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Cookies - No Fuss, No Muss

Cookies are great and cookies are bad.

Cookies are beneficial to sites that use them for shopping carts or other friendly purposes. Cookies are used to save you the effort of logging into a site you want to be at and trust.

The down side of cookies is that advertisers use cookies to track your movements on the internet. They can learn your habits and what you like to view. Those cookies set on one site can be used to display a targeted advertisment at another site. This surreptitious use of cookies invades your privacy.

There are several cookie managment tools available (CookieCop, JunkBuster). Even browsers let you approve cookies on a case by case basis.

If you change your browser settings to approve each cookie and then visit abcnews.com, then you will quickly find that there are a large number of cookies set by some sites and it is a pain to monitor them.

There is way way to keep cookies under control with minimal effort. I have not seen this explained on any web site, so I am showing you how to uncomplicate your life and keep your privacy.

Firstly, some cookies are beneficial and some cookies invade your privacy.

Secondly, cookie management should be as hands-off as possible.

Here is how to set up cookie management ONE TIME and thwart the ad tracker cookies.

No matter what browser you use, enable cookies. Disable the third party cookies.

Close your browser (all instances).

Netscape:

  • Edit the cookies.txt file to be just a space as the entire file. This file is under
    C:\Program Files\Netscape\Users\your_user_name
  • Save and close the cookies.txt file
  • Change the properties of cookies.txt to Read-Only

Internet Explorer:

  • Navigate in Windows Explorer to the C:\windows\cookies directory.
  • Delete all files in that directory.
  • Use notepad to create a file called index.dat with a space as the entire file. Save it to the C:\windows\cookies directory.
  • Make the C:\windows\cookies directory read only.
  • Make the index.dat file in the C:\windows\cookies directory read only.
  • Navigate in Windows Explorer to the C:\windows\profiles\profileName\cookies directory.
  • Delete all files in that directory.
  • Use notepad to create a file called index.dat with a space as the entire file. Save it to the C:\windows\profiles\profileName\cookies directory.
  • Make the C:\windows\profiles\profileName\cookies directory read only.
  • Make the index.dat file in the C:\windows\profiles\profileName\cookies directory read only

To make a file or directory read only:

  1. Open windows Explorer
  2. Navigate to the file and select it.
  3. Select File - Properties from the menu.
  4. Check the Read Only box
  5. Click Ok

Benefits

After you have done all of this, privacy invasion via cookies is reduced. Only cookies set during a browser sessian are available. There is no long term tracking. Web sites that have friendly cookies, for shopping carts and the like, will work as expected. There is no maintenance about what domain you want to accept cookies from.

Drawbacks

There may be sites that automatically log you in because of cookies. You can visit these sites to have them set cookies in your empty, but readable cookies file. There may be other cookies that also get set, so be careful about that. Then you can make the files and directories read only.



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The Elements of Graphic Design
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Basics of Design
by Lisa Graham
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Designing Web Usability
by Jakob Nielsen

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P. O. Box 2581
Hemet, CA USA 92546
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