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Delete cookies

What are the cookies?

The cookies are small pieces of information (text) that are created by Web sites that you are visiting and are sent to your browser (Internet Explorer, Firefox or any other) along with the Web pages that you are viewing. Some of these cookies are saved to your hard disk and when you visit the same Web page again, your browser sends these cookies back to this Web site.

There are few general goals that are accomplished by the usage of cookies:

  • To notify the Web site that you have visited it in the past. This information can be used to block some one-time services (for example Web pools, one-time promotional services, etc.).
  • To remember your user name and password so that you don't need to enter them each time when you visit this Web site.
  • To remember your personal information that is important to the Web site you are visiting. It can be your name, personal preferences, advertising information, etc.
  • To show you a different ad each time when you visit the site or similar ads to ones that you have clicked in the past.

As you can see there are plenty of ways for cookies to threaten your privacy. Even if it seems that the purpose of some cookies is innocent they still reveal the fact that you have visited this specific Web site. Furthermore, the Web site can update the cookie every time you visit its pages, adding new usage information. Cookies remain on your computer as long as their creator decides (from few days to many years). Some cookies are automatically deleted when you close your browser (so called session cookies) but others can stay on your PC virtually forever.

You can use Mil Shield to delete the cookies while keeping some of them (some decent and useful Web sites don't work without cookies). As more and more people are becoming aware of the cookies, many Web sites started to use alternative methods to identify their visitors - Flash cookies (local shared objects), UserData records, DOM storage. Each of these methods is very similar to the ordinary cookies. Mil Shield cleans all these traces (selectively if you wish so) and it also cleans the content of index.dat files, history, temporary Internet files and many other tracks.

Click here to download the free trial version of Mil Shield 8.1
4.20 MB - 25 sec with broadband or 12 minutes with dial-up link

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How to see my Internet Explorer cookies?

The cookies of Internet Explorer are kept in special folder, which contains an index.dat file and one text file for each stored cookie. The location of this folder depends on the version of Windows.

For Windows 7 and Windows Vista:
For Windows XP and Windows 2000:
For Windows Me, 98, 95 or Windows NT:

In these folders you can see all persistent cookies that are saved to your user account. The names of the cookie files are in form username@hostname. For example the cookie name administrator@altavista[2] is showing that this cookie came from www.altavista.com and the current computer user was administrator. You can also open the cookie file to see its content but it most cases it will be encoded and not human readable.

WARNING! Even if you delete all cookie files from this folder most of the information for the cookies will not be deleted because it is saved in so called index.dat file. In some cases you can see the index.dat file in the cookie folder but even if you cannot see it, it is always there. You cannot delete this file because Windows and Internet Explorer keep it open all the time. The only way to get rid of the cookies for good is to shred the content of the index.dat file with a specialized privacy protection program - Mil Shield. It cleans not only cookies but also the content of all other index.dat files (yes, there are many other index.dat files - to learn where are they read the article Where are Index.dat files located?) along with history, temporary Internet files, recently used documents history, Google, Yahoo and Bing toolbars search history and many other tracks.

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How to see my Firefox cookies?

The cookies of Firefox are kept in special file in your Firefox profile. The file name and format are different in the various versions of Firefox but you can see the cookies using the Firefox user interface.

  1. Start Firefox.
  2. Go to the Tools menu in the top part of the Firefox window and select Options... from the drop-down menu.
  3. This will open the Options window, which is shown in the right. In this window, you have to click the Privacy tab.
  4. In the Privacy tab, in the Firefox will: combo box, you have to select Use custom settings for history. This will show the Show Cookies... button. Click the Show Cookies... button.
  5. Now, you will see the Cookies window, which contains a list of all Firefox cookies in your Firefox profile. The cookies are sorted by the websites that have sent them. You can open each site to see the list of cookies from this site.
  6. You can filter the cookies by site if you type part of the site's domain in the Search box at the top of Cookies window. You can use this search feature to quickly find the cookies from certain web site.
  7. When you have done viewing the cookies, click the Close button to close the Folder Options dialog window and then click Cancel button to close the Firefox Options window.

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How to delete the cookies?

You can delete Internet Explorer cookies by deleting all text files in the cookie folders on your computer. The locations of IE cookie folders are given here.

The problem is that even if you delete all cookie files from the cookie folders, most of the information for the cookies will not be deleted because it is saved in the index.dat file. In some cases you can see the index.dat file in the cookie folder but even if you cannot see it is there. You cannot delete this file because Windows and Internet Explorer use it all the time. The only way to get rid of the cookies for good is to shred the content of the index.dat file with a specialized privacy protection program - Mil Shield. It cleans not only cookies but also the content of all other index.dat files (yes, there are many other index.dat files) along with history, temporary Internet files, recently used documents history, Google and Yahoo toolbars search history and many other tracks.

The Firefox cookies can be cleaned by going to the corresponding Cookies window as described here and clicking the Remove All Cookies button. However this will not delete the information from the cookie files as they are not securely deleted and their content can be revealed with raw disk scan tools.

Click here to download the free trial version of Mil Shield 8.1
4.20 MB - 25 sec with broadband or 12 minutes with dial-up link

Note that you can turn off the cookie support from your browser but this is not a good idea because most of the sites today require cookie support in order to work properly. After you delete all cookies you will have to enter your user name, password and other details every time when you visit a web site that needs registration and some sites may not work at all. Another good reason to keep some of the cookies is to avoid being suspicious when others notice that your cookie folders are always empty.

So it comes down to a choice between privacy and convenience of Web browsing. With Mil Shield you don’t have to make this choice. You can turn off the cleaning for the cookies from sites that don’t contain any sensitive information or are not considered forbidden in your environment.

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