Managing Cookies

A cookie is a very small text file placed on your hard disk by a Web server. It is essentially your identification card and cannot be run as code or deliver viruses. It is uniquely yours and can be read only by the server that gave it to you.

Cookies are used to maintain state information as you navigate different pages on a Web site or return to the Web site at a later time.

One of the primary purposes of cookies is to provide a convenience feature that you can use to save time. The purpose of a cookie is to tell the Web server that you have returned to a specific Web page. For example, if you personalize Web pages, or register for products or services, a cookie helps the Web page server to recall your specific information. This may be useful to simplify the process of recording your personal information, such as billing addresses, shipping addresses, and so on. When you visit the same Web site, the information you previously provided can be retrieved, so you can easily use the Web site features that you previously chose. For example:
  • If you previously entered billing or shipping information for a purchase from a Web site, you may be able to use a password to automatically enter your information on an order form instead of having to enter this information again.
  • A cookie can indicate that you previously selected one or more areas of interest you want to see each time you visit a Web site. For example, if you want to view only some types of news, you might select some types of news topics to view on a news-related Web site.
You have the ability to enable or disable cookies, or to have Internet Explorer prompt you before accepting cookies in Internet Explorer 4, 5.x, 6.0, and 7. Note that disabling cookies may prevent some Web services from working correctly, and disabling cookies does not make you anonymous or prevent Web sites from tracking your browsing habits. HTTP requests still include information about where you came from (HTTP Referrer), your IP address, browser version, operating system, and other information.

The steps below explain how to manage cookies for different browsers.

If you are using Internet Explorer 7:
  1. On the Tools menu, select Internet Options.
  2. Click the Privacy tab.
  3. Click the Advanced button.
  4. You can accept the default cookie management based upon your Privacy slider. Click to select the “Override automatic cookie handling” check box to control how cookies are handled. Select Accept, Block, or Prompt, based on cookie type.
If you are using Internet Explorer 6.0:
  1. On the Tools menu, select Internet Options.
  2. Click the Privacy tab.
  3. Use the Privacy settings slider to Block All Cookies or Accept All Cookies.
Note Internet Explorer 6.0 handles cookies differently than past versions. For information about how to manage cookies in Internet Explorer 6.0, see the following Knowledge Base article:

      283185 - How to Manage Cookies in Internet Explorer 6.

If you are using Internet Explorer 5.x:
  1. On the Tools menu, click Internet Options.
  2. Click the Security tab.
  3. Click Internet, and then click Custom Level.
  4. Scroll down to Cookies and choose one of the two options.
If you are using Netscape Communicator 4.0:
  1. On your taskbar, click Edit, and then click Preferences.
  2. Click Advanced.
  3. Set your options in the box labeled Cookies.

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Last Review : July 30, 2009