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COMPUTER HEALTH & TIPS

 

MANUALLY DELETING  UNNEEDED  UNWANTED COOKIES

Researched and Written by Judith A. Florian

 



 
Cookie Monster C is for Cookie

Short Lesson about Cookies:

Teacher Miss A. gives student, Johnny, one cookie and tells him to give half of the cookie to Sally, and give one-fourth of the cookie to Tommy... How much cookie does Johnny have left?

Ooops!  Wrong kind of cookie!  

 

This page describes Computer Internet Cookies, and HOW to manually manage and delete computer Internet cookies.

If you know the basics about Cookies, skip down and read the nuts and bolts section.

If you need to start with the basics, read these websites.


Peanut Butter Cookie

BASICS

What is a cookie?
 

Cookie Monster holding one cookie

These web sites give detailed information that describes Internet / Web Cookies.

http://surfthenetsafely.com/surfsafely5.htm

http://computer.howstuffworks.com/cookie1.htm

http://computer.howstuffworks.com/cookie2.htm

http://computer.howstuffworks.com/cookie3.htm

Cookie FAQ: http://www.cookiecentral.com/faq/

 

Here is a typical company description of their cookie and why they place a cookie (an example):
http://www.gateway.com/about/legal/cookies.php


It is common to pick up dozens of cookies in one hour of browsing. This is why it's important to manage & delete unneeded/unwanted cookies.


variety of tasty cookies

TYPES OF COOKIES

http://surfthenetsafely.com/cookie_advanced.htm

 

WHAT COOKIES 'DO' and HOW ARE THEY CREATED

http://www.schogini.com/articles/Using-Cookies.html

http://www.quirksmode.org/js/cookies.html

More detailed "How they make cookies'

http://java.sun.com/products/servlet/2.2/javadoc/javax/servlet/http/Cookie.html


THE ART OF COOKIE 'CUTTING' OR... DELETING COOKIES

Variety of cookie cutters

Some programs help with keeping up with cookie removal.  A good spyware/adaware/malware program such as Lavasoft's Spybot Search & Destroy will clean out many of the bad malware, spyware and "tracking" cookies from your PC.  

So run this kind of program FIRST.



ONE-STEP DELETING (from PC button)
Most people know the "one-stop, one step" tool for deleting cookies.
It can be found under Internet TOOLS > Internet OPTIONS > "Delete Cookies" button, right next to "Delete Temporary Internet Files."

PROS:
One click and all the cookies are G-O-N-E.
The deleted ones do NOT go into the Recycle Bin from a PC Delete.  So this means you only had one step to complete.

CONS:
All the cookies are G-O-N-E.
The deleted ones do NOT go into the Recycle Bin from a PC Delete.  You cannot restore them.
You have to know all your log-in info for every site so you can sign-in again (and get a new cookie).
Losing all your site log-ins can be a pain to re-do.

 

Reasons to delete cookies:
http://www.deletemycookies.com/why_delete_cookies.html




There is a better option than using wholesale delete.

 




Cookie Monster in front of PC saying 'Delete Cookies!' STEPS TO SAFELY DELETE COOKIES ON WINDOWS-XP (WinXP).


Cookie Monster

Do you want to do a major deleting job from the cookies folder?

 

MANUALLY DELETING COOKIES

WHERE ARE MY COOKIES!

Before you can delete cookies, you must know where they are stored on your computer.

Windows allows persons to create a PC  (PC=personal computer) UserName. This is the name that appears when you start your computer and Windows loads.

If you do not "name" yourself, it automatically sets to "Administrator" or "Owner".  You might have several UserNames.

Windows saves cookies in one folder.  The folder name/location may vary.  These steps are for WindowsXP.

There are TWO STEPS to this.  Step 2 is done after you begin Step 1 (then you keep going with step 1).

To access the Cookie folder....

1). CLICK START.

2). Click on MY COMPUTER.

3). Click on the C drive. ***CAUTION--DO NOT DELETE ANY FOLDERS IN THIS WINDOW.

4). Click on Documents and Settings folder.

