I was searching the web today, and I realized that my browser had stored thousands of previous search queries in its database. I’m one for privacy, so I felt like I should clear those out. If anything, cleaning them out should help to keep the system running smoothly. I went into my Firefox settings to find the way to clean them out, and I realized that there was no easy way to do so. The search history is tied together with the form history, so if you clear out your searches, it will also clear out any saved data you may have to auto-populate forms. That doesn’t make sense to me, so I searched for a way to fix that. I asked on the Mozilla support forums, and got the standard response: use an extension. Well, the extensions that do this are convoluted and actually do a lot more than I needed. I just wanted to clear my history without doing it manually by holding the delete key down for 20 minutes. I started poking around in my profile directory to see where this information might be stored and found the location. It is saved in the same database file as the forms data, which makes sense as to why they are tied together in the application. Fortunately every entry for the search history has a specific field name, and makes it easy to manually clear just that, and nothing else. Now, I could have just used sqlite3 to wipe out the data, and be done with it, but I wanted an easy way to do this again in the future.
Firefox Search History Cleaner is born! It’s a tool that does exactly what I want, and nothing else. To use it, all you need to do is launch the executable and click the Load Database button. It will find your profile automatically (if you have more than one, you will have to choose) and load your search history. You can sort it by search query or date, and select specific entries to delete or delete them all. Everything is driven with a few simple buttons. Before you delete your history, you can export your search history to a text file for later reference. If you’re a Firefox user, and you hate that you can’t clear your search history, then check out this tool and see if it’s right for you!