Edit: After half day, my wife’s Mac started having the same problem. I have then applied the solution that I found in the Apple
How to evade the intrusion of Web browser cookies
Why you might want to toss your cookies, and what to expect if you do
It’s not too uncommon to see pop ups coming with your names on them and being absolutely privy to your browsing behaviour. Many might even show your pictures with contact information and suggest you products that you have lately searching for.
While the mechanism behind such advertisements is no big secrets, these cookies enabled pop ups and advertisements do become painful when they start coming up with too many suggestions and ‘What-you-may-like’ options.
So what is the way to get rid of them?
Well, the answer lies in getting rid of the cookies that sit on your computer and share your browsing behaviour with web properties for different purposes, right from suggesting you products, displaying your last searches, saving passwords et al.
Cookies started as the solution to offer faster browsing experience. However with time, they became a powerful tool for advertisers. There is no denying that cookies do help, but there is no denying the fact either than they are painful at times.
Deleting or renaming cookies
You can delete or rename cookies by taking a trip down the browser’s preferences. For safari browser, go to Preferences>>Security>>Show Cookies and click on Remove All.
For Firefox 3.6.8, click on Preferences>>>Click on Privacy. Now click on the Remove Individual Cookies and click on Remove All Cookies to delete all Firefox cookies.
While deleting may mean that you have to login in all your most frequent websites and blogs every time you visit them, renaming the cookies folder will ensure that you have password protected and other preferences saved and yet have no interference or pop ups that you want to be ridden from.
For this, go to ~/Library/Cookies for Safari browser. Rename this folder to something that you can recollect once you want the folder back in use. Try cookies.old.plist. This folder is used by Safari for rendering pages with the WebKit such as RSS readers et al.
Firefox’s stores its cookies in ~/Library/Application Support/Firefox/Profiles/. Click open this folder to find your Profile folder. It has weird nomenclature such as oe886bk5.default. Open this folder and locate the cookies.sqlite file. Change its name and you are done.
What you will lose
Well as mentioned, once you get rid of your cookies, the first thing that goes away is the quick browsing experience. You will have to login everywhere manually. There won’t be any automatic filling up. Site such as Amazon will ask you to sign in for personalised recommendations, your blog administrative page will ask for login as well. However you can take care of it if you use Autofill options of the browser of your choice. For Safari Autofill preferences, go to Preferences. Click on AutoFill. Select the user names and password options. Doing this means that you don’t have to fill passwords again and again.
In some cases, you may lose display settings such as a font size or certain elements such as the theme and skin on a site. Goggle search setting will get reset and you will have to change them once again.
What You would not lose
Keeping your browsing history personal is always a good idea. In this regard regularly deleting the cookies will ensure that your browsing habits remain personal. There are many cookies that are hidden by advertisers on your computer for tracking your internet use. This gives them an idea of what to offer you for better conversions.
However remember that you can keep deleting these cookies but they come back as you browse more and more. The key is to keep deleting cookies every week or two. There might be instances when even after maintaining settings to allow cookies only from the sites you visit, you will find cookies of other sites as well. This might happen due to cross site cookies or embedded scripts. Therefore, the best approach is to regularly empty the cookie folder.
To see the kind of cookies you have running on your PC, simply click on ‘Show Cookies’ button and expand the window. You will find your user name, email address, last visited pages et al under Content column.
How To Keep cookies under check
While you can turn off cookies in your browser, this will prevent many websites from running correctly. Sites like Amazon and Facebook require you to allow cookies or else they don’t work.
Therefore the best way of checking cookies is to maintain a regular check up regimen for cookies. Rather than turning off them completely, it is better to monitor the cookies and delete them as frequently as once in a week. In this regard, there are a few tools that can help. Tools such as the Intego’s $20 Washing Machine 2 can help you in maintaining cookies. It can delete caches and dross on demand. You can even set it up on a schedule.
Titanium’s Software’s free Onyx can also function in similar way. It can help you clean cookies from most of the browsers. However this software doesn’t offer the on schedule clean up facility.
Remember, deleting cookies time and again clear the hundreds of cookies that gather with every web page you visit. In the process of maintaining a clean computer, you can give yourself a new identity on the websites you keep visiting.