Cookies can help you use websites, like remembering preferences that you've specified, or even just whether you're logged in or not. If you build up too big of a stash of them, though, they can take up memory and slow your computer down. They can also let a person or program that looks at them get an idea of where you go and what you do on the Internet. So it's wise to erase your cookies occasionally.
Have a look at our What are Cookies and How to Clear Cookies tutorials if you're interested in some extra info on the purpose of cookies, as well as some reasons why they should be cleared from time to time.
Double-click on your Internet Explorer icon to open your web browser.
You'll see a little gear icon in the top-right corner; this is the "Tools" button. Click it, move your mouse cursor over Safety, and click Delete Browsing History.
If you have the Menu Toolbar enabled, there is also a Tools menu across the top of the page. Click it, and then select Delete Browsing History from the menu that drops down.
(HINT: Holding down the "Control" and "Shift" keys on your keyboard, and then pressing the "Delete" key, is also a shortcut for getting to the next step.)
The window that appears allows you to select what types of browsing data you want to erase. If there is no checkmark in the box beside "Cookies and Website Data", click the box to put one there.
If you want to save cookies generated by websites that you have bookmarked as "Favorites", click the check box next to "Preserve Favorites Website Data" to mark it (or just leave it if it's already checked).
Click Delete when you're done. Note that ALL cookies from Internet Explorer will be erased from your computer; you can't choose to delete ones from just a certain time period (though you can get rid of them individually instead; we'll cover that in the next tutorial).
Voila! Your cookies in Internet explorer have been deleted! Now, just follow the same procedure any time you want to do it again. To wrap up our section on staying private in Internet Explorer, we'll show you how to set it up so that cookies are enabled or disabled.
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