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Cookie Crusher
by Donna Gorrell

Cookie Crusher (version 2.5d) is a software program designed to manage Internet cookies while you browse. To use Cookie Crusher you must use Windows 95/98 or NT and a 32 bit version of Netscape3 or higher, IE4 or higher, or Opera2 or higher.

In order for Cookie Crusher to work, you must have your browser (either Netscape or IE) set to display a warning before a cookie is accepted. Instructions for each browser version is given in the online manual in clear, detailed steps. Cookie Crusher adds an icon (initially it’s a light bulb) to the system tray area of the taskbar. During your online session this icon will change—it becomes a check mark when a cookie is accepted; a bull’s eye when one is rejected. Right clicking the icon displays a pop-up menu with several choices. Left clicking brings up the main display window.

Several tabs are shown: Filters Tab; Sessions Tab; Cookies Tab; Configuration Tab; and Settings Tab. Each of these areas are explained thoroughly in the online manual, even though most of the fields will be easily understood by the average user.

The Filter Tab shows two windows or lists and cookies will automatically be accepted or rejected depending upon into which list you place the web server names. Sometimes it is beneficial to accept a cookie. If you log in at a website with a user name and password, the cookie that is written allows you to return to that site repeatedly without reentering your private information. This can be useful if you make purchases at a particular site (such as Amazon.com) or if you pay a subscriber fee for special privileges (such as Ancestry.com). You may add or remove sites, change status or use wildcards at any time.

During your online session, Cookie Crusher will pop up a Cookie Alert Window with 4 buttons: Accept (one time), Reject (one time), Always (accept and then place the server’s name on the accepted list), Never (accept and then place the server’s name on the reject list). A cookie classification is also displayed. Advertisement, Shopping Cart, Site Tracking, and Unknown are the 4 categories. An annoying "ding" (or whatever sound you’ve assigned your computer to play for question dialog boxes) is heard each time Cookie Crusher opens the Alert Window or automatically rejects a cookie. This can be turned off and after rejecting 125 cookies from one site within half an hour, I was very grateful to be able to surf in silence! The downside is that while Cookie Crusher is running, all question dialog boxes will also be silent.

The Configuration Tab lets you set the program’s start—manually, upon boot up, or when your browser starts. I have the program run in conjunction with Netscape. It opens when Netscape is started and closes when Netscape is shut down.

The Sessions Tab shows the cookies that Cookie Crusher has dealt with during the Web session. Listed are the server name, action (accept or reject) category, name, value, expiration, and time cookie was accepted or rejected. This list can be saved by clicking on the "Save Session" button and then choosing a place to save the file. Once saved, the file can be opened by any text editor.
The Cookies Tab displays the list of cookies currently on your computer. Choose the radio button for the browser that you use and delete any cookies from the list that you no longer want. Click the Refresh button and a new list will be displayed.

The Settings Tab is used if you are not using the standard version of browsers. I left the settings as they were and suggest that you do the same.

The program does every thing that it promises, is easy to set up and use, and gives me the control I desire. The cost for downloading is $15, if you want the program on a floppy disk, the charge is $20. Order by calling NorthStar Solutions (1-800-699-6395) Monday though Friday, 9AM - 7PM CST. The code for single user license on floppy is 3829. For more information and to download the program, go to: http://www.zdnet.com/downloads/stories/info/0,,000DUV,.html

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MVPCUG 2002
This page was last updated on:
February 2003