Computer Support:
How To Clear Your Browser Cookies

How To Clear Your
Browser Cookies

by Tim Fortune
Fortune Technologies
November 22nd, 2004 2:15 am

What are cookies?

Cookies per se are not bad things as many computer users may think. Cookies actualy provide a valuable service to web surfers. For instance, one thing they do is provide a site you visit with information that identifies you as a previous visitor. This is a good thing because often times this information will prevent pop-ups from reappearing on subsequent visits. After all why would you want to keep seeing the same information over and over each time you visit a site.

Cookies are small text files that are created by some Websites and stored on your hard drive.

Another service they provide is one everyone is familiar with... "Personalize this Site". That's right. Web Sites that allow you to change their color or appearance use cookies. Cookies are used so that a Website can "remember" you the next time you visit and present you with a customized page, such as one containing your name, specific color schemes or particular information that you want to see each time you visit.

This is what a basic cookie looks like as it is stored on your computer:

This is whatr you would see: administrator@weather[2].txt

As you can see by the file extension - the .txt - part, this is only a basic text file. Harmless enough. This particular cookie I picked up at http://weather.com. they have a cool tool that will place a little icon in your system tray that shows the outdoor temperature.

Now inside the txt file is the information that weather.com will use next time I visit. Here is what this particular cookie says:

RMID 4590e9db41a176f0 weather.com/ 1536 3567004032 30124358 500667808 29675602 * TData weather.com/ 1024 227494016 29675804 554247808 29675602 * UserPreferences 3| |1006582464|real|fast|-1|-1|-1|-1|-1|+| |Tim| | |-1| Undeclared| | |i8f1vGElXlMWqof6Vnxoh7RPQ| | weather.com/ 1536 1977309824 29749031 986995920 29675605 * LocID 59102 weather.com/ 1536 2787309824 29749031 1797355920 29675605 *

But on the other hand they can be bad when used by unscruptulous programmers. Advertisers can use cookies to identify your surfing habits such as where you go, what you buy and how they can design advertising campaigns to spark your interest in their products.

 

 

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