You will see folders for "Administrator" (and any other WINDOWS-User-Name you created to access Windows).

If you NEVER made a WINDOWS-User-Name for your computer, ALL of your cookies should be under Documents and Settings>Administrator.

HERE IS WHERE YOU DO STEP 2---->  On the top menu, Click Tools>Folder Options>View Tab (at top)>Look in the Window labeled Advanced Settings>Hidden Files and Folders>CLICK the Radio Button next to "Show hidden files and folders."  NOTE:  You will re-do these steps to turn re-hide the "hidden" files and folders.

(5). Click the Administrator folder.

(6). Look for the Cookies folder (it should be the first folder in an alphabetical listing).

(7). Click on the Cookies folder.

You may see a moving "searching" eyeglass over a folder icon as Windows searches for and displays ALL the cookies. This is especially true if you have many cookies on your system.
Allow Windows to 'populate' (i.e. collect and create) the list of cookies.



 

LOOK FIRST!

Cookie Monster's big eyes

When the Cookies folder opens, move your cursor OFF the middle area of the screen.  

You are first going to LOOK, not touch!  

 

TABS INSIDE THE COOKIE FOLDER CAN HELP YOU AS YOU LOOK AROUND

Notice the tabs at the top of the Windows-window. Just like in "My Documents", these tabs say "Name, Size, Type, Date Modified".  Default viewing shows files and/or cookies by NAME and in an alphabetical order.  Note: You will likely see some cookies shown with only an IP address--ignore those for now.

Cookies (or any files) can be arranged/rearranged by clicking any of those tabs.

Date Modified is useful if you know the exact date you accessed some website and wish to only delete that one. It will also tell you the TIME-- this is NOT the time you entered the website, but when you closed the website and so, when the cookie was automatically saved to your PC.  Let's say you visited "tech-dunkie" website on Sept. 1, 2008 at 11:07 am and CLOSED the browser for that site at 11:24am. The cookie will read 9/1/2008 11:24am

You will likely need to SCROLL downward to look at all your cookies, especially if you surf the web a lot.

 


Cookie Monster

LET'S LOOK AT COOKIE NAMES.

Stack of tasty cookies


Cookies names have 4 parts:
WINDOWS-UserID (default is Administrator)
@ = the @ symbol
web name = the name of the website you visited (example: yahoo.com)
So for example: "administrator AT  bbbbc-tracking.net"

The 4th part is a bracket with a number inside, such as [1] or [2] (or a higher number).

The number represents how many times you accessed (visited) that web site or web item, plus 1 -- meaning, the first time you visit there is no number, the second time is number [1], the third time is number [2], and so on. 

"Access" does not mean that you voluntarily accessed the site.  Many ad-pop ups create a cookie but you didn't voluntarily "visit" the ad page.

Ignore the "Administrator" part.
Look instead for the words after the @ symbol.



 

WHAT'S THE WORST THAT CAN HAPPEN?

cat drenched from water--what else can go wrong?

What's the worst that can happen if I delete cookies -- or if I delete the wrong cookie?

I'll use an example of one of the cookies I had in my folder, which was the cookie

administrator@www.myfoxgulfcoast[1].txt
Fox Gulf Coast is a Fox news station covering the Gulf of Mexico.  I visited the web site to read news about Hurricane Ike.  The [1] shows how many times I have accessed that site on that date--once.
I know I probably won't visit again.  So, delete!

Variety of cookies, close-up What if I ever "need" THAT cookie in the future?

The beauty (and plague) of cookies is that the next time I visit the site, the site re-creates its cookie (again!).

So, if you want back the cookie of an non-secured non-login website, just put the address in your Browser and click 'go'.  You'll go to the web site -- and get a new cookie.

If you delete a cookie for a log-in protected web site you like, you will have to manually log in the next time you visit.  This means, you must know your userID and password for that site.

If you forget userID and password (one or both), most websites offer a retrieval system "Forget your password?" "Forget your user name?"  The site will email the information to the email address you had when you signed up on that site.  If you have changed your email address since then, you may have trouble retrieving your password, so be cautious about what cookies you delete!

 

If in doubt about a cookie's identity
  or if about your log-in information, 
do NOT delete the cookie!



Manually deleting the "wrong" cookie (deleting one you wanted) is no different than wholesale deleting cookies by pressing that button, "Delete Cookies," and letting your PC get rid of everything.  Either way, you'll need to know your UserName and Password for that web site.




cookie monster showing see-through jar of cookies

 WHERE DO MANUALLY DELETED COOKIES GO?

Manually deleting a cookie means it gets sent to your Recycle Bin. So, you have a second chance to review your decision. Change your mind? Restore it from the Recycle Bin. *This assumes you don't wholesale delete the contents of your Recycle bin, though.

However, when you click "Delete Cookies" through the Browser tab "Tools>Internet Options," none of the deleted cookies goes to your Recycle Bin.  Cookies deleted by this process just go to "cookie heaven" where you can't see them anymore (unless you get a new cookie ;-)




Cookie Monster with PC, saying 'Delete Cookies!' LET'S START MANUALLY DELETING COOKIES.

FIRST LOOK for specific companies, examples:

a.directv.com
circuitcity
A forum you like and subscribe to
Any websites you subscribe to...
Any paid websites you subscribe to...
Any game websites you visit...

Decide which sites you WANT TO KEEP and DO NOT DELETE THESE.

SECOND, decide which companies, websites, forums, or game sites you do NOT want anymore. LOOK for the names (or partial names) in the cookie title.  

If you don't recognize the cookie name, you have two ways to check its identity.

Open the cookie by clicking on it (opens into Notepad by default); 
Look at the name portion and Google it; just look at the results.  There's no need to click to visit the websites.

THIRD, try to identify any remaining Ad (advertising or tracking) cookies. This list shows only some common advertising cookies, tracking cookies, and malware, but it's a start.

Note: Most company tracking or advertising cookies start with a capital letter, but I'm showing almost all the names in all lowercase, just as they look in cookie file names.

Examples of Advertising or Tracking Cookie Company Names

ad.*** (whatever name replaces the ***)
ad.associatedcontent
ad.outerinfoads (malware)
ad.yieldmanager.com

adbrite
adbureau.net
adsnew.medindia
adsmarket
adsfac
adInterax --"is a tool for creating and managing rich media online advertisements"
adopt.specificclick
adpartners.lsfnetwork
AdRevolver: Tracking cookie (Cookie, fixed)
advertising
Advertising.com: Tracking cookie (Cookie, fixed)
adserver01
adserver.adtechus
adtraff (adtraff.com)

adecn
adlegend
admeld.com
adtraff
ads.*** (whatever name replaces the ***)
ads.bridgetrack
ads.cnn
ads.emedtv
ads.mediamayhemcorp
ads.revsci
adshuffle and by.adshuffle
ads.techguy
ads.uncoverthenet
atdmt.com
Avenue A, Inc.: Tracking cookie (Cookie, fixed)
azads.com

ads.telegraph.co

bannerads.***
banners.broadwayworld
banners.blogads
bridgetrack.com
bs.serving-sys.com
by.adshuffle

capcomarketing (www.capcomarketing)
casalemedia.com (CasaleMedia)
clickaider
clickpass
clicksense
clearspring
Collective Media = is one of the fastest growing advertising networks in the United States
CoreMetrics: Tracking cookie (Cookie, fixed)
coremetrics.com

da-tracking
dmtracker.com
dynamic.media
degrees*****
doubleclick.net (aggressive marketing)
DoubleClick: Tracking cookie (Cookie, fixed)

