How to find and erase all the cookies on your computer

I love cookies.  Oreos are good; everyone loves those but believe it or not: they aren’t my favorite.  Walkers Shortbread cookies are also pretty damn good but they don’t take the gold in my book.

The cookies I’m really digging these days are made by Pepperidge Farm.  These crumbly disks of goodness are affectionately known as Chesepeake and they’re sublime.  Think dark chocolate, pecans and a buttery, crispy cookie crunch.

Is your mouth watering yet?  If not, you better check your pulse buddy.

These are the cookies we should all crave.  However, the cookies I have for you today are quite a different animal.  They live on your PC.  Some are good.  Cookies that you receive from the site you visited are first-party cookies and are good.  For example, if you go to Amazon.com you’ll get a first party cookie from Amazon so it can keep you logged in the next time you bring up the site. Third-party cookies are used  by unscrupulous advertisers to track you.  For example, the ad sitting in the sidebar that drops a cookie on your computer is a third-party cookie.

I won’t explicate the purpose of cookies in this article (I’ve already delineated the purpose of cookies in a previous post).

In this guide, I’m simply going to show you how to see all the cookies in:

  • Firefox
  • Internet Explorer
  • Chrome
  • Safari

Let’s do this!

Frying cookies in Firefox

Bring out the deep fryer because we’re about to burn these cookies to a crisp.

First we need to  view the batch.

Open up your preferences.  On my Mac is just a matter of pressing Command + , (comma).

Now skip over to the Privacy tab and jump down to the History section.

In the Firefox will… drop down box, select Kick Chrome’s ass.

Oh wait, that was in the alpha version.  Choose Use custom settings for history.

Firefox Privacy Cookies

A new section will materialize before your very eyes.

Click the Show Cookies… button to view all those hapless cookies…

Show cookies in Firefox

Oh lookie here!

You’ll see the whole cookie jar here.  You can manually browse through list picking off the cookies you don’t want or just click estimable Remove All Cookies button to annihilate the whole batch.

Looking at Cookies on your Mac

But let’s say you’re on a web site and you want to see all the cookies you just downloaded in real-time.  The easy way to do that is to click the hamburger icon in the upper right corner of the browser and choose the Developer wrench from the menu.

Firefox Developer Button

The web developers toolbox will slide into view.  Click the little cog in the right corner and then put a check mark in the Storage box.  It’s located in the far left column.

FIrefox Storage Tab

A new tab called…

Wait you’ll never guess what it’s called.

STORAGE! hahah.  It magically pops into the view adjacent to the Network tab.

Click that sucker and you’ll see all your cloying cookies waiting to be deleted.  You’ll see the path, domain name, expiration date and everything.  And it dynamically updates as new cookies are slurped down from the web.

Very cool eh?

Viewing Firefox cookies in real time

To tell Firefox to stop munching on third-party cookies, revisit your preferences (Command + ,) and under Always use private browsing mode and Accept cookies from sites make sure the Accept third-party cookies: drop down box is set to Never.

Am I the only one who things there should be an exclamation point at the end of that option?

Tell Firefox to never accept third-party cookies

Crunching cookies in IE

Finding cookies in Internet Exploder; ahem, I mean Explorer is fun.

Just mash the Windows logo key, type:

delete cookies

These two words slings open the Internet Properties dialog box where you can click the Delete button at the bottom.

Deleting cookies in IE

 

Make sure Cookies and website data is checked and then banish all your cookie to oblivion.

Delete cookies in IE confirmation

If you want to view your cookies before pulling the plug click the Settings button instead of that Delete button on the Internet Properties tab.

There’s a little View files button in the bottom right corner of the Temporary Internet Files tab.

View Website Data

Now you can see the actual cookie files on your file system.

Now you can sort by the Type column to instantly zero in on all those dastardly cookies.

I bet you didn’t know you could do this!

Viewing cookie files in Windows

To view your “live cookies feed” press F12 in IE and click the Network tab in the Developers pane.

Refresh the site then click the green play button in the left corner to start capturing your data.

Under the Play/Stop button are two sections:

  • SUMMARY
  • DETAILS

Click Details and you’ll see a sub menu open below that with options for:

  • Request headers
  • Request body
  • Response headers
  • Response body
  • Cookies

Bingo!  Click Cookies and weep.

Cookies in Network Tab

Chomping cookies in Chrome

Peeking in the Chrome cookie jar is super easy.

Just type this delectable URL in the omnibar:

chrome://settings/cookies

Mmmmm look at that…

Looking at cookies in Chrome

Punch the Remove all button at the top to vaporize all your cookies or just scroll through the list to see everything.  You can also manually type a domain name in the Search cookies box sitting next to that tempting Remove all button.

To view your Chrome cookies in real-time, go to your cookielicious website and then hit the burger icon in the upper right corner of the browser.

Go down to More tools and pick Developer Tools.

We’re entering the secret area where web developers dwell.  Follow me.

Chrome Developer tools

A new developer panel slides into view.  Pick the Resources tab and then scroll down the left pane until you see those infamous.

BAM!  In your face like mace.

Look at all that crap.

To zap, right click and delete.

Chrome cookies in real-time

To permanently banish third-party cookies from Chrome boldly type in the following URL:

chrome://settings/content

Check the box next to Block third-party cookies and site data and click Done.

Block third-party cookies in Chrome

Smacking down cookies in Safari

Viewing cookies in Safari is as easy as… eating a full box of Oreo cookies when no one is watching…

Ha, check this out.

Press Command + , (comma), hit the Privacy tab and click the Details… button.

Notice my browser is showing that I currently have 63 cookies and other data in Safari.  Let’s see what’s going on here.

View Safari Cookies

It looks like I have some expensive cookies from goyard.com in my history.

Hit Remove All to melt down the cookie tray.

Safari Cookies

To watch the cookies collect in real time, visit your favorite cookie laden site and click the last tab labeled Advanced.

Near the bottom you’ll see the shy option to Show Develop menu in menu bar.

Show Safari Developer Toolbar

A new Develop menu squeezes itself in between the Bookmarks and Window menus in the menu bar.

We could use that prosaic Develop menu but I’ve got a clever trick for you.

Click View and choose Customize Toolbar…

It’s time to remix Safari.

Customize Safari Toolbar

Find the icon that says Web Inspector.  It looks like a little “i” with a circle around it.

Then drag the icon next to the location bar of your browser.  This is a slick trick for bringing up developer tools in the future because all you need to do is click the i-con (there’s a pun somewhere in there… and yes it’s intended)

Safari Web Inspector

Now you can spy on all your cookies in real time as you trek through the interwebs.

Viewing cookies in Safari

To block third-party cookies just… just… use Google?

Does Safari even have a way to block third-party cookies?  I poked Safari in every place I could find and still couldn’t get her to confess where she was hiding this setting.  If you know, hit me up the comments below.

The Bottom Line

Now you know how to obliterate the cookies in every browser on your computer.  I didn’t include Opera because no one uses it and Vivaldi is too new so I skipped that one.

So now it’s your turn to talk to me.  How many cookies did you find on your system?  Were you surprised?

Let me know in the comments below!

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Posted in Google Chrome, Internet Explorer 10, Internet Explorer 11, Internet Explorer 9, Linux, Mac OS X 10.10 Yosemite, Mac OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion, Mac OS X 10.9 Mavericks, Mozilla Firefox, Opera, Safari, Samsung Galaxy S4, Web Browsers, Windows 10, Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1, Windows Vista, Windows XP Tagged with: ,