A while back as I started looking at how Windows operate, I became aware
of a few files usually hidden from the ordinary user. Now I underderstand
why system files have to be "protected" and NOT easily accesible, but the
ones I have found don't seem to have any function at all except to keep
accounting information of everything we do in Windows. Usually these are
Index.dat and there is at least 6 of them. In the older
Windows version they were called MM256 and MM2048.
Funny thing is, Windows denies their existence completly and the only way
to see them is with some 3rd party
files hunter software. I use FileFinder.
This begs the question: Why the big secrecy?
First, let do a little test. Go to
C:\WINDOWS\ and look at these 3 folders: Cookies,
Temporary Internet files and the very funny History folder. That's funny as in puzzling,
not as in "ha-ha". Open the History folder and look inside. If you clean your Internet
Explorer regulary all you will see is a folder named "
Today". If you DO NOT, you will see
folders with the previous day's name. So far so good. Now try opening the Today folder.
It will appear empty. But we know better by now that appearances can be deceiving.
Using your right mouse button, click on that History file again and look for the
Properties option (it should be the last one on the list). Choosing that, look at the
History folder again. Hmmmm...very interesting, isn't it?...That History folder was NOT
empty at all! Mine said it contained 4 (!) files and 2(!) folders and it totaled 48.2 KB -
that' s 49,378 bytes!
Doing the same thing with the Temporary Internet Folder , I found out I had 7(!) files and 5 folders totalling 32.3 KB -33,170 bytes, even when Windows insisted Temporary Internet Folder was empty! My Cookies folder had a file named Index.dat and it was 16 KB or 16,384 bytes!
Using the freeware FileFinder that I found at www.download.com, I had another look at my Cookies, History and Temporary Internet Folders. Here are the results: C:\WINDOWS\COOKIES -----Index.dat 16,384 bytes, C:\WINDOWS\HISTORY\ ----desktop.ini 113 btes, C:\WINDOWS\HISTORY\History.IE5----desktop.ini 113 bytes and index.dat 32,768 C:\WINDOWS\HISTORY\History.IE5\MSHist011999060319990604 index.dat 32,768 C:\WINDOWS\Temporary Internet Files was thre most distrubing. It contained: desktop.ini; D:\internet\Temporary Internet Files\;67;06/04/99;11:07am; index.dat ; ~\Temporary Internet Files\Content.IE5;32,768;06/04/99;11:10am; desktop.ini ;~\internet\Temporary Internet Files\Content.IE5;67;06/04/99;11:07am; desktop.ini ;~\internet\Temporary Internet Files\Content.IE5\OZ4Z0HQ7;67;06/04/99;11:07am; desktop.ini ;D:\internet\Temporary Internet Files\Content.IE5\AV6C374X;67;06/04/99;11:07am; desktop.ini ;D:\internet\Temporary Internet Files\Content.IE5\PXSITGPF;67;06/04/99;11:07am; desktop.ini ;D:\internet\Temporary Internet Files\Content.IE5\45V7IK2M;67;06/04/99;11:07am;
Now I do not want to bore you with all that gibberish. You get the idea I am sure. Find, download FileFinder from www.download.com and do all the tests yourself.
To suumorize: MM.dat or Index.dat files can be found in the floowoign locations on your HD: C:\WINDOWS\History, C:\WINDOWS\Temporary Internet Files, C:\WINDOWS\Cookies.
The questions here are: 1.what those files are, 2.what they do and 3.how to get rid of them.
