McAfee ships cookie-cleaning software

Ever wondered why certain Web sites recognize your identity as soon you visit them? It’s thanks to a ‘cookie’, a small file containing personal information inserted on your machine by a Web site. Some cookies have the potential to be pretty dangerous, violating user privacy by extracting more sensitive information from your machine than you might like.

Network Associates Inc. Monday released McAfee QuickClean, software which the company claims assists users in deleting cookies, thereby helping maintain their confidentiality on the Web. “Our product (QuickClean) is aimed at the novice user,” said Lisa Smith, senior product manager at Network Associates. She added that the software is intelligent enough not to delete cookies attached to Net bookmarks, or ‘favorites,’ as bookmarks on Microsoft Corp.’s Internet Explorer Web browser are known.

Not restricted to cookies alone, QuickClean promises “once-click” deletion of other Internet clutter that accumulates on a machine, according to Network Associates. “QuickClean deletes Internet cache, downloaded files, ActiveX plug-ins and temporary files. That gives a user more power to control the amount of space taken up by Internet files on the hard disk,” Smith said.

QuickClean also deletes whole software programs residing on a hard disk, without troubling shared or critical files. This feature originates from McAfee UnInstaller, an earlier McAfee software product designed to delete software programs from a hard disk. QuickClean is a more Internet-savvy version of UnInstaller, according to Smith. “We needed to integrate Internet cleanup features into UnInstaller, so we came up with QuickClean,” she said.

For users seeking regular hard disk cleanups, the ability to schedule such cleanups could be a useful feature. “QuickClean allows a user to schedule the deletion of mails from the Sent and Trash mailboxes in (Microsoft) Outlook,” Smith said. In the same way, other cleanups of the Net cache, ActiveX controls and downloaded files can be scheduled, she added.

QuickClean will be a good add-on to Microsoft’s recently released operating system, Windows Me, said Smith. Along with operating system’s PC Health and rollback features, “the automatic cookie deletion and file shredding (by QuickClean) promises the complete deletion of (a user’s) Internet trail,” she said.

QuickClean was developed with the intention of creating an anonymous user, both on the Internet and on a network, Smith said.

Costing US$29, QuickClean is compatible with Windows Me, 95, 98 and 2000.

McAfee, based in Santa Clara, Calif., can be reached at