In this page
Note: This privacy statement applies to Windows Internet Explorer 8.
At Microsoft, we're working hard to protect your privacy while delivering products that bring you the performance, power, and convenience you desire in your personal computing. This privacy statement for Internet Explorer focuses on features that communicate with the Internet, explains how those features collect your data, and describes the way that data is used. This information is preliminary and is not intended to be an exhaustive list of features. It does not apply to other online or offline Microsoft sites, products, or services. Because this software is a pre-release version, it might not work the same way as the final version of the software.
Internet Explorer has certain features that may impact or help you to protect your privacy. The sections below describe some of these features.
Internet Explorer is designed to make it easy to browse and interact with websites on your intranet or on the Internet. Whenever you use the Internet, or software with Internet-enabled features, information about your computer ("standard computer information") is sent to the websites you visit and online services you use. Standard computer information includes your computer's IP address, browser type and language, access times, and referring website addresses. This information might be logged on those sites' web servers. Which information is logged and how that information is used depends on the privacy practices of the websites you visit and web services you use.
This feature in Internet Explorer is designed for use by developers and IT professionals to determine the compatibility of their websites with Internet Explorer. When you activate this feature, Internet Explorer logs data points about your interaction with webpages in an event log, which can be viewed with the Windows Event Viewer. These events describe failures that might have happened on the site and can include information about specific controls and webpages that failed. By default, this information can be viewed by all users on the computer unless an administrator restricts this access. For more information on logs and the use of the Windows Event Viewer, search Windows Help for "Event Viewer".
Internet Explorer's AutoComplete feature lets you more quickly fill out web forms and navigate to websites you have visited in the past. AutoComplete collects and stores in the registry on your computer the data you type in web form text boxes and the Address bar. If you choose to use AutoComplete for passwords, they will be stored in encrypted form on your computer. AutoComplete information is not shared with other users of your computer.
The first time you submit a web form, you will see a message box that asks if you'd like to turn the AutoComplete functionality on.
To turn AutoComplete off and clear AutoComplete's history:
As you browse the web, Internet Explorer's Automatic Crash Recovery stores information about your browsing session on your hard disk in the event of a crash, hang, or other unexpected shutdown. If your browsing session is shut down unexpectedly, Internet Explorer offers you the opportunity to resume your last browsing session.
Automatic Crash Recovery stores the following information:
To turn off Automatic Crash Recovery*:
*Note: Turning off Automatic Crash Recovery does not prevent Internet Explorer from saving information about your tabs; it only disables the recovery of your tabs or browsing session. None of this information is sent to Microsoft unless you choose to send it, such as in an error report.
Compatibility View helps make websites designed for older browsers look better when viewed in Internet Explorer 8. If you choose to view a website in Compatibility View, as a convenience to you, Internet Explorer will remember this choice and use Compatibility View the next time you visit the site. You can clear the list of websites you've chosen to display in Compatibility View by using Internet Explorer's Delete Browsing History feature or the Compatibility View Settings dialog box.
To use the Delete Browsing History feature:
To view or modify the Compatibility View settings on your computer:
A cookie is a small text file that is placed on your hard disk by a website. Cookies are uniquely assigned to you, and can only be read by a website or web server in the domain that issued the cookie to you. Cookies cannot be used to run programs or deliver viruses to your computer.
A cookie is often used to personalise your visit to a website or to save you time. For example, to facilitate a purchase the cookie could contain shopping cart information such as your current selection, as well as contact information such as your name or e-mail address. To help websites track individual visitors, cookies often contain a unique identifier. It is up to the website that created the cookie to disclose to you what information is stored in the cookie and how that information is used.
You have the ability to accept or decline cookies. If you decide to block one or more cookies, the websites that use them might not function correctly. For example, if you do not allow cookies at all, you might not be able to view some websites or take advantage of customisation features (such as local news and weather, or stock quotes).
If you decide to block all cookies, you can use Internet Explorer's Internet Options to modify your browser settings for cookies.
