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How to Enable or Disable Cookies in Internet Explorer

by Aaron Parson

Internet Explorer's default settings accept some cookies, while blocking others that pose a greater potential risk to your privacy. Usually, you'll want to leave the browser's cookie settings untouched -- restricting more cookies can keep websites from working correctly, while allowing more cookies is rarely necessary. To check the current setting, or if you need to change it or create an exception for a specific site, open the Privacy tab in the Internet Options window.

Internet Explorer Cookie Settings

In Internet Explorer 11, open the Tools menu by clicking the gear icon, choose Internet Options and switch to the Privacy tab to see the settings dealing with cookies.

The vertical slider on the Privacy tab sets which types of cookies to accept. Set to the top, Internet Explorer blocks all cookies. At the bottom, IE accepts all cookies. The settings in between block some cookies, depending on their type and use. The default setting, Medium, blocks third-party cookies -- those set by sites you don't visit directly, such as advertisers -- without a privacy policy and those that collect personally identifying information without your "explicit consent." It also blocks first-party cookies (sites you directly visit) that collect this information without your "implicit consent."

Manual Cookie Settings

To override the slider, click Advanced on the Privacy tab and check Override Automatic Cookie Handling. You can then pick whether to allow, block or ask about each cookie, with separate settings for first-party and third-party cookies. The Always Allow Session Cookies option allows cookies that delete themselves when you close your browser, even if your other settings would block them.

Individual Site Exclusions

Click Sites on the Privacy tab to change cookie settings for specific websites. Type a site's domain, such as google.com, and choose either Allow or Block to add an exception to the list. Select an exception from the list and click Remove to erase it, or click Remove All to clear the list.

Delete Existing Cookies

To remove all cookies from Internet Explorer, switch to the General tab and click Delete. Check Cookies and Website Data, uncheck any items you don't want to erase and confirm by clicking Delete.

Erasing specific cookies takes a bit more work. Visit the site that created the cookie you don't want, and press F12 to open the developer tools. Switch to the Network tab by pressing Ctrl-4. On the menu bar, click the icon of a cookie with an "X" above it to Clear Cookies for This Domain. When you're done, press F12 again to close the developer tools.

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About the Author

Aaron Parson has been writing about electronics, software and games since 2006, contributing to several technology websites and working with NewsHour Productions. Parson holds a Bachelor of Arts from The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Wash.

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