Delete index.dat on Windows 98SE

This brief tutorial on removing (and replacing) the "index.dat" file applies to any Windows OS running on MS-DOS. Although I haven’t researched this officially, it appears that all Windows versions released prior to Windows 2000 are running on the 16-bit MS-DOS kernel. Conversely, Win2000 and WinXP operate on a 32-bit kernel and thus do not utilize MS-DOS. Thus, this method focuses on removing the index.dat from machines running Windows 95, 98, and 98SE.

As you may be aware, Internet Explorer utilizes a file called "index.dat". The index.dat file serves a log that documents every domain visited through Internet Explorer. Deleting or modifying this file through Windows is impossible because Windows is "using" the file whenever Windows is running. Thus, to delete (or edit) the index.dat file, it is necessary to operate outside of Windows via MS-DOS mode.

So, without further ado, follow these easy steps to replace your unwanted index.dat file with a new, "empty" index.dat file:

  1. Click "Start > Shut Down > Restart in MS-DOS mode > OK"
  2. At the DOS prompt, enter: "del c:\windows\tempor~1\content.ie5\index.dat" (without the quotes)
  3. Press "Enter" and reboot the system. Windows will create a new index.dat file automatically.