To block all cookies:
Note: Blocking all cookies might prevent you from accessing many websites. The next two Internet Explorer privacy levels, High and Medium High, may be more suitable. In addition, it is possible to block a cookie for a specific site by clicking the Sites button on the Privacy tab. Please see Internet Explorer Help for more information.
Cookies previously saved to your hard disk can still be read unless you remove them. To remove all of your existing cookies:
Internet Explorer's History folder contains a list of links to the websites and Windows shell locations (i.e. drives and folders) you have visited recently.
To no longer retain history*:
*Note: To turn off History temporarily, you can use InPrivate Browsing by clicking the Safety button and then clicking InPrivate Browsing.
Internet Explorer's Add-on Management feature lets you view, enable, and disable the list of add-ons which can be loaded by Internet Explorer. Some add-ons could collect information from your computer or otherwise impact your privacy. If an add-on you are using is provided by a company other than Microsoft, the use of any information collected will be subject to that company's privacy practices. Some add-ons also can be deleted from your computer by using Manage add-ons. Add-ons you can manage include browser helper objects, ActiveX controls, toolbar extensions, explorer bars, browser extensions, search providers, Accelerators, and InPrivate Filtering settings.
To view or modify the add-ons on your computer by launching Manage Add-ons:
Note: Disabling an add-on does not remove it from your computer. It only prevents Internet Explorer from running the add-on's code—it does not prevent other software from using the add-on. If an add-on is disabled or deleted, website pages that rely on that add-on may not work as expected. For more information on add-ons, click the "Learn more about toolbars and extensions" help link in Manage Add-ons.
ActiveX controls are small apps that allow websites to provide content such as videos and games. They also let you interact with content like toolbars and stock tickers when you browse the web. However, because many ActiveX controls don’t automatically update, they can become outdated as new versions are released.
Internet Explorer tells you when it finds and blocks portions of webpages loading common, but out-of-date ActiveX controls. In order to do this, Internet Explorer will periodically download a list of out-of-date ActiveX controls from Microsoft, and standard PC information will be sent to Microsoft. For more information, see Out-of-date ActiveX controls.
Internet Explorer's Pop-up Blocker helps to block some unwanted pop-up windows from appearing without blocking the pop-up windows you deliberately launch. Pop-up Blocker is turned on by default.
To turn off Pop-up Blocker:
You can customise Pop-up Blocker in several ways, including allowing the websites you select to launch pop-ups.
To access the Pop-up Blocker settings:
Note that not all pop-up windows can be blocked with Pop-up Blocker. Please see Internet Explorer on-line Help for more information about Pop-up Blocker.
With one click, Internet Explorer's Delete Browsing History feature lets you clear website passwords that you asked Internet Explorer to save, entries in Internet Explorer's history folder, web form data, temporary Internet files, cookies, the Last Tab Group, and files and settings stored by some Internet Explorer Add-ons that have been saved on your computer. You can also clear some of these items individually, as explained in the Removing Old Cookies, AutoComplete, and Clear History sections of this privacy statement.
To use the Delete Browsing History feature:
InPrivate Browsing can help keep your browsing history private on shared computers such as in the home, Internet café or public kiosk. History data that is accumulated while browsing the web in an Internet Explorer InPrivate window, such as temporary Internet files, web address history, or cookies, will be removed when you close the window. History in other Internet Explorer Windows (not using InPrivate), will not be affected.
The InPrivate Browsing experience prevents local storage on your computer of the following:
InPrivate Browsing is not designed to obscure your identity to your internet provider or web servers on the Internet. It does not prevent data, such as your IP address, from being sent to websites you visit.
