back to article Microsoft dishes dirt on IE8 'pr0n mode'

Microsoft has outlined the new privacy tools available in its forthcoming browser Internet Explorer 8 (IE8). Earlier this week the company’s program manager Andy Zeigler confirmed rumours from last week that Microsoft would include a privacy browsing feature affectionately known as "porn mode". He said four new controls with …


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  1. Ryan Barrett

    What about index.dat?

    Are they going to clear that, or will the little spy file continue to monitor every site you've visited?

  2. Tony

    Am I missing something?

    There doesn't seem to be anything very revolutionary about this?

  3. Thomas

    "caused quite a kerfuffle among bloggers"

    Safari has had this feature for a while, and therefore I assume Firefox has had it for absolutely ages. So what's the kerfuffle?

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    oh dear...

    Sounds like a good idea, too bad the kiddies will be using it to hide all their browsing from their parents, what's a parent to do?

    Me, I use firefox within sandboxie for my pr0n mode, it ensures that dodgy sites that are more likely to have malware and the like can't mess with the PC, and I only get the pics out of course. :)

  5. Anon

    Won't save

    Don't worry, phorm will be there to watch your every move.

  6. Fnord Keenly

    Firefox is there already

    The pr0n aficionados out there already should have discovered Firefox's handy Profile Manager, which lets you essentially do the exact same thing.

    firefox.exe -profilemanager

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    hardly a new feature for browsers

    "will switch off cookies, browsing and search history, and it won't save form data and passwords. In addition, it will automatically clear the cache at the end of the browser session."

    I've already configured Firefox this way since version 2. It's hardly a new thing for browsers. Anyway, why the prQn assumption? Some of us are just paranoid.

  8. Ben Smith
    Thumb Up

    About time really

    Regardless of the moral issues regarding p0rn, the key issue should always be to protect innocent eyes. Ideally, adults should be able to use the computer for what they want and leave no traces behind them.

    Most people's first experience of p0rn was in finding the stash that belonged to a parent or older sibling, and although this might have been relatively harmless stuff several decades ago, the stuff available nowadays is generally speaking much "harder" (no pun intended) than that in the days of old...

    You won't, can't, stop people using p0rn.

    What you can and should do is protect the innocence of children in such matters for as long as possible. That's not the same as being prudish - nothing wrong with sex, and children should be told that (once they are old enough for such a message to be appropriate). There is however danger in any child witnessing the sex scenes common on the Internet and thinking that they relate to standard human sexual behaviour rather than a (mostly) male-centric fantasy.

    Not using the Paris icon because it's just far far too obvious...

  9. Anonymous Coward

    I am sure I have heard similar things before

    I know it was in the Opera settings dialog several years ago IIRC

  10. Ian Ferguson
    Paris Hilton


    I think we need to decide what toolbar icon is suitable for Porn Mode.

    Paris, cos she is a likely candidate.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ thomas

    There is an article in /. that claimed that this feature can also block ads the way Firefox extension AdBlock Plus do. If IE8 really has that (which even Safari and vanilla Firefox do not have), the implications is huge. Already those /. denizens claims that Microsoft is doing it to stop Google Adwords.

  12. Anonymous Coward


    Exactly what I was thinking! FF to name but one browser, has had this stuff for donkey's. In fact the one reason I prefer FF, when I'm visiting the less salubrious "side" of the internet!

  13. Neil


    And I thought 'pr0n' was an inconspicuous name for my E drive.

  14. Anonymous Coward

    delete or overwrite?

    Will IE8 overwrite cached files or just delete them? It's really easy to recover "deleted" files on windows...

  15. David Webb
    Gates Halo

    UAC Flash....

    ... would be very nice. Having flash decide to run on any site which wants it to run is quite horrific, especially if you play an MMO, a new vuln is on the lose that uses Flash (again). If IE would disable plugins by default and only allow them to be active on sites you trust, it would do a lot to improve security.

  16. A J Stiles

    Google Adwords?

    Google Adwords is just one of the nuisances I've been blocking with my proxy server for a long time. My whole browsing experience is a lot like watching the BBC.

    Mine's the one without a brand name.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Adsense supported sites will Block IE8, Use Firefox

    inPrivate tells users a site is tracking them if it present on 10 sites they visit. So Google advertising will be flagged as a privacy invasion and the user can block it.

