Neat program cleans out old URLs

Question: You recently wrote about how to remove the URLs from the pull-down menu in Netscape Navigator 4.0. I tried this five times. The history files keep reappearing after they are deleted. They appear to be gone from the file, but they show up again next time Netscape is loaded. I have both Netscape 3.0 and 4.0 loaded. What’s wrong? –W.S.

Answer: A few people reported this problem. The technique I outlined — which painfully involves editing the URLs out of the prefs.js file — seems to work fine if you uninstall Netscape 3.0 before loading Netscape 4.0.

Alas, my not-so-ingenious editing trick doesn’t work when you load one version over another, or when you allow the two versions to co-exist on the same machine.

But fear not. Christopher Salvador, tech wizard at Telus Multimedia of Edmonton, came to my rescue. He suggested using the program Cover Your Tracks, by Fat-Free Software. This small piece of shareware takes care of the reappearing URLs with a couple of clicks of some friendly buttons. No need to mess around with text editors.

The authors of the program are 16-year-olds Jonathan Lansel and Chris Gill, and both are clearly bright guys. Lansel, Fat-Free Software president, explained how the program works. “CYT does edit the prefs.js file as you described in your article on March 5, although it also edits the registry. You see, in Netscape 3, the URLs in the pull-down bar were stored in the software section of your registry.

“Suppose you had Netscape 3.0 and now you have Netscape 4. If you delete the entries in the prefs.js file, Netscape will look to the registry to find URLs and load them from there,” he added. CYT clears both, if both exist, each time.

Download your free trial of Cover Your Tracks at

Question: You described how to delete the contents of the pull-down URL menu in Netscape. Could you describe the process to delete the addresses in the “address” box in Microsoft Internet Explorer 4.0? –W.R.

Answer: This is a little more straightforward than the previous one. In Internet Explorer 4.0, go to the View menu. Click Internet options, and then click the Clear History button.