Senior Computer Tutor
What Are Cookies?
Cookies are small text files that record your visits to various websites and tell the site owner something about your activities, such as what areas of the site you looked at. Cookies are also used by some Web services (such as Yahoo Mail) to record your password and give you the option of not having to type it in every time.
Cookies are stored in a folder named Temporary Internet Files, which can be found by clicking Start>Search>Files & Folders and typing in the name. If you access the folder often, as I do, when it is found right-click it and choose Send To>Desktop (Create Shortcut). Henceforth you'll be able to access the folder by double-clicking the Desktop icon.
Cookies placed by legitimate "name brand" sites are benign and do no harm – but
cookies from dubious sites may contain malware that can try to access your personal information and
do malicious things with it.
To protect against such malicious cookies, I use Microsoft's free anti-malware program:
MS Security Essentials
Cookies are sent to a folder named "Temporary Internet Files," which also contains other
items seen on visited sites, such as copies of images and music files. Most folks, when deleting cookies,
also delete the other files by choosing Edit>Select All, and File>Delete.
To remove all temporary Internet files, along with deleting your browsing history, click
Start>Control Panel>Internet Options and click on the Delete buttons that
will appear. (See the illustrations below.)
These prompts also appear if you open Internet Explorer and click
Some programs, such as Gmail, will store your password as a cookie in case you want to access
your email without typing it in each time. Therefore, deleting all cookies can mean having to retype it.
If you use Google's Gmail or Chrome browser, however, you can opt to save passwords without having to
reset them after deleting cookies.
You may have multiple folders named "Temporary Internet Files" on your PC, so you need to find
the right one. Click Start>Search>All Files & Folders and type
"Temporary Internet Files" into the Name field.
WinXP users, click "More Advanced Options"
and be sure that "Search System Folders" and "Search Subfolders" are checked.
Then click "Search" and wait till all so-named folders are found.