Cookies are small pieces of information, created by web sites, that are sent over to browsers like Internet Explorer, Firefox, etc. These cookies get saved on the computer's hard disk. When the user visits the page again, the web browser sends these cookies back to the website. This helps the website understand that you are a repeat visitor. It also helps certain websites block someone attempting to visit the page again.
These cookies also help one remember the user names and passwords for sites. In some cases, important personal information can be stored with the website. Most of the websites tend to use the cookies to gather information related to the different ads, that you are most likely to click on. However, cookies can compromise your private information. Some of the cookies can stay on your computer for life, and therefore make your computer vulnerable to hacking attacks.
Storage Locations of Internet Cookies
Cookies are stored in special folders containing index.dat files. Each of these files has one text file for stored cookies. Every version of the Windows OS has a different location for cookies. Let's learn where they are located on various Windows versions.
Windows 7 or Vista: To be able to see all types of files, including the protected system files on Windows Vista and Windows 7, you have to change the settings of your Windows Explorer. In order to be able to find them, you may have to carry out the following steps:
- You need to go to Windows Explorer by clicking on the icon in the task bar. You can even type Windows Explorer in the search box of Start menu.
- You need to click on the Organize button that is present on the top left corner of the window. In Organize, you need to select Folder and Search Options, that appears in the drop down menu.
- When you do so, a new window called Folder Options will open. Click on the View tab in this window.
- In the View tab, you need to go down to Advanced settings and click on the option that says Show hidden files, folders and drives.
- In the same window, you need to uncheck the box that says Hide extensions for known file types and Hide protected operating system files.
- You should now click OK and confirm the changes. Close all the dialog boxes you have opened.
Windows XP and Windows 2000: Users of Windows XP and Windows 2000 can locate cookies on the C drive, or whichever drive volume that holds the operating system files. They are usually located at the following address:
C:\Documents and Settings\username\Cookies\
Important Tip: If there's only one user account, then you need to replace the username with the word Administrator in the path.
How to Delete Cookies from Mozilla Firefox
Firefox cookies are located in a different file. You need to start Firefox and go to the Tools menu. Then, select Options, and a dialog box will open. You need to click on the Privacy tab and make changes there. You need to switch to the option that says Use Customized Settings for History.
This will make the Show Cookies button visible. Click on it. You will now see a new window, that contains a list of cookies. The list is sorted by the websites that sent them. You can filter these cookies by site, by typing the domain name in the search box. Once done, you can click on the Close tab, and exit from the Firefox Options window.