EuroClick (is now Adconion Media Group)
eb.adbureau.net
ehg-aha.hitbox
emarketer.com
euroclick.com

fastClick ( FastClick: Tracking cookie; Cookie, fixed)
fastclick.net

HitBox: Tracking cookie (Cookie, fixed)

iacas.adbureau.net
insightexpressai.com
interCLICK - Transparent Ad Network 

LinkSynergy.com

media6degrees
mediaplex (MediaPlex: Tracking cookie, Cookie, fixed)

overture.com

playphone.advertserve
ppctracking (ppctracking.net )
precisionclick.com (PrecisionClick Online Advertising Network )

realmedia.com
realtracker.com


specificclick.net
refreshmarketing
reunion.adbureau.net
specificclick
statcounter ( Statcounter: Tracking cookie, Cookie, fixed)

tradedoubler
trafficmp (trafficmarketplace.com)
track.cbs
tracking.fathomseo
Tradedoubler: Tracking cookie (Cookie, fixed)
trafficmp
tribalfusion [Tribal Fusion (Ad Network) ]
www.ez-tracks
www.ez-tracks (music)
www.mvrg
web-stat.com
WebTrends live: Tracking cookie 

yieldmanager (described as spyware)
(yieldmanager
yieldmanager.txt
yieldmanager.com)

zedo (malware, can be a virus)

travelzoo

These were collected by Googling Web Media, Web Marketing, tracking cookies, advertising cookies... as well as researching the cookie names I saw in my own cookie folder.  If you have other company names, I can add them to the list. 


Cookie Monster madly stuffing face with cookies

FOURTH, okay, go ahead, you know you want to do it!  

Look, identify, verify... decide, choose... take a deep breath...

HIGHLIGHT the cookie name, and hit DELETE!

Watch each one DISAPPEAR! 

Don't forget before you close the Cookies or Administrator Folder to re-do the steps to again (re-)HIDE the "Hidden Files and Folders."  By the way, that Radio Button can be accessed from any Windows window, such as My Documents etc.

 

Animated bear hug

You did it!

 

Whoops!  I lied.  If you manually delete cookies, you still have one LAST step.  Highlight your Recycle Bin Icon.  Right Click and select "Explore".  Allow the PC to gather and "populate" the list.  

When it finishes, you will see any of the cookies you deleted will now be in this list.  You can take the time to review them and make sure (one last time) of what you deleted.  Then, highlight 5-10 at a time, and hit Delete (under File or Edit).  Or, you can choose to empty the entire Bin with one click...close the bin...Right Click and select "Empty."  DONE!

 



ONE MORE THING.... TO BLOCK CERTAIN COOKIES

To block certain cookies, read this first: http://surfthenetsafely.com/slides/ieconfigureslide7.htm

Then, go to Internet Explorer.  Open "Internet Options..." from the "Tools" menu. Choose the "Privacy" tab, and raise the Settings to at least Medium; or use the "Advanced..." button to enabled "Override automatic cookie handling" and set "Third-party Cookies" to "Block". 

 


FYI:  Google may use the following cookies if you use gmail accounts, Google blog (blogspot), or other Google features:

GOOGLE
@accounts
@gmodules
@ig

There may be other cookie names associated with Google that I have not run across yet.




Additional reading:

(1). http://www.emarketer.com/SiteSearch.aspx?pathID=897

(2). http://www.ciac.org/ciac/bulletins/i-034.shtml

(3). http://www.comscore.com/press/release.asp?press=1389

(4). http://www.refreshmarketing.com/marketing/cookies_and_scripts.asp

(5). Yahoo: http://www.yahoo.com search for "cookie".

(6). Netscape's cookie specification: 
http://www.netscape.com/newsref/std/cookie_spec.html

(7). Netscape's cookie security FAQ
http://search.netscape.com/assist/security/faqs/cookies.html

(8) Cookie Central: http://www.cookiecentral.com

(9). Junkbusters: http://www.junkbusters.com


Survey about cookies:

http://www.burstmedia.com/pdf/2005_06_01.pdf">  
(From their archives at http://www.burstmedia.com/research/archive.asp)

Privacy, Information, and Technology By Daniel J. Solove, Marc Rotenberg, Paul M. Schwartz, pp. 186+

 

A great website with help articles:   http://www.spywaredata.com/spyware/spyware-adware-infections.php

 

 

 

Return to Computer Help Index

 

 

Added Sept 22, 2008

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