There are many rumors about what Internet cookies can do, causing
much concern and even frightening many internet users, but, without
them, much of your web browsing and Internet activities would be a
lot more tedious and less pleasant.
For example do your favorite websites keep forgetting your name
Do you constantly have to reset your preferences? Because a website
"remembers" you by the "cookies" it leaves on your hard drive, if
you were to delete all your cookies, websites could no longer
recognize your computer and they would "forget" your preferences,
name and other options.
When you understand a little more about cookies, it'll be a lot
easier to Manage Your Cookies for Smooth, Safe Surfing
Heres how Internet cookies work
Each website you visit deposits a tiny identifying file (a cookie)
onto your hard drive. Some sites give you another cookie every time
you visit them. Websites use these cookies to remember you. (Any
computer, PC and Mac that uses a modern and/or web browser can
No doubt you have seen warnings to delete all cookies regularly.
That isnt necessarily
the best advice, however, because when you remove ALL cookies, you
lose the good cookies with the bad.
Every time you log onto a website, it looks up your cookies, sets up
your preferences, perhaps even logs you in. Your chosen options are
ready to use as soon as you connect and your web page always looks
In addition to the cookie you collect when you enter a site, youll
receive another one when you fill out an online form or register for
something with your email address and name.
A data base at the web server stores your preferences. On your own
computer, you see only a short text file named something like: "firstname.lastname@example.org".
The content of a cookie file resembles a couple of lines of jumbled
numbers and letters. To the web servers data base, this is the link
to their record of your previously submitted information.
How to manage your cookies
One of the less admirable uses of cookies, and one that is causing a
lot of controversy, is their use for tracking the browsing and
buying habits of individual web users. On a single web site or a
group of web sites, cookies can be used to see what web pages you
visit and how often you visit them.
This information is also in the server's log files and so the use of
a cookie here does not increase a server's ability to track you, it
just makes it easier to flood us with individually targeted
advertising and other popups.
Deleting everything in your Cookies deletes the useful cookies, too.
You then lose functionality that you may have come to rely on.
There is a hard way and an easy way to delete unwanted cookies while
keeping the helpful ones.
1. The hard way to manage cookies
Go to your Cookies folder. Look at the name of each file; is it a
website that you use all the time? Then let it be. If the name is
unfamiliar, should you delete it? You can never score 100% on this
test. You will still delete some useful cookies. Even worse, using
this method, you will likely repeat the same mistakes on your next
If you are adept at computers, you can open these files and gain
slightly more information from them, especially one with a
meaningless name like: "email@example.com". Opening this one might
show the word "Google" in the encoded string. Since the text reveals
no more than that, you should assume nothing more. (this one might
set preferences within a personalized Google Homepage). Its not
unusual to have several cookies from the same site, numbered ,
2. The easy way to manage cookies
Use one of the free cookie management programs. WinPatrol is an
excellent choice. Its free version is exceptionally good for
managing cookies, and it is fun to use.
This cookie manager lists your cookies alongside check boxes.
Recognize a cookie as one to keep? Set a check in its box. When you
have gone through all the cookies, you can delete all the unchecked
ones with a single click. There are usually dozens of cookies, so
review a bunch of them, take a break and come back later to remove
Next time, you will have a base on which to build since all the
checked cookies were previously removed. Now you are only making
decisions on the new, unchecked, cookies. Each time you do this you
refine your results.
How to recover from deleting a good cookie
Suppose after cleaning up your Cookie folder, JSKDLF.INFO no longer
logs you in automatically; here is your recovery plan:
At the JSKDLF.INFO website, set up your login again. Then close your
browser. Open your Cookies folder immediately to look for any
cookies bearing the name JSKDLF
(e.g., "firstname.lastname@example.org".) and make a note to keep those. Now
test the site; does it log you in again automatically?
Using a cookie management software program, the procedure is the
same except that
the software opens the Cookie folder for you. Then a simple check
mark saves the cookie.
Among the important
facts about cookies - Your computer collects "good" cookies that
make your internet experience smoother and "bad" cookies that may
spy on you. Now, if cookies are causing problems for you, you know
how to handle your Cookies with a lot more confidence.
... Richard Rossbauer