Cookies in red capes

BY J. CARLTON COLLINS, CPA

Q: I found unwanted cookies on my Windows computer that I am unable to delete, and my security program does not detect or delete them either. How can I get rid of these persistent cookies? ( Note: To view the cookies on your computer, from the Internet Explorer browser menu, select Tools, Internet Options, Settings (under Browsing history), View files. Sort the list by Name, then scroll to the cookie listings as shown in the example below.)

A: To get rid of cookies that defy deletion, reboot your computer in Safe Mode (see below). You then will be able to delete them. To do this, reboot, then press the F8 key (before the Windows splash screen appears), then select Safe Mode and press the Enter key.

Once the system boots up, log in as an administrator and navigate to the Temporary Internet Files folder as follows:

1. From the Internet Explorer browser, select Tools, Internet Options, Settings (from the Browsing history section) and click the View files button.

2. Sort the content by clicking on the Name column’s title, then scroll to the names that begin with the word cookie.

3. Right-click each unwanted cookie and select Delete from the pop-up menu. Select Yes to confirm deletion.

Further, you may have encountered a super cookie—a more powerful type of cookie that circumvents your browser’s cookie manager and continually replaces some cookies after you delete them. Like regular cookies, most super cookies do not represent a direct computer threat, but they can threaten your privacy. If you encounter a suspicious super cookie, you can eradicate it using the following steps. Because super cookies are associated with Adobe Flash products, start by right-clicking on any YouTube video clip and selecting Global Settings (click the Allow button if prompted). On the Storage tab, click the button labeled Local Storage Settings by Site to display a list of Flash-based super cookies installed on your computer (see below).

Review the list and select the offending super cookie (perhaps one with the same or similar name to the persistent regular cookies you want to delete), then click the Remove button and close the dialog box. Thereafter, the parental super cookie won’t be around to redeposit new cookies in your Temporary Internet Files folder.

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