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Is there any way to prevent index.dat from re-creating itself?


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Yep.Swimmer and php are both correct.

If you delete them (more than one on XP) it will always recreate them upon reboot, but it does erase the info that was there.

It will only add info. back if you use IE again.

I use a program called ultra wipe (old program) everyday just for deleting index.dat files.

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Can you make the file read-only?

I am sure that on a reboot it would correct the permissions.. 

The wikipedia states that If you update to IE7 you can remove it..  I dont know what that means or if it is accurate.. but i guess it would be worth a try if you are willing to use RC1 for a little bit.

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