Deleting Cookies on Your Computer

210451dbe6m35y3 PileOfChocolateChipCookies Deleting Cookies on Your Computer

If you’re like me, you don’t turn down a cookie when it is offered to you. Not only are they tasty, but there are days when eating a couple of oatmeal raisin cookies for breakfast is a whole lot easier than cooking a bowl of oatmeal.

What is a Cookie?

In the computer world there are three types of cookies, little plain text files that allow server programmers to store data on your computer for later access. A persistent or permanent cookie stores data that will not disappear on the next request. Among data that will be held can be login in information, preferences, tracking marketing data, and provide secure authentication systems (although these are not 100% secure).

Dependent upon your computer settings you may see a pop-up asking if you allow these cookies, but by default most browsers accept them. The browser then puts the information into a text file. Every time a given domain is accessed the cookies automatically fill its request for the information. Web sites use cookies because they can save time and make the browsing experience more efficient while allowing the web site (and the search engines) to monitor the web surfer’s habits. Their influence can be noted when comparing the web sites that come up for one person alongside the web sites that come up for someone else, say your mother.

Are Cookies bad for your computer?

Most cookies are not bad, but there are times when they can be an issue. Cookies can be blocked, and some may argue that they should be. When your computer is in a public setting accessible to others, cookies on some sites will allow others to log into some of the sites you visit at the touch of a button. The same is true if more than one person uses your computer. Emptying the cookies the cookies on those will impact your browsing experience, but they will keep you safer in the long run.

Even if you are someone who lets your cookies pile up there are times when you need to get rid of them. Pay attention to your computer speed. Some cookies may contain malware, viruses, or other corrupt files. If you suspect harmful cookies in your system remove them quickly.

To Delete Cookies

Google Chrome

  1. Click on “Tools”
  2. Click “Options”
  3. Click “Under the Hood”
  4. Click “Clear Browsing Data”
  5. The Dropdown will allow you to “Obliterate the following items” from a variety of time frames – the past hour, the past day, the past week, the past 4 weeks, or from the beginning of time
  6. Select “Delete cookies and other site and plug-in data”
  7. Select “Clear browsing history”
  8. Select “Clear download history”
  9. Select “Empty the cache”
  10. You can also select the “Clear saved passwords” and “Clear saved Autofill form data” (again this would be recommended if you share a computer or work in a public environment)
  11. Click on the “Clear browsing data” button
  12. Click on the Close button when done


Internet Explorer 9        

  1. Open the Internet Explorer window
  2. Click on the “Tools” button
  3. Under the ”General” tab click “Delete Cookies”
  4. Click “OK”


Mozilla Firefox

  1. Click on “Tools”
  2. Click on “Options”
  3. Click “Privacy”
  4. Under “Tracking” make sure “Tell web sites I do not want to be tracked” is checked
  5. Under “History” select “Never remember history” on the dropdown
  6. Under “Location Bar” select either “Bookmarks” or “Nothing”
  7. Click “OK”

So that’s how to take care of deleting cookies currently from the big three browsers. If you have questions about cleaning out from other browsers, please ask.

In the meantime, I think I need to find one of those chocolate chip cookies to go with my coffee.

Mary Ellen


Photo credit: Cookie Pile from Free Digital

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