Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

All too easy

Bah, I accidently wiped all of my cookies today. One of Firefox’s good features is its ease of clearing all tracking features – cookies, history, cache, passwords, form information and download history – but sometimes I think it’s all too easy.
What I mean is that you click the ‘Clear’ button for Cookies, and wham, they’re gone. The thing is, I use those cookies for remembering login details and names when entering form details. I’d actually meant to click ‘Stored Cookies…’, the button underneath it, to browse through the cookies I had stored, with the intention of pruning and blocking those sites which might track usage habits. Firefox and Mozilla both make this easy as there’s a simple checkbox that lets you also block sites when you delete their cookies.
But, I happened to mis-click, and then all my cookies disappeared. It would have been nice if a dialog popped up asking me if I was sure I wanted to do that. Because I didn’t.
On a somewhat related note, SpywareBlaster 3.1 was released a few days ago. In the past I haven’t used this program, favoruring the protection offered by Spybot S&D (mostly because it’s one less program to install) but this product is actually pretty good and goes much further than Spybot does. It includes a nice tool that automatically adds the domains of dodgy sites to your Restricted Sites in IE (which stops them from running ActiveX controls or storing/accessing cookies), and can add them to the list of sites which cannot set cookies in Firefox too. Updates also seem to be more frequent than Spybot so it’s well worth downloading.


  1. A confirmation dialog for cookie removal was suggested in bug 210173 but it was shot down.

  2. By strange coincidence, I’ve actually just done exactly the same thing… annoying, isn’t it?!

  3. Interesting that a confirmation dialog was shot down because it might annoy the user. IMO, when faced with a destructive decision like that a confirm dialog is prudent. Here’s how Safari does it
    It might be worth reopening the bug …

  4. I had that happen to me many times before too. Accidentally clicked the clear button.
    I disagree with what was said by the reviewers. Losing my cookies is catastrophic enough an incident that it should be brought clearly to my attention what I’m doing. My loss in browsing productivity is severe enough when I have to re-login to so many forums and re-enter my details at so many blogs.

  5. I have a packet of McVities chocolate digestives if that would help? ;-0))