A "cookie" is a short text message sent to your Web browser by the Web server of the site you are on. The browser stores the cookie (the message) as a text file. The message is then sent back to the server each time the browser requests a page from the server. The only Web server that has the right to read a given cookie is the Web server that originally set the cookie !!

With Windows XP, your cookies are located at:

C:\documents and settings\your_ID\cookies

The main purpose of cookies is to identify users and possibly prepare customized Web pages for them. For example, you may be asked to enter a user ID and password the first time you visit a site - and then after that you aee not asked because the info is stored on your hard drive in a cookie for that site.  Other sites ask you to fill out a form providing detailed information about yourself, which is stored on your drive as a cookie (the server does not store cookies !!! ).  The next time you go to the same Web site, your browser will send the cookie to the Web server.

The server can also use cookies to display a custom Web page for each user, depending on the settings they selected previously So, for example, instead of seeing just a generic welcome page you might see a welcome page with your name on it.

Origin of Cookies

The name "cookie" derives from UNIX objects called magic cookies. These are tokens that are attached to a user or program and change depending on the areas entered by the user or program. A Magic Cookie, in UNIX terms, is a way of exchanging small tokens of information to help two programs (usually on separate computers) interact. The modern Browser cookie is a direct descendant of the UNIX Magic Cookie - and on Macs, the cookies are still called Magic Cookies !! 

Can I delete Cookies?

In general – No.  They store your login ID’s and special settings for your favorite pages.  Also, even the cookies from vendors do not hurt you – and they are very small files so they will not fill up your drive.

However, if you want to do a clean sweep of your system, go ahead and delete them.  All it means is that you will need to re-register at the sites that have stored your ID and Password.  If you know all your ID’s and passwords then all you have to do is to login once to restore the cookie.

If you have forgotten your password for a site – many sites have a button to click that says “Forgot Password” – they then ask for your email address and then email the password to you.

Should I block Cookies?

NO - again, they store your password and customized site settings.  Always enable cookies !!

How to make sure your system Allows Cookies

Your system is probably already set to allow cookies.  But you can check it as and if needed adjust the settings.  Here we show you how to do this with various browsers:


Internet Explorer 6:


click Tools/Internet Options  .  .  . "Privacy" tab

Make a mental note what setting the slider is currently set to.

Read the details to the right of the slider - it will tell you how IE will handle cookies using that setting

Adjust the slider to a different setting if need be, and read the details


NOTE:  "Medium" is usually the best setting – it will allow all cookies, except for those that store personal information without your consent (and it will block those).


Mozilla 1.x


click "Edit",  select "Preferences...", "Privacy & Security",and "Cookies"

push "Cookie Manager", click

"Cookie Sites" tab, type in the field, push "Allow", push

"Close", and "OK".If you have Mozilla Firebird 0.x or Mozilla Firefox 0.x, click

"Tools", select "Options...", click "Privacy", select "Cookies", push

"Exceptions" type in the field, push "Allow", "OK", and



Netscape 4.x


click "Edit", select "Preferences...",

select "Advanced". Select "Accept all cookies" or "Accept only

cookies that get sent back to the originating server". You might

also want to check "Warn me before accepting a cookie". Push "OK".If you have Netscape 7, click "Edit", select "Preferences...", select

"Privacy & Security", select "Cookies", and see what setting you have

for cookies. If the setting for cookies is "Disable cookies", you

can't allow cookies for Google or any other website. If you are

willing to receive cookies, change to some other setting, for example

"Enable cookies for the originating web site only", and click "OK".

If that doesn't help, then you might have accidently blocked cookies

for To see if that has happened, click "Edit", select

"Preferences...", select "Privacy & Security", select "Cookies", push

"Manage Stored Cookies", click "Cookie Sites" tab, click, and push "Remove Site".If you have Opera 7, you might have to first empty the cache: click

"File", select "Preferences...", select "History and cache", push

"Empty Now", and "OK" (you might have to do this a few times). Then

you might have to enable cookies: click "File", select

"Preferences...", select "Privacy", and check "Enable cookies", and

select next to "Normal cookies" the option "Display in dialog box

with multiple choice".