From time to time we get enquiries from forum users reporting login problems of one kind or another. Very often, it's a problem with the cookie for the forum.
What is a cookie? It's a small text file which a site may pass to your web browser to be saved automatically on your computer's hard drive, storing information about your interactions which is then retrieved by the site when you next visit. Most interactive sites rely on them in one way or another. (In the case of the BE forum, the information's used to remember who you are so that you don't have to log in every time you visit.)
However, cookies sometimes get "broken" - for one reason or another, the text may be written to your hard drive incompletely, or overwritten wrongly. When that happens, the cookie needs to be deleted so that it can be replaced by a fresh one on a future visit to the site.
How you do that depends on what browser you're using:
Internet Explorer 7/8
A. In Windows XP/Windows 7
A1. Start Internet Explorer. Make sure you're NOT viewing British Expat!
A2. Open the "Tools" menu (on the right-hand side) and choose "Internet Options". Select the "General" tab, if it isn't already selected.
A3. Click on the "Settings" button in the Browsing history section. A new panel should open titled "Temporary Internet Files and History Settings".
A4. Click on the "View Files" button. A new window should open with a list of files.
A5. In the panel where all the files are listed, click on "Name" at the top to sort all the files by name.
A6. If you scroll down the list, you should find several with a name beginning: "cookie:[your name]@..." Find all the ones which have britishexpat.com in them, and delete them (right-click and choose delete, or highlight and hit the delete button).
In Windows Vista
Windows Vista handles cookies in a different way sometimes, so there are two possible procedures to follow.
First try the procedure as for WinXP. If that doesn't work, then try this:
B1. Click on the Start button, then open the Control Panel.
B2. Choose Appearance and Personalisation. Under the heading "Folder Options", click on the "Show hidden files and folders" link.
B3. In the options panel that opens, click the "Show hidden files and folders" radio button and untick the "Hide protected operating system files" box, then hit OK.
B4. In the navigation window, navigate to Computer -> the drive where you have Windows installed (normally C: ) -> Users -> [Your computer user name] -> AppData -> Roaming -> Microsoft -> Windows -> Cookies -> Low
B5. Find and delete anything that has britishexpat.com in its name.
B6. If you're uncomfortable with the idea of having hidden and system files on view, return to the Control Panel and reverse the changes in Step B3.
C1. Start Firefox. Make sure you're NOT viewing British Expat!
C2. Depending on your operating system:
C2a. Open the Tools menu and choose "Options..."
Mac OS X users
C2b. Open the Firefox menu and choose "Preferences..."
C2c. Open the Edit menu and choose "Preferences..."
C3. Click on the "Privacy" tab.
C4. Click on the "Show Cookies..." button (or the "remove individual cookies link" in more recent Windows and Mac versions of FF).
C5. Find and highlight the britishexpat.com folder, then hit the "Remove cookies" button. (DON'T hit the "Remove All Cookies" button, or you'll lose the data for all the other sites you've visited too.)
Most of our visitors use one or other of the above combinations - if anyone uses a different one or gets stuck, please post here!