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PostPosted: September 22, 2004 10:35 AM    Post subject: browser settings Reply with quote

a lot of the problems i get requests for help with can be prevented by making the proper settings for your browser's "cache" and "cookies". the "cache" is simply a place where your browser stores things that it thinks it may need to find again quickly (like web pages, images, etc.) and "cookies" are small text files that a website stores on your computer temporarily to help keep track of where you've been, if you're logged in, what you've seen, etc...

cache settings first:

when you click a link (or type an address into your browser's address bar), you're requesting a resource from a web server; most often, the resource is a web page. when you do this, your browser makes a local copy of that web page (and all its associated files, like images) in its cache; then, if you click that link (or use your browser's "back" button, or otherwise request that same page) again, the default setting is for the browser to look in its cache, and if it finds the page there, it shows you that one.

normally, this setting is fine; it saves time, because it's quicker to load a web page and its associated files from your local machine than it is to request those same files from a remote web server. but on a site like this, where pages change frequently based on user input, it can cause problems, because when you return to any particular page that you've already visited, the browser will show you the version that you last saw, regardless of whether or not the page has changed since the last time you saw it. if this happens, you may miss new posts, or you may appear to be logged in when you're really not, or you may not be able to post because the page doesn't recognize that you're logged in, or you may see a "page not found" error repeatedly, etc., etc., etc...

as i said, a lot of these problems can be prevented by making the proper settings in your browser; here's a step-by-step guide to doing that (i'm assuming you're using Internet Explorer here; Netscape will have a similar set of settings, but the dialogs will be different. if you're using Netscape, look in the online help for "cache", and it will tell you how to do the same thing):

at the top of the browser window, you'll see the names "File", "Edit", "View", and so on. these are menus; one of them will be "Tools":
  1. select "Internet Options..." from the "Tools" menu
  2. click on "Settings..." under "Temporary Internet files"
  3. select "Every visit to the page" under "Check for newer versions of stored pages"
  4. click OK to close the "Settings..." dialog box (this will return you to the "Internet Options" dialog box)
  5. click "Delete files..." (also under "Temporary Internet files")
  6. select "Delete all offline content" in the dialog box that pops up, then click OK
  7. close Internet Explorer, then relaunch it and come back to the site
  8. when you log in, make sure that "Log me on automatically each visit" is checked before you click "Log in"

and you should be all set.

cookies next:

all you really need to know about cookies for this site is that generally you want to allow your browser to accept "first-party" and "session" cookies ("first-party" means that the cookie you're accepting is coming from the site you're on - as opposed to "third-party" cookies, which may come from a site other than the one you're on. for instance, some sites will allow their advertisers to place cookies on their visitor's machines - "session" cookies are cookies that will be deleted as soon as you close your browser).

in the screen shot below (from internet explorer 6), you can see the dialog box you need to get to, and the settings you'll want to have there: i believe that "accept" is the default choice under "first-party cookies", but if it isn't, you should make sure it's checked. "block" is the default setting under "third party cookies", and that's fine to leave that as is.

"always allow session cookies" is off by default, so you should check that as shown. (the "override automatic cookie handling" box checks itself when you open this dialog box.) to get to this screen, go to your "tools" menu and choose "internet options", then select the "privacy" tab, and click the "advanced" button. once you've made your adjustments, click ok to close the advanced privacy settings dialog, click "apply" in the internet options dialog, then click "ok" to close that.


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