To turn on InPrivate Browsing:
InPrivate Filtering helps prevent the websites you go to from automatically sending details about your visit to other content providers. When you visit a website, you automatically share standard computer information with that website. If the website contains content provided by a third-party website (for example a map, advertisement, or web measurement tools such as a web beacon or scripts) some information about you may be automatically sent to the content provider. This type of arrangement can have several benefits. It lets you conveniently access third-party content. The presence of advertising on a website you are visiting may let the website provide access to premium content at no charge. There can, however, be an impact to your privacy as a result because it is possible for the content providers to track you across multiple websites.
When you use InPrivate Filtering, some websites you visit might be prevented from automatically sharing details about your visit with the providers whose content is displayed. As a result, some content might be automatically blocked (such as weather information or advertisements). You can manually allow blocked content by adjusting the InPrivate Filtering settings (click the Safety button, and then click InPrivate Filtering settings). You might also be able to get more information from the third-party website listed by clicking the More information from this content provider link from the InPrivate settings dialog box.
When you browse Internet Explorer keeps a record of the addresses of the websites you visit, along with the addresses of the providers that display content on those sites. When you turn on InPrivate Filtering, Internet Explorer uses this record to determine which content to block automatically. You can delete this recorded data using the Delete Browsing History feature, or you can disable the storage of this data altogether.
To delete InPrivate Filtering data:
To stop collecting InPrivate Filtering data:
There is also an InPrivate Feeds feature that lets you subscribe to lists of websites which automatically allow or block content based on criteria established by the list publisher.
Accelerators let you use web service providers more quickly and easily. For example, you can highlight a word on a website, right click, and select the "Define with Encarta" Accelerator to obtain a definition of a word without having to navigate to a separate website.
Internet Explorer has several Accelerators—including search, mapping, definition, and blogging Accelerators—that use Microsoft Windows Live web services. You can add and remove Accelerators by using the Add-on Management feature. When you use click on or move your mouse over an Accelerator, the title and full web address or URL of the current webpage, as well as standard computer information, and any content you have selected, might be sent to the service provider. If you use an Accelerator provided by Microsoft, the information sent is subject to the Microsoft Online Privacy Statement. If you use an Accelerator provided by a third-party, use of the information sent will be subject to the third-party's privacy practices.
If you enter text in Internet Explorer's Address bar that does not resolve as a valid web address, or the text begins with a question mark, "search", "find", or "go", the AutoSearch functionality will redirect you to your default search provider to help you locate the site you are looking for. To provide this feature, Internet Explorer sends the invalid web address (i.e. the text you typed in the Address bar that did not resolve into a valid web address) to your default search provider, which returns web address options to your computer. Standard computer information might also be sent to your default search provider. If Windows Live Search is your default search provider, the information sent is subject to the Microsoft Online Privacy Statement. If you use a third-party default search provider, use of the information sent to the provider will be subject to the third-party's privacy practices.
To turn AutoSearch off:
Some search providers offer search suggestions as you type when you use the Address bar in search mode (by typing a question mark before your search term). If your default search provider supports search suggestions, everything you type after the question mark is sent to your search provider as you type it. Every time information is sent to your search provider, standard computer information is also sent. If you use a Microsoft search provider, the information sent is subject to the Microsoft Online Privacy Statement. If you use a third-party search provider, use of the information sent will be subject to the third-party's privacy practices.
To Turn off search suggestions for your default search provider:
The Instant Search box lets you search the web using any of your search providers. When you type a search query into the Instant Search box and press enter or click the search button, what you have typed is sent to the selected search provider.
Some search providers offer search suggestions as you type in the Instant Search box. When you use a search provider that supports search suggestions, everything you type in the Instant Search box is sent to your search provider as you type it.
To turn off search suggestions:
When you upgrade to Internet Explorer 8, all of your installed search providers can be updated with the latest information on features they offer, such as icons or search suggestions. When you first start Internet Explorer, you are asked “Do you want to download updates for your search providers?” If you answer yes, or choose express settings, Internet Explorer will download the most up-to-date list of search provider information. This is a one-time download, but Internet Explorer will try up to four times if it doesn’t successfully download the file. If you choose not to receive the latest search provider information, the same search providers will be available that you had before upgrading, but they might not have the most up-to-data feature information. No additional information will be downloaded, and only standard computer information will be sent.
