Cookies & Similar Technologies
We also use web beacons to help deliver cookies and compile analytics. These may include third-party web beacons, which are prohibited from collecting your personal information.
You have a variety of tools to control cookies and similar technologies, including:
- Browser controls to block and delete cookies;
- Advertising controls, including Microsoft's controls at http://choice.live.com/advertisementchoice/, to opt out of receiving behaviorally targeted ads; and
- Controls from some analytics providers to opt out of data collection in web beacons.
Most Microsoft web sites use "cookies," which are small text files placed on your hard disk by a web server. Cookies contain text that can be read by a web server in the domain that issued the cookie to you. That text often consists of a string of numbers and letters that uniquely identifies your computer, but may contain other information as well.
Here is an example of the text stored in a cookie that Microsoft might place on your hard disk when you visit one of our web sites: E3732CA7E319442F97EA48A170C99801
- Storing your Preferences and Settings. If you enter your city or postal code to get local news or weather information on a Microsoft site, we may store that city or postal code in a cookie so that you will see the relevant local information when you return to the site. This can save you time by eliminating the need to repeatedly enter the same information every time you visit the site.
Some of the cookies we commonly use are listed in the following chart. This list is not exhaustive, but it is intended to illustrate some of the reasons we set cookies. If you visit one of our web sites, the site may set some or all of the following cookies:
Cookie name Description
MUID Identifies unique browsers to Microsoft sites. It is used for advertising, site analytics and other operational purposes.
ANON Contains the ANID, a unique identifier used to help identify which ads a user may like. It is also used to preserve a user's choice to opt out of behaviorally targeted ads from Microsoft, if the user has chosen to associate the opt-out with his or her Windows Live ID.
CC Contains a country code as determined by reverse IP address lookup.
Windows Live ID authentication Authentication cookies (e.g., RPSTAuth, MSNRPSAuth, KievRPSAuth) used when a user signs in with a Windows Live ID.
NAP Contains an encrypted version of the user's country, ZIP code, age, gender, language and occupation, if known, based on the user's Windows Live profile.
MH Appears on co-branded sites where Microsoft is partnering with an advertiser, this cookie identifies the advertiser so the right ad is selected.
ACH01 Maintains information about which ad and where the user clicked on the ad.
TOptOut Indicates that the user has indicated he or she does not want to receive behaviorally targeted ads delivered by Microsoft.
In addition to the cookies Microsoft may set when you visit our web sites, third parties may also set certain cookies on your hard drive when you visit Microsoft sites. In some cases, that is because we have hired the third party to provide certain services on our behalf, such as site analytics. In other cases, it is because our web pages contain content or ads from third parties, such as videos, news content or ads delivered by other ad networks. Because your browser connects to those third parties' web servers to retrieve that content, those third parties are able to set or read their own cookies on your hard drive.
How to Control Cookies
- Browser Controls to Block Cookies. Most web browsers automatically accept cookies, but you can usually modify your browser setting to block cookies.
For example, in Internet Explorer 9, you may block cookies by taking the following steps:
1. Click "Tools" and then select "Internet Options"
2. Click the "Privacy" tab at the top of the window
3. Move the slider up or down to indicate the rules you want to apply for blocking cookies
Instructions for blocking cookies in other browsers are available at http://www.allaboutcookies.org/manage-cookies/.
Please be aware that if you choose to block cookies, you may not be able to sign in or use other interactive features of Microsoft sites and services that depend on cookies, and some advertising preferences that are dependent on cookies may not be able to be respected.
- Browser Controls to Delete Cookies. If you accept cookies, you can delete them later.
For example, in Internet Explorer 9, you may delete cookies by taking the following steps:
1. Click "Tools" and then select "Internet Options"
2. On the "General" tab, under "Browsing History," click the "Delete" button
3. On the pop-up, select the box next to "Cookies"
4. Click the "Delete" button
Instructions for deleting cookies in other browsers are available at http://www.allaboutcookies.org/manage-cookies/.
Please be aware that if you choose to delete cookies, any settings and preferences controlled by those cookies, including advertising preferences, will be deleted and may need to be recreated.