    Ad supported sites will go out of business. Except they won't, Google will set a flag to indicate the ad has been served and the sites will redirect users to the Firefox download page if they have adsense blocked., or perhaps an explanation page.

    Nobody likes freeloaders.

  18. John


    That nasty little hidden file that collects EVERY url cannot be deleted while you are using your account. Maybe IE8 will edit it, maybe.....

    You have to log into a different account, or even boot to MS DOS prompt, or even better mount the drive under Linux, to delete it.

    Have fear, even with porn mode on, the police will still be able to see every little kiddie website you wank over.

    index.dat is the number 2 reason that I don't use IE. Number 1 is that I use Linux.

  19. Humph

    Once again ...

    ... Microsoft making a big hoo-ha about adding features to their second-rate browser that have been available in the competition for years, whilst trying to make it sound like they're "innovating".

    Remember the fanfare when they wheeled out tabbed browsing like it was the Second Coming?

  20. Anonymous Coward
    IT Angle

    So what?

    I already have this with Firefox, have done for years.

    Clears all data when I close it.

  21. W

    "the feature, when enabled, ...

    ...will switch off cookies, browsing and search history, and it won't save form data and passwords. In addition, it will automatically clear the cache at the end of the browser session"

    So, as others have already stated, it'll be just like Firefox "paranoid mode" settings I've got at the mo.

    @ Ben Smith: agreed.

    Re: IE8 "AdBlock" to hurt Google. Interesting. Veeeery interesting. Particularly keen to see how they'll credibly manage to block Google's ads which are markedly less anoying than the abomination that is

  22. Anonymous Coward

    Absolutely Pointless

    It is a widely known fact that any Microsoft Windows version is a virtual partyhouse of and for data miners.

    The Windows Virtual Memory system gladly retains any information that passes through your system in the swapfile on your harddrive - passwords, addresses, files you clicked/hovered over/edited/sniffed/licked/sent/deleted/moved/etc.

    Then there's the wonderful magic of multiple temp folders - one on C:, one in C:\Windows, one in C:\Winnt (and yes, there are systems that have BOTH Windows and Winnt), several more in C:\Documents and Settings\All Users and your own user account, Then there's C:\System Volume Information to which you do not have access by default (System Restore is your friend, really. especially in court), Any software you may have installed that grafts it's own temp and restore systems onto your computer, etc.

    Then last but certainly not the least; your own internet provider. Your pal, your chum, your biggest friend of all. Especially when Uncle Bobby comes round for a pint of computer forensics.

    With the lovely Data Retention laws now coming into full effect everywhere, your bits and bytes are stored 1:1 on nice, shiny, BIG disk arrays where anyone with a pea sized brain can trawl through your every move like it's the next best thing in the IKEA catalogue.

    All in the name of privacy right? Good luck hiding your tracks!

  23. Anonymous Coward

    @AC (Re: @Tony)


    "Exactly what I was thinking! FF to name but one browser, has had this stuff for donkey's. In fact the one reason I prefer FF, when I'm visiting the less salubrious "side" of the internet!"

    A pr0n mode for donkeys? Your side of the net is certainly anything but salubrious!

  24. D. M
    Paris Hilton

    Sure FF already had it

    for ages. However, for average uneducated IE users, do you expect they would know a single thing about FF? All they need is the ability to check email and watch pr0n. This will be a huge help for them.

  25. Chippy-Minton


    removes index.dat...

    Other than that run a ramdrive and redirect your files to here.

    Of course the best way is simply to run a "live" linux cd which can't possible write to your HDD in the first place.

  26. Steven Knox
    Gates Halo


    It IS revolutionary. Nothing really exists until Microsoft has written their own version of it. It's how they've become the most innovative company in history.

  27. The Mighty Spang
    Thumb Up

    re: what's a parent to do?

    run an undelete utility on the cache folder perhaps?

    delete != wipe

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @A J Stiles

    A J Stiles sez:


    > My whole browsing experience is a lot like watching the BBC.

    you mean you have filters that exclude anything hostile to the EU, positive towards Israel, or acknowledges the existence of, erm, what was it now, some place we heard about the other side of the M25?

  29. Tony

    @Ben Smith

    'There is however danger in any child witnessing the sex scenes common on the Internet and thinking that they relate to standard human sexual behaviour rather than a (mostly) male-centric fantasy.'

    You mean that you don't regularly have unprotected sex with several large-breasted ladies simultaneously, who you just met after going round to fix their washing machine? I feel sorry for you mate - happens to me all the time.

