I received a question about deleting website cookies recently, and thought for sure we MUST have an article about it. But in searching, I did not find any recently written articles about deleting cookies from any of the browsers, so here goes!

First, let’s start with what cookies are. Cookies are simple text files that are created when you open a website. They help user navigate websites and perform certain functions. Cookies are used when you tell a website to “remember me”, log onto a message board, play online games, and a bunch of other things. A cookie allows you to log onto a website without having to enter your email and password every time, and can only be read by the site that creates it.

However, cookies can also be used by advertising sites to track your web surfing habits. That’s how if you search for headphones on a few websites, later you may see ads pop up for the same headphones you were looking for but on a different site. It’s only tracking your computer, not you personally, so it’s not gathering any personal data about you. It’s not something to be extremely concerned about but you can delete cookies from your browser if you’d like.

We’ll start with instructions for Internet Explorer.

If you don’t have a menu at the top of the screen, tap the ALT key to bring it down. Then click on Tools, and click on Delete Browsing History.

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A menu will pop up with these options. If you ONLY want to delete cookies, uncheck all the boxes except Cookies and Website data. When you delete all cookies, you may find you’ll have to log in to websites that you were automatically logged into before, and may have to reenter passwords as well. Also, it’s not a bad idea to also delete your history and Temporary Internet files while you are at it but keep in mind, it may take longer for your websites that you visit to load the next time you go to them.

iebrowsehistorymenu

Once you’ve chosen what you want to delete, click on Delete at the bottom. Once it’s complete, you’ll see a notice at the bottom of the browser window.

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~Audra