Controversy around the index.dat Windows file

Oxygen3 is reporting about the controversy that is building around the INDEX.DAT file used by Microsoft Internet Explorer. This file works like a database with redundant information about URLs, searches and recently opened files. The purpose of this file is to act as a table of contents, and store information about the web pages visited and form fields filled in if the “AutoComplete” feature is enabled. There are different INDEX.DAT files for the Internet Explorer history, the file cache and cookies.

The controversy started when several Web forums about Internet privacy reported that this file could be an invasion of user’s privacy. Their main complaint was the impossibility to delete it, as the file is blocked while Windows is working. Besides, even though the history of websites visited, the temporary files and the cookies are deleted, the INDEX.DAT file still keeps data.

This file can nevertheless be deleted simply by restarting Windows in safe mode. This problem is already fixed in Internet Explorer 7.

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