Product Documentation

Manage cookie folders and other transactional folders

Aug 14, 2017

This topic applies to Profile Management 3.1 and later.

The two procedures, mirroring folders and deleting stale cookies, are related. If you manage the Internet Explorer Cookies folder, use both procedures. This ensures transactional integrity while also reducing profile bloat involving Index.dat and browser cookies.

Mirroring can also be applied more widely because it can help solve similar issues involving any transactional folder (also known as a referential folder), that is a folder containing interdependent files, where one file references others. Mirroring folders allows Profile Management to process a transactional folder and its contents as a single entity, thereby avoiding profile bloat.

For example, consider how Index.dat references cookies while a user browses the Internet. If a user has two Internet Explorer sessions, each on a different server, and they visit different sites in each session, cookies from each site are added to the appropriate server. When the user logs off from the first session (or in the middle of a session, if the active write back feature is configured), the cookies from the second session should replace those from the first session. However, instead they are merged, and the references to the cookies in Index.dat become out of date. Further browsing in new sessions results in repeated merging and a bloated cookie folder.

Mirroring the cookie folder solves the issue by overwriting the cookies with those from the last session each time the user logs off so Index.dat stays up to date.

The cookie folder can become bloated not only when multiple sessions are involved but also when Web sites are revisited and stale cookies build up. The second procedure in this topic solves the latter issue by removing the stale cookies from all profiles.

Settings required for Internet Explorer 10 and later versions for browser compatibility

CONFIGURE: The following folders need to be added under Mirroring:
  • AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\INetCookies (Cookies location for Windows 8.1 platform)
  • AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Cookies (Cookies location for Windows 7 and Windows 8 platforms)
  • AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\WebCache (Cookies database is maintained at Webcache01.dat)
Note:
  • History: Browsing history from Version 5.1 of UPM or older profiles is not persisted.
  • Cookies: Cookies created using Version 5.1 of UPM or older profiles are persisted.
  • Stale cookies: In Version 5.1 & older of UPM, these cookies are not handled and remain as a part of the profile until deleted manually. In Version 5.2 of UPM, when using Internet Explorer 10 and later, these cookies are handled in Protected and Normal modes.

The cookies and browsing history information in versions of Internet Explorer 9 and earlier are not compatible with the cookies and browsing history information in Internet Explorer 10 and later. Users are advised to not move across multiple systems that have different versions of Internet Explorer installed. [#474200]

To mirror folders

Use this procedure for any transactional folders not just those that store cookies.

Caution: Mirroring transactional folders can mean that the "last write wins"; files that are modified in more than one session are overwritten by the last update. This might result in the loss of users' profile changes.
  1. Under Profile Management > File system > Synchronization, double-click the Folders to mirror policy.
  2. Select Enabled.
  3. Add the list of folders, relative to the root folder in the user store, that you want to mirror. Use Enter to separate multiple entries. This policy works recursively, so do not add subfolders to the list. For example, add AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Cookies but not AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Cookies\Low as well.

If Folders to mirror is not configured here, the value from the .ini file is used. If this setting is not configured here or in the .ini file, no folders are mirrored.

For your changes to take effect, run the gpupdate /force command from the command prompt as documented at http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb490983.aspx.

To delete stale cookies

If you are using Internet Explorer 10 or later, this procedure is not required.

  1. Under Profile Management > Advanced Settings, double-click the Process Internet cookie files on logoff policy.
  2. Select Enabled.
  3. Click OK.
If Process Internet cookie files on logoff is not configured here, the value from the .ini file is used. If this setting is not configured here or in the .ini file, no processing of Index.dat takes place.

For your changes to take effect, run the gpupdate /force command from the command prompt as documented at http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb490983.aspx.

Be aware that enabling Process Internet cookie files on logoff increases logoff times. Nevertheless, in order to maintain the integrity of the cookie folder, the supported configuration is to set both Folders to mirror and Process Internet cookie files on logoff, as the following best practice demonstrates:

To process cookie folders

  1. Under Profile Management > File system > Synchronization, double-click the Folders to mirror policy.
  2. Select Enabled.
  3. Add the list of folders, relative to the root folder in the user store, that you want to mirror. Add the folder Cookies for Version 1 profiles and AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Cookies for Version 2 profiles.
  4. Under Profile Management > Advanced Settings, double-click the Process Internet cookie files on logoff policy. This step deletes the stale cookies referenced by Index.dat.
  5. Select Enabled.
  6. Click OK.

For your changes to take effect, run the gpupdate /force command from the command prompt as documented at http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb490983.aspx.