Google search settings won't stick

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Reader Amanda Pearson struggles with a forgetful Google. She writes:

When I use Google’s Web site to search for something, it shows me only 10 results per page. I prefer to see 100 results on a page. Yet I’ve changed Google’s search settings preferences many times and I continue to see just the 10 results. Why is this?

If I were the betting sort, I’d say that the Google Instant option is enabled within your preferences. To find out, go to, click the Search Settings link at the top-right of your browser window, and in the Preferences page that appears, look in the Google Instant area near the bottom of the page. If Use Google Instant is enabled, enable the Do Not Use Google Instant option instead and then click the Save Preferences button at the bottom of the page. Click the Search Settings link again and this time choose a higher number from the Number of Results pop-up menu. Again, click Save Preferences. Now when you search Google you should see the number of results you’ve asked for rather than the measly 10 that appear when you’ve enabled Google Instant.

If the Google Instant setting isn’t the source of your problem, there are a couple of other things that could be causing it. Your browser may be unable to save your settings because you’ve chosen to accept no cookies. Your Google preference settings are stored in a cookie and if you’ve configured your browser to reject cookies, the settings won’t stick.

Another possibility is that you have some corrupt browser files gumming up the works. The first step for dealing with that is clearing your browser’s cache. You do this in Safari by choosing Empty Cache from the Safari menu. In Firefox, click the Network tab in the Advanced preference and click the Clear Now button in the Offline Storage area.

If that doesn’t do the trick, you may have a corrupt browser cookie. Both Safari and Firefox provides ways to clear all cookies. You do this within Safari’s Security preference and Firefox’s Privacy preference. Each also allows you to delete specific cookies. Deleting just those cookies associated with Google may be the better way to go so you don’t lose all your saved settings for other Web sites.

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