How to reset cookies on Internet Explorer

By | May 9, 2009

I still use Internet Explorer (and Chrome) sometimes, especially if some websites render better in them. If you use IE a lot, you may notice that it slows down after a while. Many times, it’s due to cookies. This post is mainly concerning IE 7. Some issues you might experience that could be helped by optimizing your IE installation include, but are not limited to:

  • Your IE installation might be producing errors that say IE has encountered an error and must close (happens with Firefox too).
  • Internet connectivity issues resulting in frequent inaccurate 404 errors
  • Your computer begins loading webpages at an abnormally slow speed
  • There may be a high number of pop ups intruding on your web browsing time

Here’s a very simple way to reset cookies on Internet Explorer, and optimize it:

Begin by restarting your machine.  Once the computer is rebooted close any programs that may have opened automatically including any IE windows.

  • Navigate to Start>Control Panel>Internet Options if in Classic view, or Start>Control Panel>Network & Internet Connections>Internet Options
  • In the Internet Options popup box, you should be on the general tab of the internet Properties box by default.
  • About halfway down the Internet Properties dialog box you should see a sub heading called Browsing History; in this section click on the delete button to open the delete browsing history box.


In the delete browsing history box you will be presented with the following box:


You will want to click on the Delete All button at the very bottom of this box. This is not an immediate process. If you have never done this before this can take several minutes. For people who use the internet on a daily basis it is a good idea to do this on a monthly basis.

  • Once the deleting has finished you can close the delete browsing history box.  You will be returned to the Internet Properties box automatically.
  • In the Internet Properties box navigate to the Advanced tab.
  • On the Advanced tab click the Reset button.


That’s all you need to do to quicken IE 7. This works about the same with IE 6 too, except you don’t have the Reset option.

Why should I clear my cookies every now and then?

It is important to clear cookies from your system on a fairly regular basis. This is a little known fact but those who work in web based software will tell you that old cookies become corrupt.

A corrupt cookie will not cause any real damage to your computers hardware or software but corrupt cookies can cause problems with any internet applications you might use. For instance, if you often log into Internet based email software like Hotmail or Yahoo, a cookie from their system might be storing your login information for you so you do not need to type in your login information each time you visit the site.

If that cookie becomes corrupt it can cause login failure.  This type of login failure is often assumed to be a problem with the website you are visiting, but nine times out of ten the issue is simply a corrupt cookie.

How do cookies become corrupt?

Cookies can become corrupt in a few different ways.  The most common way a cookie becomes corrupt is when the internet connection fails while the website you are visiting is installing the cookie in your web browser.  Again, there is no risk of long term damage to your computer due to corrupt cookies but they can cause your browser to behave weirdly, and you may have login difficulties at some websites.

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15 thoughts on “How to reset cookies on Internet Explorer

  1. Panama Lawyer

    IE? Really? I’m curious as to which sites render better in IE and what you attribute that too. Does it have a better rendering engine? I’ve been happy with Chrome and the way each tab is its own process. No more freezes and crashes like I experienced in IE.

  2. DarrinW Post author

    @ Panama lawyer

    Sometimes when the connection is slow, some WordPress sites look awful in Firefox. Some web designers will tell you that Firefox used to be slightly “problematical,” – that was also my experience with Firefox 2.

  3. Vanessa | juicy couture

    Although some sites render well in internet explorer and we have to use it but I hate doing that. Thanks for sharing the tip but it is really a pain in back. Anyways I upgraded to IE8 and it is even worst in speed and performance.

  4. 1weddingsource

    Question – Do you need to make a back-up file before doing this or it is safe to do the clearing and leaving your files where it has been saved? I am experiencing this kind of slowing process and just wanted to make sure that my saved files will not get affected. Thanks a lot.

  5. DarrinW Post author

    @ 1weddingsource
    No need to back up any files. It only affects the IE cache.

  6. Steven W Scott

    If you’re willing to take the time to do this (and I wouldn’t recommend this to most people) you can manually delete some cookies if you want to preserve certain websites, such as the ones you frequently visit (like google or ). This can save yourself having to type in your login info and other data manually every time you visit your usual websites.

  7. ram

    After finishing all the process of resetting cookies computer asked me to restart internet explorer,how i do so?

  8. DarrinW Post author

    @ ram
    Depends on what version of IE you are using, but if it is IE 7, go to Internet Options > Advanced Tab and there is an option to Reset. After reset, close IE and open it again.

  9. Jon

    I’ve also been suffering a slowing now and again of internet browsing. Clearing the cache has helped along with doing a disk clean up.

  10. Dana

    what does cookies do?And how do you from what history is on your computer if delete?

  11. DarrinW Post author

    Cookies are a form of communication between your computer and browser and the website or webpage you are visiting, which helps to identify your visit, or track you. A form of online finger printing if you can call it that. If you delete your cookies, often you also delete your browsing history.

  12. Claire Schusterman

    I have been unable to access my Facebook account from my computer. I am fairly new on the computer and so is Linux,so my help is very limited.I did receive 2 emails for Facebook today and one did connect me to their Facebook. I did trply,but I don’t think it went through.Any help you have will be much appreciated ! Thanks!

  13. lonewolf

    Installed a new McAfee 2010 in a friend’s computer. When it came to activating it, I could not get it to go, no matter how many times I tried. Contacted their support and the guy remote-accessed the machine and learned there was a corrupt cookie preventing the activation. He got it to go from his end, after cleaning up the mess. Well, at least I learned about corrupt cookies out of the deal.
    This friend downloads a lot of music from amazon, so that could be contributing to his problem also. Plus, he was not upgraded to IE8, but is now, so we will see how it acts as a result of this upgrade.

  14. kendra

    i was wondering is that the reason why my yahoo messenger does lot load correctly on my guest account?and shall i do with my favorites section?will that become affected in any way shape or form?and also yahoo says reset cookies when i open it up on my guest account?

  15. Harv

    do’nt go through all that fuss,people make simple things so darn hard.I just had the same prolerm,call a few so-called computer tech buddies & they did’nt have an answer.
    First go into control panel,then open Internet options,click Privacy,move control from block all cookies to mediuem high & that’s it. Simple

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