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Clean up your act and sort out your history

AJ+. column

This column's distrust of cookies is often poo-poohed by AJ staff, despite the fact that early this year the EC is likely to criminalise their covert use and despite the fact that clever people were stealing them to use on 'secure'Microsoft Passport Wallet-friendly servers. You did this via Hotmail. That wonderful newsletter The Register at www. theregister. co. uk points you to the site of Marc Slemko, the bloke responsible for this.OK, it is at alive. znep. com/~marcs/passport/.So when a reader recently e-mailed me asking why the whole world knew which sites she had been visiting, I was ready with the 'I told you so' line.

Actually, that very day, I was pondering why my browser kept on opening up at the Microsoft advertising site offering Spy-in-the-Box Windows XP and the too-new version 6 of Internet Explorer about both of which I am deeply uninterested. The puzzle here was that I have Internet Explorer set to open on a blank page. Maybe, under the hypnotic effect of XP hype, I had got up in the night and altered my browser settings. I actually checked.No I had not.

Doing a computer shutdown and startup wiped this scary feature and so, of course, there is no proof that it ever existed. Except that it has been happening from time to time ever since.

So if you have had the same experience, do send me an e-mail - anonymity is guaranteed.Oh and the reader? I directed her to the History button.Clicking on it revealed all the sites she had visited since the computer had done its last big-time crash. You can reduce the number of days for which History holds on to this only very occasionally useful information. Click on Tools in the top toolbar, then Internet Options and then reduce the number of days in the History box to, say, zero. There is also a Clear History button. And maybe you should also delete giveaway files by clicking appropriate buttons in the Temporary Internet box just above the History box.

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