Web Slices let you automatically subscribe to and receive updates from webpages that change frequently, and view the updates without having to load the entire website. For example, you can subscribe to a Seattle, Washington weather Web Slice that updates when the current temperature changes. When you subscribe to a Web Slice, your IP address will be sent to the website that provides the Web Slice on a configurable schedule.
To remove a Web Slice:
The Customer Experience Improvement Program (CEIP) collects basic information about your computer and how you use Internet Explorer to help us improve the quality, reliability and performance of our software and services. CEIP reports generally include information about your hardware configuration, a unique identifier generated by CEIP, performance and reliability data, such as how quickly the software responds when you click a button, and program use, such as which features you use most often.
Microsoft uses CEIP reports to improve our software and services. We use the unique identifier to distinguish how widespread the feedback we receive is and how to prioritize it. For example, the identifier allows Microsoft to distinguish between one customer experiencing a problem one hundred times and other customers experiencing the same problem once. Microsoft does not use the information collected by CEIP to identify, contact or target advertising to you.
In Windows XP and Windows Server 2003, you can choose whether or not to participate in CEIP when you install Internet Explorer. On Windows Vista and subsequent versions of the operating system, your Windows CEIP participation preference will be used.
For more information, see the frequently asked questions about the Microsoft Customer Experience Program.
SmartScreen Filter is designed to help warn you about unsafe websites that are impersonating trusted websites (phishing) or contain threats to your computer. If you opt in to SmartScreen Filter, it first checks the address of the website you are visiting against a list of high traffic website addresses stored on your computer that are believed by Microsoft to be legitimate. Addresses that are not on the local list and the addresses of files you are downloading will be sent to Microsoft and checked against a frequently updated list of websites and downloads that have been reported to Microsoft as unsafe or suspicious. You may also choose to use SmartScreen Filter manually to verify individual sites with Microsoft.
When you use SmartScreen Filter to check websites automatically or manually, the address of the website you are visiting will be sent to Microsoft, together with standard computer information and the SmartScreen Filter version number. To help protect your privacy, the information sent to Microsoft is encrypted.
Information that may be associated with the address, such as search terms or data you entered in forms might be included. For example, if you visited the Microsoft.com search web site at http://search.microsoft.com and entered "Seattle" as the search term, the full address  will be sent. Address strings might unintentionally contain personal information, but this information, like the other information sent, is not used to identify, contact or target advertising to you. In addition, Microsoft filters address strings to try to remove personal information where possible.
From time-to-time, information about your usage of SmartScreen Filter will also be sent to Microsoft such as the time and total number of websites browsed since an address was sent to Microsoft for analysis. Some information about files that you download from the web such as name and file path may also be sent to Microsoft. Some website addresses that are sent to Microsoft may be stored along with additional information including web browser version, operating system version, SmartScreen Filter version, the browser language, and information about whether Compatibility View was enabled for the website. A unique identifier generated by Internet Explorer is also sent. The unique identifier is a randomly generated number that does not contain any personal information and is not used to identify you. This information, along with the information described above, is only used to analyze performance and improve the quality of our products and services.
SmartScreen Filter can be turned on and off from the Internet Explorer Safety menu. For example, to turn on automatic checking of all websites:
If you believe you have encountered an unsafe website, you can report it to Microsoft by clicking the Safety button, and then clicking SmartScreen Filter followed by Report Unsafe Website. When you report an unsafe website, some information will be sent to Microsoft including the address of the site you are reporting, and the usage information described above.
Suggested Sites is an online experience designed to show you which websites you visit most, and to provide you with suggestions of other websites you might be interested in visiting. When you turn on Suggested Sites, your web browsing history is sent to Microsoft, where it is saved and compared to a frequently updated list of websites that are similar to ones you visit often. You can choose to pause or stop this feature from sending your web browsing history to Microsoft at any time. You can also delete individual entries from your history at any time. Deleted entries will not be used to provide you suggestions for other websites, although they will be retained by Microsoft for a period of time to help improve our products and services, including this feature. Any websites you visit while InPrivate Browsing is active will not be sent to Microsoft.
