Computer cookiesComputer cookies are pieces of data that are sent to your browser from web sites you visit, identify you as a unique user and track your web usage. Every time you visit a certain website, it will look for its cookie on your hard drive. It uses the information stored within the cookie to know your name, your shopping preferences and other information about you. Computer cookies can do everything from monitoring your visit throughout websites to tracking how many times you have visited the website, how long you have been on the website, your login information at a particular page, etc.
The primary purpose of cookies is to recognize a user and retain his/her personal preferences when he/she returns to a website. If you personalize web pages, register for products or services, cookies help to recall your specific information. This may be useful to simplify the process of recording your personal information, such as billing addresses, shipping addresses, etc.
How to clean cookies
Why you should clean cookiesEvery time you visit a website, it will look for its cookie on your hard drive. It uses the information stored within the cookie to know your name, your shopping preferences, etc.
Despite cookies are useful, they can also store such information as your name and password on protected login pages, preferences, account information and choices you have made on the website. And even if you clean browser history, cookies like a map will show your surfing preferences, habits, passwords, etc. Even if the cookies don't contain such information they clearly show that you visited the websites from which they came. So to protect your privacy, you should constantly clean cookies.
Also in one of their malevolent forms, cookies from one web site might track your visits to a different web site. For example, most of the ads that you see on web sites do not come from the website that you are viewing, but from websites that provide ads to many sites. When the advertising site displays the ad, it can send cookies on your computer. This lets the advertising company track your web usage over a range of sites and profile your browsing habits.
How to clean cookiesOne way to maintain your privacy is to clean cookies manually. But in Internet Explorer even if you clean cookies manually, index.dat file stores Internet surfing information. This file keeps a total record of every website you visited. And this file is locked, so you cannot delete it by hand.
How to clean cookies in Internet ExplorerClean cookies in Internet Explorer 9.0
Open the Tools menu and select 'Delete Browsing History', then select 'Cookies', then click the 'Delete' button.
To clean cookies in Internet Explorer 8.0:
Open the Tools menu and select 'Delete browsing history'.
Select Cookies and click the Delete button.
To clean cookies in Internet Explorer 7.0:
Select Tools and then Internet Options.
Open the General tab.
In the Browsing history area click the Delete button.
In the Delete browsing history window click the Delete cookies button and then click Yes.
Click Close and then click OK.
Every time a web site places a cookie on your PC, Internet Explorer and MSN Explorer insert an entry in the cookies index.dat file that associates a web page with a cookie file. And even if you clean cookies manually, cookies index.dat file stores Internet surfing information - URLs with date/time stamps and pointers to cookie files.
Cookies index.dat file can't be deleted manually as it is used by Windows all the time.
How to clean cookies in FirefoxClean cookies in Firefox 4.0:
Open Firefox and open the Tools menu
Open the History menu and select 'Clear Recent History'
Choose the time range.
Click the 'arrow' button next to 'Details' and select 'Cookies', then click 'Clear Now'
Clean cookies in Firefox 3.0: Select the 'Tools' menu, then select 'Options' and open the 'Privacy' tab.
Under the Private area click 'Clear Now'.
In the 'Clear Private Data' window select 'Cache' and click 'Clear Private Data Now'.
How to clean cookies in Firefox 2.0:
Select 'Tools -> Options'.
In the Private area click "Clear Now".
In the "Clear Private Data" window put the check mark for "Cookies" and click "Clear Private Data Now".
Note: You can configure Firefox to clean cookies when you close it. In this case you should click the 'Settings' button and select 'Cookies' option, click OK and then select 'Always clear my private data when I close Firefox' and click OK.
How to clean cookies in OperaTo erase cookies in Opera 11
Select Delete Private Data from the Tools menu, click Detailed options and select Delete all cookies.
To clean cookies in Opera 9
Open the Tools menu.
Select Delete private data.
Click the "Details" button.
Select Delete cookies.