Can I Disable Tracking Cookies?
Can I disable tracking cookies? Ok, so let’s talk about cookies, no not the kind you dunk in milk and feeling guilty as hell after you’ve finished the whole bag. No, these are internet cookies, the ones that have gained a rather sinister image.
A cookie is just one or more pieces of information stored as a text file on your machine. A Web Server sends you a cookie and the browser stores it. The browser then returns the cookie to the server the next time the page is referenced.
The most common use of a cookie is to store a user ID. For example, the cookie might contain the following string: ID=4567354.
Amazon.com is one site that uses this technique. When you order a book you fill out a form with your name and address. Amazon assigns you an ID, stores your information with that ID in its database on the server, and sends the ID to your browser as a cookie. Your browser stores the ID on your Hard Disk. The next time you go to Amazon, the ID is sent back to the server. The server looks you up by your ID and customizes the Web page it sends back to you. The page might say, “Welcome back, Joe Smith”
So for the most part cookies are great, especially if you don’t want to type in a password every 30 seconds. But most of us don’t like the idea of certain types of cookies that follow us around from one web-site to another to report to advertisers on what you’re looking at. But there is a way that you can block those “third-party” cookies without getting rid of the useful kind!
For Internet Explorer, go to Control Panel > Internet Options > click the Privacy tab, and either choose a preset on the slider that blocks third-party cookies or click Advanced > checkOverride automatic cookie handling, and check Block under ‘third-party cookies’.
In Safari, go to Edit > Preferences > Privacy and set ‘Block cookies’ to From third parties and advertisers.
In Firefox, go to Firefox > Options > Privacy and select ‘Use custom settings for history from the drop-down menu. Uncheck Accept third-party cookies.
With Chrome, go to Option > Under the Hood > Content Settings and check Block third-party cookies from being set.
For any browser, we suggest the free program CCleaner. Our tech uses it for all the machines in our office and it provides an easy method to clean out your cookies, temporary files and other extraneous space-taker-uppers that your hard drive holds onto.
So there you have it, keeping the good cookies and heaving the bad ones, kind of like the best of both worlds. Got questions or comments, we would love to hear from you. Is there a question you would like us to answer, let us know, we’ll get right on it.