Just as your browser stores a temporary copy of each web page you visit, it also stores information about those pages, in the form of cookies. A cookie is a small file, created by a website but stored on your PC, that contains information about you and your activities on that website. For example, a cookie file for a particular site might contain your username, password, credit card information, and the most recent pages you visited on that site. The cookie file created by a site is accessed by that site each time you visit in the future, and the information used appropriately.
Aside from the privacy concerns of all these websites tracking your activities, cookies can also slow down your web browser. That's because, over time, you accumulate a lot of cookies. These files, while small, can take up significant amounts of hard disk space; in addition, your browser must sort through them all to find the cookies it needs when accessing a specific site. The more cookie files on your hard drive, the harder your browser has to work.
As with your browser's cache file, the solution to cookie-induced sluggishness is to delete all your cookies. It's quite easy to do in Internet Explorer 9:
- Click the Tools (gear) button and select Internet Options.
- When the Internet Options dialog box appears, select the General tab.
- Go to the Browsing History section and click the Delete button.
- When the Delete Browsing History dialog box appears, check the Cookies box.
- Click the Delete button.