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Cookies and Computer Performance

By: Olivia Slade-Silovic | April 6th, 2010

When you visit a website, they store a small file – a cookie – on your drive.  These files improve your browsing experience by saving the information you provide for your return visit.

This is how credit card and address information auto-populate in the shopping carts of sites you visit regularly.

Websites often customize what you view on their pages by recalling your preference history contained in cookie files.

Cookies serve for authentication and session tracking.

While there are benefits to cookies, privacy issues have been raised.  Some folks are uncomfortable having their web movements tracked and choose to disable the cookie option.

Just remember, doing so limits the websites you can access.

If you wish to restrict cookie tracking while retaining browsing ease, find the sites best suited to your needs and be selective about signing in.

Over time a lengthening cookie list can impact your computer’s performance.  If your computer is running slow try deleting cookies as a first step in the diagnostic process.

The best way to delete cookies on your PC is to go to your Start Menu > Control Panel > Internet Options.

In the second row under Browsing History, you will see a Delete option. Click on it then on the next window delete Temporary Internet Files and Cookies.

Here are the steps to delete cookies in four of the most popular browsers:

Mozilla FireFox:
Open FireFox > Tools > Options > Show Cookies > Remove All Cookies

Internet Explorer:
Open IE > Tools > Delete Browsing History

Safari:
Open Safari > Edit > Preferences > Security > Show Cookies > Remove All > Yes > Done

Google Chrome:
Open Google Chrome > Tools > Options > Under the Hood > Delete Browsing Data