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Category: Computer Technology , Personal Tech

Everybody loves cookies!

“Yum — cookies…” No, not that kind of cookie!

We’re discussing the type of cookie that lives in your web browser. These cookies are bits of data that work behind the scenes, saving information about the sites you visit. Chances are, your web browser is collecting and storing cookies right now.

Cookie conspiracy theories began soon after the release of Internet Explorer v2. Around that time, users learned that cookies stored personal information that could be exploited to steal private data. Prior to that, users where unaware that their browsing histories were stored within the browser. But cookies weren’t created for the purpose of stealing your data. Up-to-date antivirus software and careful attention to what those tools are telling you, keeps cookies functioning as they were intended to; to make using the internet faster and to help promote a more user-friendly internet experience.

The actual data collected with cookies is usually pretty basic stuff — information about what sites you like to visit, how you use those sites (eg; do you make purchases, or just look around?), and how long you stick around. That said, developers can tailor cookies to obtain the data they’re tasked with collecting. These sites, almost exclusively, want to know things like who you are (eg; are you part of their usual demographic?) and what you’re interested in (eg; did you spend more time looking at fishing rods than at sweaters?) so that they can continue tailoring their sites to serve you better.

Under normal circumstances, cookies make your browsing experience better by enabling sites to remember your preferences, or letting you avoid signing in each time you visit certain sites.

Some cookies should be avoided. These cookies might put your privacy at risk by tracking sites that you visit. These cookies are predominantly run by advertisements you see on different sites, and will record where you saw the ad last, if the ad was clicked, and what site you were visiting. This data also ensures you won’t see the same ad too many times.

This is why it’s a good idea to clear your cookies every once in awhile. If left unchecked, they can accumulate and monopolize a lot of your computer’s storage space. You might try using your browser’s settings to automatically delete cookies each time the browser window is closed. Or just make it a part of your Monday morning ritual to clear out the cookies and their crumbs.

It’s worth mentioning cookies on other platforms. As you most likely know, your cell phone or tablet can also browse the internet, and it, too, uses cookies just like desktop browsers. Clearing mobile device cookies is similar to clearing those on a desk- or laptop computer. You’ll notice a slightly different interface that’s been designed for easier use on mobile devices. Most settings for an Andriod or Apple device are located within the browsers settings tab.

If you use Internet Explorer

To delete cookies

From the Start screen, select Internet Explorer
Right-swipe and tap “Settings”
(If using a mouse, point to the lower-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer up, and then click “Settings.”)
Select “Options,” then under “History,” choose “Select”
Select the Cookies check box, and Delete

To block cookies

From the desktop, select Internet Explorer on the task bar
Select “Tools,” then “Internet options”
Select “Privacy,” and under “Settings,” move the slider to “block all cookies,” then select “OK”

To customize cookie settings

From the desktop, select Internet Explorer on the task bar
Select “Tools,” then “Internet options”
On the Privacy tab, do one or more of the following:

  • To set what types of cookies are blocked or allowed, move the slider
  • To block or allow specific websites, select “Sites”
  • To import a privacy preferences file, select “Import”
  • To override your privacy settings for certain types of cookies, select “Advanced”
  • To reset privacy settings to their original parameters, select “Default”

When you’re finished making changes, select “OK”

If you use Google Chrome

Go to “Tools Menu”
Select “Options”
Select “Under the Hood”
“Cookie Settings” should be selected, select “Block all Cookies”
Now all cookies should be blocked in Google Chrome

To clear existing cookies:

Go to “Tools Menu”
Select “Options”
Select “Under the Hood”
Under “Privacy,” select “Show Cookies”
Here you will see all the cookies in your Google Chrome
Click on “Remove All” to remove all traces of cookies
If you wish to only remove a certain cookie, simply highlight your selections and click “Remove”

If you use Mozilla Firefox

To delete cookies for one site:

Select “New Fx Menu” and choose “Options”
Select the Privacy panel
Set Firefox will: to Use custom settings for history
Select “Show Cookies” to open the Cookies window
In the Search: field, type the name of the site whose cookies you want to remove. The cookies that match your search will be displayed.
Select the cookie(s) to remove and select “Remove Cookie”
Select the first cookie and press Shift+End to select all the cookies in the list
Click “Close” to close the Cookies window

Delete all cookies

To delete all cookies stored on your computer, either open the Cookies window as explained above and use the “Remove All Cookies” button, or try the following:
Select “New Fx Menu,” choose History, then “Clear Recent History”
Set Time Range to clear Everything
Select the arrow next to Details to expand the list of history items
Select Cookies and make sure that other items you want to keep are not selected
Select “Clear Now” to clear the cookies and close the “Clear Recent History” window.

If you use Safari

In Safari, Choose Safari > Preferences then select “Privacy”
Select “Details”
Select one or more website that stores cookies, and select “Remove” or “Remove All”
When you have finished removing websites, select “Done”