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How to erase specific autosuggested URLs from Chrome, Firefox, and IE

A big part of my job is doing research online. That means from time to time the autocomplete function in my browser's address bar gets filled with mistyped URLs or sites I browsed once, but never want to visit again. If you've ever spent a boring night surfing around the web, chances are your browser's autosuggest function tosses up similar ghosts. 

Erasing all autosuggested URLs from your browser would be a hindrance, but specifically deleting those unwanted URLs can really streamline the browsing experience. Here's how to dump the annoying addresses while keeping all the good stuff in Chrome, Firefox, and Internet Explorer.

Chrome

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It's January. Time to get rid of Santa.

Over the Christmas holidays, I spent a lot of time researching the various online Santa trackers for our annual round-up. Unfortunately, I visited Google's Santa site so many times that now Chrome automatically suggests I go to Santa land every time I type in 'Google.com.'

Not ideal.

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Sayonara, Santa.

To delete a single autosuggested URL, start typing the address as you normally would—Google.com in my example. Then, when the unwanted autocomplete suggestion appears, use your keyboard's arrow keys to highlight the suggestion in the drop-down menu below the address bar.

Finally, press Shift+Delete and poof! The suggestion disappears. Good riddance Santa...at least until next year.

Firefox

The same basic concept you use to delete autocomplete suggestions in Chrome also applies to Firefox: Start typing the URL and then highlight the mistyped URL in the drop-down menu when it comes up. But instead of pressing Shift+Delete as we did in Chrome, simply press Delete to scrub the errant entry.

The crucial thing to remember is that you have to highlight the web address in the drop-down menu. If you just press delete without highlighting a specific autocomplete suggestion, Firefox will simply erase whatever's currently in the address bar and continue to suggest the mistyped URL in future searches.

Internet Explorer

Internet Explorer's autocomplete scrubbing works exactly the same as Firefox, but with one added feature. When you highlight an address in the drop-down menu, you'll see an "x" on the far right side. Click that "x" and it's exactly the same as pressing Delete—a handy thing to know if you prefer using a mouse over the keyboard.

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Internet Explorer also lets you scrub singular URLs with a simple mouse click. 

There's a weird quirk with IE, though. In our example, I typed in "pcw" to go to PCWorld, but due to a previous mistype I ended up going to "pcwarld.com" instead. Once I deleted pcwarld from IE, the bad suggestion remained in the address bar. Simply hitting Enter would dump me on the unwanted site.

To avoid this, you have to use your mouse or arrow keys to highlight another URL and then press Enter after you've deleted the unwanted suggestion.

Chrome and Firefox, by comparison, automatically rotate to the next suggestion after you make a deletion. Microsoft probably wants to give you one last chance to keep the web site in your suggested list, but for our purposes it's one more hurdle to pass before the job is done.

There you have it! Three simple processes to make your preferred browser a little easier to use, especially if you're prone to mistyping.

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