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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