  30. captain kangaroo

    Safari does this already

    .. not surprising really...

    I do wonder what parents will do now, but having said that, any kid who wants to surf without her/his parents knowledge will find a way. Unless you've got an upto date standalone firewall that's locked down, you're not going to stop them.

  31. Mark Fenton


    If you reboot your computer and login with another account, say the local admin, you can delete the index.dat files of other users.

  32. W
    Thumb Up

    If Q = index.dat

    Then A = CCleaner

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    No need to use another user account, switch to command line, or mount using Linux.

    Just use Unlocker.

    Right click, Delete. Done!

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    What's in a name

    isn't prOn some kind of fish?? is PORN! P-O-R-N

    poooooorrrrnnnn there I said it!

    nothing wrong with it, and nothing wrong with cleaning up after it

  35. Anonymous Coward

    Most commonly asked question....

    ...from on-site housecall-type repairs: "How do I clear the location bar?"

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Gutted doesn't quite cover it....

    I'd assumed this pr0n mode meant that I wouldn't get anything except filth delivered to my browser.

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Can't wait for the first court case...

    Fired for surfing p0rn. Does evidence exist on the computer? If no, then sue employer for lack of proof (assuming they were not caught -ahem- red handed).

    If yes, then sue MS for their product failing to perform as advertised. You just know it will happen, and some opportunistic lawyer will chase the big money. Especially if the end user did not accept the EULA (the IT guy did).

  38. Frumious Bandersnatch

    "sites that might check their browsing history"

    You mean that (a) sites can do this, and (b) the browser happily obliges?

    Good grief!


    This would be same Microsoft

    who tapped Instant Messenger using DPI so they could read^h^h^h^h analyse private communications now suddenly championing the cause of privacy by doing the same thing as Firefox has done for ages.

    How about something really impressive, like 'tor mode' ?

  40. Vlad

    Linux live CDs

    I thought that's what live CDs such as Knoppix were for!

    But, more importantly, what about Duck Porn ( )?

  41. Eugene Goodrich

    I'll tell what's so special about this

    It's numbers.

    It's well and good for Firefox or Safari or Opera or Lynx to already have some feature, but that leaves out quite a few users. Actually, that leaves out more than half the users on the Internet, it appears.

    I didn't quite see in TFA where Microsoft or anyone else has said this is the first time anyone has done this ever. They seemed to say things more like "if you used IE7 and thought cookie clearing could be refined, you'll like this new IE8 feature."

    People at the other end of the web - advertisers and content providers - are going to have to cope with this because more and more (or, _even_ more and more) users are going to have and may choose to use this functionality. These advertisers might think it's revolutionary that not only now do the "thinkers*" who use FireFox and Safari have the ability to resist cookie and ad surveying, the plebs have it too.

    (* I use this in a mock pejorative way. I am reminded of a friend-of-a-friend's six-year-old son who hung about a LAN party recently inflicting his enlightened anti-Microsoft, pro-Firefox, doesn't-care-if-you-care position on us.)

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    pr0n? What's that?

    Please give several examples in jpg format please

  43. Zmodem

    not for the educated admins

    who dont know how to set security permissions for ie settings with regedit

  44. Edward Livengood

    @Can't wait for the first court case...

    There are plenty of ways for a Corp. to log access to porn without needing to have any of it stored on the workstation itself.

  45. Graham Lockley


    >You mean that you don't regularly have unprotected sex with several large-breasted ladies simultaneously, who you just met after going round to fix their washing machine? I feel sorry for you mate - happens to me all the time.

    You bastard !! You owe me a new monitor to replace the one I just sprayed beer over after reading your post :)

  46. mike panero

    An ans to those instant on linux bios?

    Apart from kicking Google in the groin, wouldn't you choose one of those instant on Linux based BIOS things coming out of China to go browse for wankalcious pron?

  47. Nexox Enigma


    For my porn, back when I was using Windows, I just created a new user in Windows, then ran my browser as that user. Sure anyone that wanted to could browse to the other user's profile and poke around, but it wasn't likely that I'd accidentally click something and have a bunch of porn sites in the recently viewed url list.

    And as for what parents should do... Transparent Proxy. I know this works because that's how I accidentally discovered that my roommate was looking at (not even very good) porn while I slept a couple years ago. Squid takes a good 10 minutes to set up if you're running a Linux or BSD firewall, and if you're not... Then just assume your kids are looking at porn whenever you aren't in the room.

