- Internet & the Web
How to delete a Browser Cookie
Ah, remember the good old days when cookies where just a treat that you got after school with a cold glass of milk? Those of us that use computers on a regular basis haven't thought about cookies in just that way in a long time. But all that most of us really know about computer cookies is that they're there. Many people don't know what they are or how to get ride of them. Here are the browser cookie basics that you've been looking for.
First, you might want to know what a browser cookie is and why you would want to delete it. The fact is that the cookie probably isn't bad or good but that it could potentially pose a risk to you in some circumstances. Basically, a browser cookie is just a chunk of text that is sent between your browser and a server every time that the browser and server connect. What it does is keep track of who you are. So let's say that you input information into an account at a popular website like Amazon. A cookie will track your information (such as your name) via this cookie and send the cookie to the server each time that you access it. That's why you can sign into a site like that and see it personalized to your name, ("Hi, so-and-so"). The cookie itself is harmless to your computer but the fact that it stores your private information makes you more susceptible to computer hacking and potential identity theft.
That would be the reason that you want to delete your cookies. But what's the process for doing it? Luckily, deleting browser cookies is easy. Just follow these simple steps and you're all set:
- Open your Internet connection.
- Go to "Tools".
- Select "Internet Options".
- Under the "general" tab, you should see "delete cookies". This may be combined with other functions. For example, you may see "browsing history" and an option to delete cookies along with temporary files and other aggregated browsing history. There are minor variations, but the point is the same - choose to delete. You may delete all of these things or just delete the cookies. Many people opt to delete the cookies and temporary files but not delete their passwords. This may or may not be an option depending on the operating system that you are running.
- Restart your computer. This isn't a requirement; your cookies are already deleted. But many people restart the computer after taking steps like this.
Note that you also have the option of deleting only certain cookies instead of all of your cookies. If you want to go through them manually and delete only certain ones, you will follow the same first three steps above. However, instead of "delete cookies", you will choose "Settings". This will bring up a new window in which you will choose the "View files" option. You'll select "View Details" and get your list of cookies. Highlight and delete any cookies that you want to delete.
Once you've deleted the cookies that are on your computer, you might want to change the settings on your computer to make it more difficult for cookies to get stores in the future. To do this, go to Tools again and select Internet Options again. This time, go to the Privacy tab. You'll be given options for selecting a range of different security levels for cookies. You might not want the highest option because this will block a lot of websites and can be annoying on a daily basis. But a medium-high level of security will block most cookies and keep your computer activity efficient.