN, you are better off without one.
- Choose a widely trusted VPN service. The internet and tracking devices are evolving at lightning speed, so the VPN services need to follow suit, or else your privacy might be exposed. So, you want to trust a company that has the resources always to keep ahead of the curve.
The best VPN solution right now is Express VPN. It is fast, it does not store user data, and it offers a wide range of server locations, so this is the VPN I have used for the last five years:
You can click here to download a risk-free trial of Express VPN and to understand more about its benefits.
Your incognito history is saved in two different locations: in your PC DNS cache and your router’s activity history.
The best way to ensure that no one will have access to your incognito search history is to flush your DNS cache or restart your PC after a browsing session while having a VPN on to ensure your traffic content won’t leak to your router (or ISP.)
If you want to access Windows advanced power settings, but they are missing, check this article on how to fix Advanced Power Settings missing on Windows 10/11.
If you have an Intel WiFi 6 AX201 network card and your Wi-Fi keeps disconnecting, I’ve written an article on how to fix Intel WiFi 6 AX201 keeps disconnecting.