I'm not one of those Internet users who gets incredibly paranoid about Web sites that use cookies. I appreciate sites that use cookies to store information about me so I don't have to re-enter the information when I visit those sites again. But I do understand concerns about being tracked on the Internet. If you use Internet Explorer (IE), you can view the cookies that sites have placed on your computer (and delete them if you wish) by opening IE and clicking Tools, Internet Options. Select Settings under Temporary Internet files. The Settings dialog box lets you control several items. I was surprised that my settings had set aside 608MB of storage for temp files but was glad to note that I can move the Temporary Internet Files folder to any system location I want. I have several systems with smaller boot partitions and very large secondary drives that can benefit from moving this folder.

If you'd like to see the cookies on your system, click View Files, which opens a window to SystemDrive\Documents and Settings\Username\Local Settings\Temporary Internet Files. If you order the files by Internet Address (click on that column name), you can identify the cookies by the prefix Cookie: on each entry. You also can open the same location via Windows Explorer. In either case, you can delete any or all of the cookies you find there if you like. The system that I use to write this column had nearly 400 cookies used in the last 30 days. I probably spend too much time surfing the Web.

This week's tip:
You try to access a Web site and after what seems like forever, you get one of the many messages that are generated when a site fails to load. Actually, it's not forever, it's 5 minutes because 5 minutes is the default timeout for IE 5.x. You can make the default timeout either longer or shorter, depending upon how much patience you have.

  1. Open HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Internet Settings.
  2. Right-click the right pane and select New, DWORD Value.
  3. Name the new entry ReceiveTimeout.
  4. Double-click the new entry to open the edit dialog box.
  5. Select Decimal base.
  6. Enter the new timeout in milliseconds (1000ms is 1 sec, so 5 minutes is 300,000 ms).
  7. Save the changes and restart the system.