The simplest way a user can find computer cookies is through the use of cookie tracking software; these programs are often small in size, free to download and install, and easy to use. If a user knows the name of a particular cookie, he can also attempt to find it using his computer's file search function. Some cookies register as hidden files, however, and will not appear in searches if the user does not allow hidden files to be seen. The most common way people find computer cookies, however, is through the built-in cookie-locating functionality of their web browsers. Each web browser has its own unique method of displaying cookies to the user.
On one of the more common web browsers, Internet Explorer, users begin to find computer cookies by clicking on the "Tools" button, followed by "Internet Options." Users should then go to the "General" tab and click "Settings" under "Browser History." Another window will pop up, named "Temporary Internet Files and History Settings." Clicking on "View Files" will allow users to examine the many different temporary files created while browsing, including web cookies. Alternatively, users can search for the "Temporary Internet Files" folder and directly find computer cookies there.
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Firefox, another often-used web browser, allows users to find computer cookies by accessing the "Privacy" tab. Users start by clicking on the "Firefox" button. If the user's operating system is a Mac, he should continue by clicking "Preferences;" a personal computer (PC) user should click on "Options." A new dialog box containing a tab labeled "Privacy" should appear. Depending on the version of Firefox being used, users can click either "Show All Cookies" or "Remove Individual Cookies" under "Privacy." This will display all cookies saved while using the browser.
Individuals using Google Chrome for browsing can find computer cookies by first clicking the wrench button. PC users should follow by clicking "Options," Mac and Linux users should click "Preferences," and Chrome OS users should continue by clicking "Settings." Users should then click "Under the Hood," followed by "Content Settings." Users will be able to see any HTTP cookie created during browsing by clicking "All cookies and site data."
Users often have no need to find computer cookies on their systems, as files are text data meant for information storage and user authentication. As text data, cookies cannot be viruses or other malicious programming, rendering them generally harmless. Cookies store data regarding a user's browser behavior, however, and can be accessed by third parties for advertising or tracking purposes. As such, some individuals feel a need to regularly delete any suspicious browser cookie they find.