    I don't even know why children get their own computers with unsupervised Internet access... Don't parents know that the internets are dangerous?

  48. Dale


    Using the "movefile" command, you can delete index.dat at next boot.

    From my work Vista laptop:

    movefile "C:\Users\<username>\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Temporary Internet Files\Low\Content.IE5\index.dat" ""


    movefile "C:\Users\<username>\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Cookies\index.dat" ""

    There's quite a few index.dat files on your PC, you need to get them all the IE related ones.

    Index.dat - more info here:

  49. Aaron Guilmette


    Sshh! Don't tell. It's more fun when users don't know it and admins can review the proxy logs. Users find the best stuff, sometimes.

  50. Aaron Guilmette


    I think you're spot on. Most of these "options" aren't new, but the presentation is. We administrators understand how to mass configure these settings for users, but more often than not, it's a pain because they complain.

    Most corporations enforce the use of IE because the configuration can be centrally managed through Group Policy. These changes, regardless of how unoriginal or uninnovative they may be will have a large impact due to the sheer number of IE users that will get this functionality automagically through Windows Updates.

    Mine's the one with the features turned off...

  51. Geoff

    Go BB!

    Steven Knox:

    "It IS revolutionary. Nothing really exists until Microsoft has written their own version of it. It's how they've become the most innovative company in history."

    That sounds so 1984'ish

    M$ wishes they were BB

  52. Geoff

    FF Cache Settings

    For those Firefox users that don't know yet...

    Type about:config into the url bar to bring up the settings

    Type cache into the filter bar

    Then set all cach capacities to 0 and set all other cache toggles to false

  53. Geoff


    Leave privacy.item.cache set to true.

  54. Dr. Mouse

    “InPrivate Browsing”

    Is the prefix 'in' not used to invert the meaning of a word?

    So InPrivate browsing would be the opposite of private browsing.

    Anyhoo, does anyone REALLY trust Microsoft to respect privacy?

  55. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    ...let's all relax, Microsoft will protect us....LOL .... Yea, just lie back and browse away, it's OK, Microsoft will always place YOU and your privacy before any government or corporate demands for details on the aforementioned . Yes, you can trust Microsoft so much you don't even have to think about learning or using any other products or techniques to cover your tracks ever again. It's not like there will be any little caveats to it's methodology or implementation.

    OK, so that's nothing to see here then... C'mon, really....

  56. Graham Marsden


    Just download a copy of Firefox Portable, run it from a memory stick and you'll have no "incriminating evidence" left on your hard drive.

  57. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    lmfao - pr0n mode ...

    yeh - like ... otherwise known as ... sniff my packets I'm doing something dodgy ... way to go M$.

  58. Snert Lee

    The Aroma of Innovation

    So the innovative bit is ganging together some toggle bits under an easy to find button rather than putting them down in Internet Options.

    But the curious bit is that it's being portrayed in the mainstream media as a anti-Google move. Foxnews and financialtimes both claim it's a terrible turn of events for online advertising. But if you're worried that this new power will shield evil-goers, they say "Although casual users cannot see the previous user’s search history, authorities such as the police will be able to access it if necessary."

  59. Anonymous Coward

    @AC, why call it pr0n?

    Cos some berks still use filters that "string-slice" and if you type the word in correctly, they throw hissyfits.

    As any reasonable IT Support person knows though, you don't use IE to surf for that sort of thing even if you are dumb enough to do it at work. Not unless you want all sorts of people knowing what you're looking at...

    If you are dumbass enough to do stupid things like pr0nsurf at work, make sure you have a relatively up-to-date image of your hard drive (without all the dodgy stuff, natch) so when the EvilStevies come looking, you swap *your* HDD into someone else's machine, reimage the disk from *their* machine to look like yours, pop it into your machine and then pretend nothings going on...

    Of course, if you are a Manager and want to get rid of one person but want to keep the others and you know they have *all* been up to dodgy stuff, just start a Project that requires "older" machines and give the new machines to the staff you want to keep. If all the 'old' machines have to be degaussed and renamed (several times) so they are untracable, it will only take a decent Desktop Support Team a few days to do.

    Just make sure you don't send an email advising everyone to delete any "unwanted" data before dropping the target in the crap. Or if you must, don't let your target find out about it since it makes a good case for Unfair Dismissal.

    Skull-and-Crossbones for the bastards who tried to do over me this way.

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