Long-time readers will know that one of the things I love about Opera is that it puts the user in control. Nowhere is this more evident than in the Delete Private Data menu.
Simply put, Opera’s Delete Private Data menu will allow you to delete any information stored in Opera.
“Delete Private Data” is found in the “Tools” menu. Selecting it will bring up this menu:
Mac OS X:
That’s what the window looks like before you press the “Advanced” button. I suggest that you press the “Advanced” button to see the specific choices:
Mac OS X:
Note that initially all of the options are checked except for email and wand passwords. This will give you a quick, thorough cleaning, but it might also be more than you need. For example, I never want to clear the history of typed-in addresses or visited links. I like to keep track of that history information. Why would anyone want to delete that information? Well, if you were using Opera in a public terminal (library, hotel lounge, etc) then this would be a good thing to do before you log off - and you might want to delete the Wand passwords too.
Simply select or unselect the boxes next to the information you want to keep or delete, and then click the Delete button.
Voila! Your tracks have been erased.
Advanced Security Notes
- Cache files are not securely deleted, so it may be possible for someone to recover them using disk recovery tools. However, the chances of your spouse/roommate/mother finding out what sites you have been visiting is close to 0.
- Once you have customized the selections using the Advanced menu, those options are retained for future use but the text of the simple dialog (see first screen shot above) does not change. This may be considered a bug or a feature:
- To those who see it as a bug, the fact that the choices are retained yet the simple dialog does not change may lead to security problems. Here is an example: imagine you want to just clear your cache, so you go to Tools > Delete Private Data > Advanced and uncheck all of the boxes except “Delete entire cache”. Now the next time you go to use “Delete Private Data” you do not use the Advanced button, but simply read the text and see that it says “Proceeding will clear your entire browsing history” which is no longer true, because you had previously unchecked the boxes next to clear history of visited pages, etc. (Some even consider it a security concern to tell people what options you had checked or unchecked!)
- Those who consider this a feature, it enables you to choose the settings that you want once and have them applied every time you use “Delete Private Data.”
- My recommendation is that if you ever use the “Advanced” button, make sure that you always use it.
Features I’d Like To See
- If I use the Advanced Options, automatically open the window to the advanced version.
- If a user chooses options besides the defaults, automatically open the advanced version so they are not confused by the text in the simple menu (which may no longer be accurate).
- Let the user decide what happens after the “Delete Private Data” window closes: Select All, Select None, Select Default, or Keep My Choices.