A cookie consists of information sent by a web server to a web browser, and stored by the browser. The information is then sent back to the server each time the browser requests a page from the server. This enables the web server to identify and track the web browser.
Most browsers allow you to reject all cookies, whilst some browsers allow you to reject just third party cookies. For example, in Internet Explorer you can refuse all cookies by clicking “Tools”, “Internet Options”, “Privacy”, and selecting “Block all cookies” using the sliding selector. Blocking all cookies will, however, have a negative impact upon the usability of many websites.
There are a number of ways to manage cookies. You can normally stop cookies from being installed on your computer and can easily delete cookies that have been installed. To stop cookies from being installed on your computer you will need to alter the settings on your browser to prevent it from accepting cookies. What you need to do to alter the settings will depend upon the browser you are using, but instructions on how to alter the settings on some of the more popular browsers are set out below:
Internet Explorer 5.0: go to the "Tools" menu, click on "Internet Options", click on the "Security" tab, highlight the "Internet" zone, select security level "High" for this zone, click on "OK" You will be alerted each time a website tries to send a cookie to you computer. At that time you can choose either to accept or reject the cookie.
Internet Explorer 6.0: go to the "File" menu, click on "Tools", click on "Internet Options", click on the "Privacy" tab, moving the sliding bar up or down to set how high or low you want your privacy preferences (move the sliding bar to the stop to reject cookies from all websites), click on "OK".
Netscape 4.0 and 6.0: go to the "Edit" menu, click on "Preferences", click on "Advanced", select the "cookies" field, tick "Warn me before accepting a cookie" (or in Netscape 6.0 you can tick "Disable Cookies" instead), click on "OK", shut down and restart Netscape. Depending upon what choice you have made, you will either be alerted each time a website tries to send a cookie to your computer (at that time you can choose either to accept or reject the cookie) or your computer will automatically reject all cookies.
Netscape 7: go to the "Edit" menu, click on "Preferences", double click on "Privacy and Security", select "Cookies", set your cookie preferences. To manage cookies on a site by site basis click on "Tools" on the toolbar, click on "Cookie Manager" and set your cookie preference for that website. To delete cookies that have been installed on your computer select "cookies" in the "HELP" function of your browser for information on where to find your cookie folder and how to delete files.