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· Gone but never forgotten
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The index.dat file, is exactly that, an index into your cookie folder. It is part of the IE architecture and provides faster access to the files. You will also find one in \History and \Temporary Internet Files.
Since they are always in use, they can not be deleted from windows.
But, over time these files grow, even though the files in the folders are deleted.
To completely delete the files and have them rebuilt, restart to DOS and enter

Deltree c:\windows\cookies
Deltree c:\windows\history
Deltree c:\windows\tempor~1

For each of the above, after confirming the folder name, you need to respond with a Y.

Note that the \TIF folder may be under Local Settings, in which case yo would use

Deltree c:\windows\locals~1\tempor~1
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