Lets look at what those MM files were first. The Mm256.dat and Mm2048.dat files are cache files supposetly used by Internet Explorer. Weirdly, I DO NOT use IE, but i still have them and get them EVERY time I log on to the net. When you visit a Web page, Internet Explorer assigns the Web address a unique identification number and searches the Mm256.dat and Mm2048.dat files for that identification number. If the Web page's identification number is found, the contents of the Web page are stored locally on your computer's hard disk and Internet Explorer uses the locally stored content instead of downloading the information from the Internet. If the Web page's identification number is not found, the contents of the Web page must be downloaded from the Internet. This occurs if you have not visited the Web page before, the Web page has changed, or the Web page 's identification number has expired. When the Web page's content has been downloaded to the hard disk, the Mm256.dat or Mm2048.dat file is updated with the Web page's identification number. The Mm256.dat file is used to store the identification numbers of Web pages whose Web addresses are equal to or less than 256 characters. The Mm2048.dat is used to store the identification numbers of Web pages whoseWeb addresses are between 257 and 2048 characters. They come in three "flavours" each "small", "median" and "big". There can be found in: 1. c:\windows\history (big MM256.dat and middle mm2048.dat), 2. c:\windows\cookies (small version of both), 3.another copy of inside C:\windows\temp ( mm256.dat big version), 4. c:\windows\tempor~1\cache1~2~3~4 (middle mm256.dat & huge mm2048.dat) 5.and more in c:\windows\java\hist# You'll read inside both: Client UrlCache MMF Ver 3.2 I suspect the new Index.dat files are that same MM files renamed, because they can be found in the same folders and are the same size. The ones in the History Folder contain all the data corresponding to the links you see when its opened in Windows (they effectively are the History Folder). The ones in the Temporary Internet Files Folder contain the mapping that associates files to actual web-page elements in the cache. A cursory look at the contents of those in the Cookies folder show they contain references to at least some (if not all) the cookies set in the browser Allegedly these files collect the user's entire URL history (i.e. a record of everywhere you've ever surfed) and/or the complete summary of the directory structure hard drive. of your hard drive. By now you should have guessed that MM256.dat works together with the Cookies folder, and MM2048.dat, instead, for web-pages) I thought that by refusing to use Intrenet Explorer and using Netscape only I would be safer. They don't seem to get URL's from netscape, so I'm not sure why they're there. If I delete them they come back again.
To conclude: Microsoft's Windows95, 98, NT maintains a minimum of 12 "user activity" databases. These files are known as MM256.dat and MM2048.dat and/or Index.dat and one of each is kept in your history folder (hidden completely), your cookies folders and in each of your four cache folders (also hidden). The cookies and cache folders are not the only records MSIE keeps on your internet activities. If you use MSInternet Explorer for mail and news, everything you read and see is also recorded intact in other databases within MSInternet Explorer. A good deal of information is also stored in the registry where your file system cannot get at it. What is the reason of the 'secretness' surrounding these files is anybody guess.
The next good question I hope you are asking yourself by now is how to get rid of all those Index.dat, Mm256.dat MM2048.dat, or if it is even possible to do that. Well, there are several ways:
Sometimes you can delete them from within windows, and other times you can not! I am not exactly sure, but I think the cookie files in the cookies dir are the 'safest' If you want to read the contents of any cookie file, go to the directory and select one of these files, (its better to use winfile for this and make sure that file manager is set to show hidden files or all files or whatever. Copy the file for example as 1.rtf(rich text format) and double click on it.
Wordpad opens it and you can read it so if you've been to any sensitive sites, you can see them. Then just delete the larger files found in the temporary internet folder cache1 - cache4 dir's. It's true they re-generate every time you browse, but only in their most basic form of about 8192 bytes and if you read those, you don't see very much! The best thing to do is to disable cookies, or always refuse them unless you have a counter and it needs you to enable them.I leave my cookies 2 x 8192 bytes in the cookies folder, but delete all of the others every time that I surf. At the C:| dos prompt you can type dir mm256.dat /s and that will find every mm256.dat file on your HD do the same for the other file too.
The mm.dat files can be easily deleted in Explorer. However, if Windows does not allow you to delete them, then it is because they are in active use. Close all Internet applications (Netscape or I E, Eudora, PointCast, etc.) then delete the files in the normal manner. Remember that the mm.dat files are re-generated every time that you startup. So they must be deleted again after each time you surf to sites that you do not want recorded on your system. I don't know how to get rid of then permanently - maybe some other members have or will find out and let us know.
to find mm.dat files, go to Find and enter mm* they will show up in window. Highlight the mm2048.dat or mm256.dat and from the 'File' drop down menu select 'open containing folder' for each ofthe files. You can then change the file extention to .txt and view them with word pad or note pad. You can delete them and they will be recreated on restart as empty files, as ziggy has said below.keep it clean and surf safe. CHARLIE: