I think of myself as a veteran browser/Internet user. I make a living because of the Internet, I use it for much of my recreational activity. You could even go so far as to say I pretty much need a life.

I have also never thought much about cookies set on my machine by websites because I’m not one of those “paranoid” types that think that everyone is out to steal all of my oh-so-secret things off of my computer. (yes that sentence was way too long).

BUT, I was just in my cookie file for a mundane reason and I was appalled by the amount of cookies I had and where they came from. I am certain I have not been to a couple of them. One was a news site in SWITZERLAND, in that language (Swiss?). One was from, which I have never been to, but saw it listed today when I was browser the “websites you like” thread.

SO…I told my browser to tell me everytime someone wanted to set a cookie and then went browsing. To get to the MPSIMS section I was asked by Straight Dope no less than FIVE times to allow a different cookie. This isn’t so bad, though I can’t fathom why they need so many, because they are just sending them back to the originating server. I was also asked by to set one, which gives a server error if you go to that site. It’s from one of the banners at the top of SD and I was asked by on every SD page to set one.

Does anyone else find this irritating and invasive? It’s one thing for the sites you actually go to ask, though again, five different cookies?, but for advertising people to put a cookie on your machine because you happen to view one of their ads?


Can’t you just set your browser so that it won’t receive cookies?

yes, I was just commenting on the fact that there are so many and from places you don’t even go.

Aye, got it. I myself never really understood the benefit (is there one?) of cookies for anyone except the people who are gathering data, and I just find it annoying to be told that “You last visited this site on _____ [date].” Am I missing out on anything by not allowing cookies?

Cookies are useful for a lot of reasons aside from the mundane (though even these reasons some might call mundane). I order from online catalogs and websites such as CDNow, and the cookies make it so I don’t have to remember everything about my accounts - it’s right there on my start pages.

Also, a lot of the websites I visit require passwords, and remembering all of them and what combination of user name I used with it would be maddening for me.

You would be surprised how many places you need to register at already have a Satan in them!

Yer pal,

There are a couple of ways to deal with them. One is a program called CookiePal available from: and one called WindowWasher available at
Both can also be downloaded from htpp:/
Some sites such as Microsoft insist on giving you a cookie or they won’t deal with you. It’s more convenient to allow them to be deposited from other sites such as Straight Dope that use the info to set preferences for your convenience.
The programs above give you control over which ones you accept (CookiePal) or which ones are automatically deleted (WindowWasher)
I have no financial interest in either one, just have found them to be the two best of about five that I have tried.

I dunno about you guys, but I’m laying off the cookies. It’s either that or buy a couple of new suits :wink:


“You know how complex women are”

  • Neil Peart, Rush (1993)

Why are some cookies made to last until the 2037? Do they think I’ll still own the same computer that long?

Funny thing about cookies is that Windows explorer gives them no file size. odd.

Let me ask a related question: what percentage of the cookies that your computer receives are actually doing something useful for you (like storing passwords or settings)?

In my case I would estimate it to be roughly 10% or less.

what percentage of the cookies that your computer receives are actually doing something useful for you (like storing passwords or settings)?

Looking at the display from WindowWasher that shows the cookies it intends to delete versus the ones I have told it to keep, not very many. Maybe 5 out of 50 0r 60 depending on how many sites I have visited.

Diver -

I’ve thought about getting Window Washer. Would you tell us a little more? What’s the biggest benefit to you?

Is it resident or do you just invoke it as desired? If resident, is it a resource hog?

The cookies thing irritates me because some are useful (the stuff Satan mentioned), but so many are just junk.

| | | | | | | | | |
Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit.

I wrote myself a little batch file (about 80 bytes) that deletes my cookie folder, my web cache and my temp folder.

I keep it in my tray, and whenever I want to do a clean up, one click and it’s done.

Of course, if you want to be selective in your cleanup, it’s of no use to you. It’s all or nothing.

If anyone wants it, I’ll be glad to E-Mail to you.

I wrote it for IE, but it can easily be modified for Netscape.


I guess the biggest benefit for me is that it gets rid of many megabytes of crap such as files in the cache folders, as well as killing the cookies that end up in the cookie file. Some sites insist on giving you a cookie and when CookiePal asks me if I want to accept it for this session, I can say yes and then let WindowWasher get rid of it at shutdown if I want.

I know other people that just don’t want anyone else to know what sites they have visited or what Word or Excel files they have accessed.
WindowWasher will get rid of all those tracks. It will also “Bleach”, that is, make sure any deleted files can’t be recovered by anyone.

Sorry I didn’t answer the following

Is it resident or do you just invoke it as desired? If resident, is it a resource hog?

It’s non-resident.

CookiePal is resident or not as you wish and it doesn’t seem to use an inordinate amount of resources. It’s best used resident I think.

I use them both because they compliment each other.