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Cookies: What They Are


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A Cookie is:

A very small text file placed on your hard drive by a Web Page server. It is essentially your identification card, and cannot be executed as code or deliver viruses. It is uniquely yours and can only be read by the server that gave it to you.

A Cookie's Purpose is:

To tell the server who is asking for a Web Page.

How a Cookie Helps You:

You always have to indentify yourself at the login page. The cookie helps the Web Page server remember you between pages.

How a Cookie Helps This Site

Cookies allow web sites to maintain user information across HTTP connections. The current HTTP protocol is "stateless," meaning that the server does not store any information about a particular HTTP transaction; each connection is "fresh" and has no knowledge of any other HTTP transaction. "State" information is information about a communication between a user and a server, similar in many ways to frequent flyer profiles or option settings in desktop software. (For example, a preference for aisle or window seats is cookie-like information that a frequent-flyer program might store about its customers.) Cookies helps us maintain state information about the user across HTTP transactions. However, when a user logs off or quits it's brower, the cookies information is discarded. Upon returning to our site, the user will need to log in again.

If You Want to Control Which Cookies You Accept:

You can order your browser to accept all cookies or to alert you every time a cookie is offered. Then you can decide whether to accept one or not.

If you're using Internet Explorer 6.0:
1. Choose Tools, then
2. Internet Options.
3. Click the Privacy tab,
4. Default setting is medium. Move the slider to determine which setting you prefer.
5. You can also click on Advanced for specialized cookie treatment.

If you're using Internet Explorer 5.0:
1. Choose Tools, then
2. Internet Options.
3. Click the Security tab,
4. Click Internet, then Custom Level.
5. Scroll down to Cookies and choose one of the two options.

If you're using Internet Explorer 4.0:
1. Choose View, then
2. Internet Options.
3. Click the Advanced tab,
4. Scroll down to the yellow exclamation icon under Security and choose one of the three options to regulate your use of cookies.

In Internet Explorer 3.0, you can View, Options, Advanced and click on the button that says Warn Before Accepting "Cookies."

If you're using Netscape Communicator 4.0:
On your Task Bar, click:
1. Edit, then
2. Preferences, then
3. click on Advanced.
4. Set your options in the box labeled "Cookies".

How to See Cookies You've Accepted:

If you're using Internet Explorer 6.0:
On your Menu bar, click:
1. Tools, then
2. Internet Options.
3. Under the tab General (the default tab) click
4. Settings, then
5. View Files....

If you're using Internet Explorer 5.0:
On your Menu bar, click:
1. Tools, then
2. Internet Options.
3. Under the tab General (the default tab) click
4. Settings, then
5. View Files....

If you're using Internet Explorer 4.0:
On your Menu bar, click:
1. View, then
2. Internet Options.
3. Under the tab General (the default tab) click
4. Settings, then
5. View Files....

Internet Explorer 3.0
On your Menu Bar, click:
1. View, then
2. Options, then
3. Advanced, then
4. View Files....

Netscape Communicator 4.0:
Netscape bundles all cookies into one file on your hard drive. You'll need to find the file, which it calls Cookie.txt on Windows machines.

How to See the Code in a Cookie:

Just click on a cookie to open it. You'll see a short string of text and numbers. The numbers are your identification card, which can only be seen by the server that gave you the cookie.