When Suggested Sites is turned on, the addresses of websites you visit are sent to Microsoft, together with standard computer information. To help protect your privacy, the information is encrypted when sent to Microsoft. Information associated with the web address, such as search terms or data you entered in forms might be included. For example, if you visited the Microsoft.com search website at http://search.microsoft.com and entered "Seattle" as the search term, the full address  will be sent. Address strings might unintentionally contain personal information, but this information, like the other information sent, is not used to identify, contact or target advertising to you. In addition, Microsoft filters address strings to try to remove personal information where possible.
Statistics about your usage of Suggested Sites will also be sent to Microsoft such as the time that websites were visited, which website referred you, and how you got there (e.g., by clicking a link or one of your Favorites). A unique identifier generated by Internet Explorer is also sent. The unique identifier is a randomly generated number that does not contain any personal information and is not used to identify you. If you delete your browsing history or if you turn Suggested Sites off and back on again, a new unique identifier will be created. There is no way to correlate an old unique identifier with a new one. This information, along with the website addresses and past history, will be used to personalise your experience, as well as improve the quality of our products and services.
To turn on Suggested Sites:
To turn off Suggested Sites:
To delete your browsing history (with or without turning off Suggested Sites):
The information we collect from you will be used by Microsoft and its controlled subsidiaries and affiliates to enable the features you are using and provide the service(s) or carry out the transaction(s) you have requested or authorized. It may also be used to analyze and improve Microsoft products and services.
In order to offer you a more consistent and personalised experience in your interactions with Microsoft, information collected through one Microsoft service may be combined with information obtained through other Microsoft services. We may also supplement the information we collect with information obtained from other companies. For example, we may use services from other companies that enable us to derive a general geographic area based on your IP address in order to customise certain services to your geographic area.
Except as described in this statement, information you provide will not be transferred to third parties without your consent. We occasionally hire other companies to provide limited services on our behalf, such as answering customer questions about products or services, or performing statistical analysis of our services. We will only provide those companies the personal information they need to deliver the service, and they are prohibited from using that information for any other purpose. Microsoft may access or disclose information about you, including the content of your communications, in order to: (a) comply with the law or respond to lawful requests or legal process; (b) protect the rights or property of Microsoft or our customers, including the enforcement of our agreements or policies governing your use of the services; or (c) act on a good faith belief that such access or disclosure is necessary to protect the personal safety of Microsoft employees, customers, or the public.
Information that is collected by or sent to Microsoft by Internet Explorer may be stored and processed in the United States or any other country in which Microsoft or its affiliates, subsidiaries, or service providers maintain facilities. Microsoft abides by the safe harbor framework as set forth by the U.S. Department of Commerce regarding the collection, use, and retention of data from the European Union.
Microsoft is committed to protecting the security of your information. We use a variety of security technologies and procedures to help protect your information from unauthorized access, use, or disclosure. For example, we store the personal information you provide on computer systems with limited access, which are located in controlled facilities.
Information collected by Microsoft as part of providing you with Internet Explorer's features may be stored and processed in the United States or any other country in which Microsoft or its affiliates, subsidiaries, or agents maintain facilities, and by using a Microsoft site or service, you consent to any such transfer of information outside of your country. Microsoft abides by the safe harbor framework as set forth by the U.S. Department of Commerce regarding the collection, use, and retention of data from the European Union.
We may occasionally update this privacy statement. When we do, we will revise the "last updated" date at the top of the privacy statement. We encourage you to periodically review this Privacy Statement to be informed of how Microsoft is protecting your information.
If you have questions about this privacy statement, please contact us by clicking here.
Internet Explorer Privacy
One Microsoft Way
Redmond WA 98052