- Browser Controls for "Do Not Track" and Tracking Protection. Some newer browsers have incorporated "Do Not Track" features. Most of these features, when turned on, send a signal or preference to the web sites you visit indicating that you do not wish to be tracked. Those sites may continue to engage in activities you might view as tracking even though you have expressed this preference, depending on the sites' privacy practices.
Internet Explorer 9 has a feature called Tracking Protection that helps prevent the web sites you go to from automatically sending details about your visit to third-party content providers. When you add a Tracking Protection List, Internet Explorer will block third-party content, including cookies, from any site that is listed as a site to be blocked. By limiting calls to these sites, Internet Explorer will limit the information these third-party sites can collect about you.
And when you have a Tracking Protection List enabled, Internet Explorer will send a Do Not Track signal or preference to the web sites you visit. For more information about Tracking Protection Lists and how to find them, please see the Internet Explorer privacy statement or Internet Explorer Help.
These pages include:
o In Europe, your online choices: http://www.youronlinechoices.com/
o In the US, Digital Advertising Alliance (DAA) Consumer Choice Page: http://www.aboutads.info/choices/ or http://www.networkadvertising.org/managing/opt_out.asp
Individual advertising companies may also offer their own opt-out capabilities plus more advanced advertising choices. For instance, Microsoft's advertising preference and opt-out controls are available at http://choice.live.com/advertisementchoice/.
Please note that opting out does not mean that you will stop getting ads or see fewer ads; however, if you do opt out, the ads that you receive will no longer be behaviorally targeted. In addition, opting out does not stop information from going to our servers, but it does stop our creation or updating of profiles that might be used for behavioral advertising.
Our Use of Web Beacons
Microsoft web pages may contain electronic images known as web beacons - sometimes called single-pixel gifs - that may be used to help deliver cookies on our sites, let us count users who have visited those pages and deliver co-branded services. We may include web beacons in our promotional e-mail messages or newsletters to determine whether messages have been opened and acted upon.
We may also work with other companies that advertise on Microsoft sites to place web beacons on their sites or in their advertisements to let us develop statistics on how often clicking on an advertisement on a Microsoft site results in a purchase or other action on the advertiser's site.
Finally, Microsoft sites may contain web beacons from third parties to help us compile aggregated statistics regarding the effectiveness of our promotional campaigns or other web site operations. These web beacons may allow the third parties to set or read a cookie on your computer. We prohibit third parties from using web beacons on our sites to collect or access your personal information. Nevertheless, you may be able to opt out from data collection or use by these third-party analytics companies by clicking the links for each of the following analytics providers:
- Omniture (Adobe): http://www.d1.sc.omtrdc.net/optout.html
- Nielsen: http://www.nielsen-online.com/corp.jsp?section=leg_prs&nav=1#Optoutchoices
- Coremetrics: http://www.coremetrics.com/company/privacy.php#optout
- Visible Measures: http://corp.visiblemeasures.com/viewer-settings
- Google Analytics: http://tools.google.com/dlpage/gaoptout (requires you to install a browser add-on)
Other Similar Technologies
In addition to standard cookies and web beacons, web sites can use other technologies to store and read data files on your computer. This may be done to maintain your preferences or to improve speed and performance by storing certain files locally.
But, like standard cookies, it can also be used to store a unique identifier for your computer, which can then be used to track behavior. These technologies include Local Shared Objects (or "Flash cookies") and Silverlight Application Storage.
- Local Shared Objects or "Flash cookies." Web sites that use Adobe Flash technologies may use Local Shared Objects or "Flash cookies" to store data on your computer. Note that the ability to clear Flash cookies may or may not be controlled by your browser setting for standard cookies as that may vary by browser. To manage or block Flash cookies, go to http://www.macromedia.com/support/documentation/en/flashplayer/help/settings_manager.html
- Silverlight Application Storage. Web sites or applications that use Microsoft Silverlight technology also have the ability to store data by using Silverlight Application Storage. To learn how to manage or block such storage, visit Silverlight.