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  1. #1
    Platinum Lounger
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    Expiring Cookies (IE6SP2, but any)

    I was idly flicking through the output from @Winspy, specifically the "History" feature, and I observe an "Expires" column.

    Most of the cookie expiry dates here are within a month, but some have passed their expiry date.

    So my question is:
    does IE actually maintain the cookies,
    and delete those which have expired (apparently not)
    or delete the oldest when there's no more room for new cookies
    or not at all?

    Thanks!
    <font face="Script MT Bold"><font color=blue><big><big>John</big></big></font color=blue></font face=script>

    Ita, esto, quidcumque...

  2. #2
    Silver Lounger
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    Re: Expiring Cookies (IE6SP2, but any)

    Well, cookies in general take up such a small fraction of space that the amount of hard disk space you would recover by deleting expired cookies would be negligible. So, it depends on whether you want to delete expired cookies for 'space' reasons or for 'cosmetic' reasons.

    An expired cookie is no longer functional -- so there is no security risk per se. I will take that back slightly -- if a human has access to your computer, then they could look through your Cookie folder and see what cookies you had collected in the past. You may or may not view this as a 'privacy' risk.

    I believe Windows is not very compulsive about cleaning up expired cookies -- in fact, I believe you will find that it does not really try to delete them at all. I do not believe there is a 'ceiling' for expired cookies either.

    However, I believe there is a ceiling for total number of cookies -- and I think this is about 200 (don't quote me). Does this 200 quota include expired ones or just active ones? I don't remember... If it does include both types of cookies, then I assume there is a process or protocol which eliminates expired cookies first.

    How can you tell if a Cookie is expired by looking into the Cookies folder? Expired cookies have truncated names -- usually eight characters -- and therefore do not contain the web site as part of the name. They are usually found at the end of your Cookies folder. You will also note that the expired cookies do not appear as Cookies in your Temporary Internet Files folder -- because they are not listed in the Cookies folder index.dat file. This shows you that the cookies are functionally neutered -- the web sites can no longer access these.

    Is there a reason to delete expired cookies? The space recovery is likely insignificant and they do not represent a security risk since they are non-functional. You may or may not see them as a privacy risk. Beyond that, deleting them is only cosmetic.

  3. #3
    Uranium Lounger
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    Re: Expiring Cookies (IE6SP2, but any)

    Just FYI, I have 476 cookies in my cookie folder, so it exceeds 200. I don't know how many are active, though. Some days I feel like getting rid of almost all of them & starting over. I'm sure I don't need more than about a dozen or two.
    Cheers,

  4. #4
    Silver Lounger
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    Re: Expiring Cookies (IE6SP2, but any)

    Yeah, I don't remember the max cookie number any more. If I have time, I'll look it up (not a big priority!).

    If you have any desire to clean out the cookies, these programs may be useful:

    IECookiesView
    Cookie Viewer

    Both have their unique benefits.
    ____________

    OK, I lied. Once my interest was piqued, I had to find the answer. <img src=/S/smile.gif border=0 alt=smile width=15 height=15>

    Netscape used to limit users to 300 cookies. MS Internet Explorer uses the interesting concept of "up to 2% of your hard drive". Now, since hard drives are beginning at what 80 Gigs, and since a cookie file is a small text file of less than one kilobyte -- Internet Explorer will let you store quite a bit of cookies before it decides to clean up!! <img src=/S/smile.gif border=0 alt=smile width=15 height=15>

  5. #5
    Uranium Lounger
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    Re: Expiring Cookies (IE6SP2, but any)

    Hi R2:
    Thanks for the links. I already have both utilities, but see that Karen has a new version. 2% of my hard drive is more than I allocate to the recycle bin. I doubt IE will ever delete any. Personally, like the way Netscape used cookies. I made the cookies file read-only & so any unwanted cookies I picked up wouldn't be kept when I closed.

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