When I Delete Cookies in IE8, Must I Uncheck "Preserve Favorite Website Data?"

By John Lister

Online cookies aren't quite as fun as the real thing.
i Zedcor Wholly Owned/PhotoObjects.net/Getty Images

Internet Explorer enables you to delete data that it has stored on your computer, including cookies. The default option to simply delete all cookies gives maximum security at the expense of some inconvenience. However, the Internet Explorer Settings menu gives you the option of deleting less important cookies while preserving more important ones, which you may find a useful compromise.


Cookies are text files created on your computer when you visit a website. The purpose of these files is so your browser can provide information to the website next time you visit it, which helps customize the site for you. For example, if you visit a movie theater listings site and type in your ZIP code to get listings for local theaters, the site may create a cookie. The next time you visit the site, you'll get the local listing immediately without needing to enter the ZIP code again.


You can delete cookies if you want to reduce the risk of sites storing information you consider confidential, or to prevent other people accessing the cookies on your computer. To do so, open Internet Explorer, click on "Tools," then "Internet Options," then the "General Tab" and then "Delete" in the Browsing History section. You'll get a menu titled "Delete Browsing History" that includes list of options, including "Cookies," to decide what to delete.

Preserve Favorites

At the top of the "Delete Browsing History" menu you'll see an option marked "Preserve Favorites website data." Checking this option means that Internet Explorer will keep all data relating to your favorite sites (those you have bookmarked) regardless of the other options you choose. If you check this box and the "Cookies" box, then Internet Explorer will delete cookies only for sites you do not have listed as Favorites. This can provide a useful way to quickly delete unwanted cookies while minimizing the inconvenience doing so can cause: you won't need to re-enter information on sites you have bookmarked.


Cookies are stored separately by Internet Explorer for each Windows user. If you delete cookies (with or without preserving favorites), only those created while you were logged into the current Windows user account will be deleted. Also, remember that deleting cookies in Internet Explorer doesn't affect cookies stored when using other browsers.


The information in this article refers to Internet Explorer 8 but is also valid for Internet Explorer 9 and 10. Details for other editions or other browsers may vary slightly or significantly.