So why are cookies on a computer? It’s hard to imagine the function of cookies when you hear the name. Computer cookies go by several different names: http cookies, browser cookies, web cookies, web site cookies, and so on. Http cookies are harmless. Computer cookies aren’t spyware, malware, viruses or computer programs. They are small text files (4 kilobytes on average) that are sent from a website to your browser.
Its easier to picture a computer cookie more as a small text note left on your web browser for a website to read when you return. For example I might be registered at a dozen different web sites using a different username and password at each web site. I would never remember what username and password went to what web site. If I wrote that information down on a small note I wouldn’t have to remember. Computer cookies work in a similar fashion.
There are varying opinions as to whether or not computer cookies slow down internet. It really depends on what type of computer cookies you’re talking about. Http cookies can store your personal settings about a favorite website or homepage. Many online shops require that you have cookies enabled on your browser before you can make purchases. In instances like this you can make the argument that cookies actually speed up internet by automatically sending your personal preferences to a website you’re revisiting that you’d otherwise have to put in manually.
Tracking cookies however record your browsing habits and report your browsing habits to online marketers and advertisers. You maybe sent ads based on tracking cookie records. This is why I don’t care for tracking cookies. Anyone can get a good idea of your Internet browsing habits if they can see the advertisements being sent to you. Something to think about next time someone is standing over your shoulder watching you surf.
Personally I can see advantages to having http cookies. I can also see disadvantages to having tracking cookies. I don’t have the will or the time to manually sift through hundreds of cookies trying to figure out which are bad and which are good. Thats why periodically all computer cookies should be cleared. When I revisit my favorite websites I’ll get back any cookies from them I deleted.
Over time as you surf your browser will collect hundreds of cookies. You may not notice a slow down in speed if you have a fast Internet connection like broadband or cable, but you’ll notice a difference in surfing speed if you have to use dial up. The first time I removed the computer cookies from my browser I had over 700 of them. In my opinion clearing them did speed up dial up.
All major browsers are capable of removing cookies and its very easy to do. This should be done on a regular basis. The following examples shows how to clear computer cookies in Firefox 12.0
1. Left click “Tools” from the menu bar located at the top of the browser. Scroll down and click “Clear Recent History”. The clear all history sub menu will appear. Pressing Control – Shift – Delete buttons simultaneously will also bring up the Clear All History sub menu.
2. Place a check next to the cookies option in the menu if there isnt one there already.
3. Click the clear now button. how to clear computer cookies browserYou’ll notice there are several items you can erase from your browser from this menu. Remember not to clear the cache if you don’t have to. It will slow down dial up web browsing speed noticeably until the cache is built back up.