Do you know what is *really* in your Internet Explorer cache and cookie folder?
I was able to get back into the Internet Explorer general newsgroup tonight for the first time in a week or so, and noted a user or three were confused about what they thought were non-cookie files in their cookie folders.
This... phenomenon... has been around for years. What you are seeing in the cookie folder is not what is actually in there. For example, check out this screen shot of my cookie folder. I'm sure you will see a similar mix of file types on your own system.
Ok, now you've checked out the view... open a CMD window and navigate to your cookie folder. Run the command as displayed in the screen shot below. The /p switch will ensure that only one page of files will display at a time. Hit the enter key to display one page of content at a time.
You will see that the only content reported by the dir /p command are TXT files. Why is this so? You and I both saw many different file types in the cookies folder when using Windows Explorer, not just txt files.
Following is an old quote from Tom Koch of www.insideoe.com fame - he explains it so well, why rewrite it? He is discussing Cache View as it applies to temporary internet files, but the same theory can be applied to what is being seen in the cookies folder.
"...What you see is an illusion created by Windows Explorer. It is designed to show you what we might call the Cache View when you open *any* folder that is part of the Temporary Internet Files. If you are on a machine with multiple user profiles, this prevents you from seeing the contents of another user's cache. Looking at any of them will cause Explorer to display the Cache View only for the current user, i.e., yourself. If you want to verify this for yourself, click Start|Run and type without quotes "winfile". That will open the old 16-bit File Manager from Win3.x, which does not know how to display the Cache View. Be careful though. Do NOT attempt to change anything at all on your computer with File Manager, as it is not aware of long file names. Just use it to peek into the cache folders and you'll see that each folder contains different files.
You might also notice that the Cache View displays all the cookies for the current user. These are not even stored in the Temporary Internet Files folder. They are kept in c:\windows\cookies, or under \windows\users\<name>\cookies. They are included in the Cache View only as a convenience.
Finally, in case you are wondering, the cache folder itself is divided into subfolders in order to make it more efficient. The subfolders are given random names as a security precaution..."
Then there is Gary Terhune's "smoke and mirrors" explanation of cache view: