Types of cookie
In managing cookies, there are two basic types to consider. “First-party” cookies are those that come from the same domain as the page that you are viewing and are available to be read by the site that you are viewing. This is the type of cookie used for logins, for example. They also may be required by a site before it can be viewed properly. “Third-party” cookies are sent by or can be read by a site different from the one being viewed. These are from sites that provide material to a page that you are viewing, usually advertising. Most people feel that this type of cookie can be safely filtered out. (Marketers may disagree, of course.)
Cookies are also classified according to how long they live. “Persistent” cookies are downloaded to your computer and remain in effect for some period of time called the lifetime (unless they are deleted). Sometimes the lifetime is set for years. “Session” cookies are kept in temporary memory and are alive only during the time that your browser is open.
Cookie management with advanced privacy settings
Cookies are managed in IE6 and IE7 through the menu “Tools-Internet Options”. (Internet Options can also be reached through the Control Panel.) Some details are given in this tutorial. The figure below shows the dialog box obtained when the “Privacy” tab is selected from “Tools-Internet Options”. To use the advanced settings, click the button “Advanced” outlined in red (not the tab at the upper right.)
The dialog box for “Advanced” settings is shown below. Place a check in the box by “Override automatic cookie handling” and click “OK”.
After checking the box, the dialog box looks like the figure below. Settings for First-party cookies, third-party-cookies, and session cookies are available. The settings shown are probably the optimum for many PC users. Blocking third-party cookies keeps out a lot of advertising related stuff and does not interfere with the functioning of any sites that I am aware of. Put checks by the settings you prefer and click “OK”.
If you do not like the results from using the advanced settings, return to the Internet Explorer menu “Tools-Internet Options-Privacy”. The default configuration can then be restored by clicking the button “Default” as shown in the figure below.
Using an imported privacy file
A lesser known but very useful feature in Internet Explorer allows the management of cookies by importing what is known as a privacy file. The privacy tab dialog box for Internet Options contains a button “Import…”. This is shown in the figure below. Details of how to use this type of file and some examples are given at http://www.vlaurie.com/computers2/Articles/custom_privacy_file.htm. The procedure for constructing a customized privacy import file is dicussed at http://www.vlaurie.com/computers2/Articles/custom_privacy_file2.htm.