Ken Colburn of Data Doctors helps out Vern, who writes:
Do cookies have any effect in slowing boot-up, Internet search or creating virus or adware additions?
Web cookies are in reality very small text files that are nothing more than the Internet’s version of the bar code. What can be done with the bar code and how it affects your system is in large part dependent on your actions.
These benign files are too small to impact actual computer performance (4K or less each) so even if you have 1,000 cookies on your system, it would fill up just over half of a floppy disk in space.
Cookies can in fact speed up Internet access for sites that you frequent, especially those that require a login. Cookies are how your desired sites, especially shopping sites, remember settings, favorites and login information that allow them to verify who you are without the normal process.
The alleged dark side of cookies is that companies with cross marketing relationships can share information that you have provided with each other.
If a non-commerce Web site is asking for personal information you may want to think twice before providing exact information.
Just like with the grocery discount cards, you can make up information but still get the content and avoid getting any junk mail sent to your real address.
The possible ties between cookies and adware is the same as with non-adware cookies; if there is a cross relationship, then tracking is shared but adding more adware is not something that just a cookie can do?
Adware is far more insidious than just using cookies, so trying to fight it by deleting cookies is pointless.
Cookies do far more good than bad and are used by a large majority of Web sites every time you visit them. If you want to see how common they are, change your browser setting to prompt you before accepting cookies. (Search for cookie settings in the Help section of your specific browser as each version is different.)
If you delete cookies every time you finish surfing, you will just get new ones the next time you visit the various sites. The only difference is that they can’t tie your last visit to the next visit.
There are a number of programs that are designed to allow you to manage your cookies, but frankly that isn’t where I would be spending my energy and time.
Being tracked on the Internet is a fact of virtual life and avoiding it completely should be left to the faction of the ultra paranoid.
What you really need to do is be very careful who you give any real information to so you can control what is tracked and by whom.
If your real issue is that your system has become very slow in startup and Internet usage, it is likely that you have too many unnecessary programs installed that have all told Windows to activate them during startup.
If you are an active Internet user, it is also likely that you are infected with anything from adware, spyware, worms, and viruses to harmful remote access trojans that steal your valuable bandwidth and slow Internet access down.
If you need tools to check your system for common ailments, visit the Approved Software section of Data Doctors for a list of free and low cost programs that can help!