Cookies to delete or not to delete is the question


For some of us the word cookies is associated with American biscuit type edibles, but when we refer to it in connection with support for our computers, it becomes a whole different ballgame! Every so often you get a reminder about “deleting your cookies.” For the clever ones, they immediately give a response by leaping into action. For others, it’s different, because the message may be met with “do what?” or simply ignored. However, the question remains to haunt us; what are these cookies, where do they come from and how do we get rid of them?

First – what are computer cookies?

Keeping it easy; cookies on your computer are small packages of data. They are sent to your browser by those websites you visit and contain information about your activity on that page. This information is in turn saved by your browser in file form and may contain a username and your password. In addition, the site preferences you have shown and what was left in your shopping cart. The purpose of saving this material is to make it more convenient and less of a hassle when you next visit the site.

However, it’s not that easy, because there are various types of cookies, all with different behaviour patterns. Some of them may be deleted when you close the site window; on the other hand, others can be stored on your hard-drive, where they can expire or wait for you to delete them!

Question; why are they called “cookies”? That’s an easy one because they take their name from the Chinese Fortune Cookies and the fact they contain concealed information.

Second -why delete cookies and when?

Cookies are not the obvious cause of problems your computer, as they operate behind the scenes, so to speak, but, there are occasions when you will need to delete them! There could be an instance when the cached data in the cookies could conflict with their home website. It can occur if the page has been updated, which results in errors when trying to reload that page. In addition, because cookies are files on your hard drive, and although only a few KB, their combined size can increase if ignored for a significant amount of time!

Third – your privacy and deleting cookies

To complete the cookie triangle, the cookies you store contain your user data. In the interest of maintaining your online privacy, you do not want your online activity to be on record, do you? Therefore, if privacy is an issue for you, you only need to open a window that is incognito. If you want to delete cookies, the exact procedure will depend on the browser you are using and whether you want to delete certain or all the cookies!

In perspective, you don’t need to give deep and prolonged consideration to cookie deletion frequency. They should be accepted as a usual and necessary part of the browsing experience and if you find re-entering information a hassle every time you visit a site, then it could be in your interest to let sleeping cookies be.