A cookie is a small string of text that a Web server gives to your browser when you visit a Web site. Your browser stores the cookie on your PCs hard disk in a text file called cookie.txt. Next time you visit that site, your browser sends the cookie back to the Web server, which uses it for a variety of purposes.
Although some people see them as an invasion of privacy, cookies are relatively harmless. The only personal information available to a Web server is the information that you give it through registration forms or surveys. Cookies can't retrieve data or files from your computer's hard disk, they can't contain a virus, and they can't be used to steal private information about you such as your address or income.
Most cookies are actually beneficial - they generally make Web browsing more interactive and efficient by remembering who you are, what interests you, and where you went on your last visit. Disabling cookies may limit the features of a Web site, but if you are concerned about cookies gathering details about you, you can tell your browser to reject all cookies that are sent to your PC.
Here's how to do it:
If you use Navigator 4.x, select Edit-Preferences, and click on Advanced in the Category box. Select the Disable cookies option, and click the OK button.
In Internet Explorer 4.x, select View-Internet Options, and click on the Advanced tab. Scroll down to the Cookies section and select Disable All Cookie Use.
Internet Explorer 5 incorporates cookie options into its Security settings. Choose Tools-Internet Options, and click on the Security tab. Select the Internet content zone, and click on the Custom Level button. Scroll down to the cookie settings, and select Disable under both the Allow cookies that are stored on your computer and Allow per session cookies (not stored) sections. Click OK to save your changes.
You can also control cookies using the cookie.txt file. In Windows 95/98/NT, select Start-Find Files or Folders. In the Named box, type cookies.txt, click the Find Now button, and then double-click on the cookies.txt file to open it. Each line in the file contains a cookie from a different Web site, and will usually list the name of the Web site that sent the cookie, some true or false options, and some unintelligible characters. To delete a cookie, select the entire line and press
Another method of blocking cookies is to make cookies.txt a read-only file, which prevents any changes being made to it. Use Windows Explorer to locate the cookies.txt file, right click on it, and select Properties. In the Attributes section, click the Read Only box, and click the OK button to finish.