I can't stay logged in to any websites
November 17, 2009 6:17 PM   Subscribe

Suddenly today, I can't stay logged into anything - Google, Facebook, Metafilter, Twitter, Flickr, etc. I've run through a bunch of possibilities, but could the power cutting out last night have done something?

I'm using Firefox, and I've already uninstalled and reinstalled it. Privacy settings allow cookies and I don't have it set to clear history when closing a window. And obviously I've tried many times to log into different sites, making sure I click "remember me." I've never had this problem before today. Last night the power went out for about 20 seconds and my computer shut down, but all was otherwise fine this morning. I've restarted and it's in regular (not safe) mode. Any ideas?
posted by peep to Computers & Internet (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I would suggest trying a completely different browser such as IE or Opera to try to isolate the problem, since Firefox might have left scraps of old settings in the registry. This will pin down whether it's in the network or in the software. For the heck of it you can also check whatsmyip.org to see if the ISP side of the network is going down or not. You may also want to post about the make/models of any routers and modems between you and the ISP.
posted by crapmatic at 6:27 PM on November 17, 2009

(also let us know whether you're using any anti-virus programs like Norton, ZoneAlarm, etc)
posted by crapmatic at 6:29 PM on November 17, 2009

If you have a router or firewall you might want to cycle the power on those and then restart your PC.
posted by tresbizzare at 6:37 PM on November 17, 2009

Response by poster: I just reset the router, no luck. I'm downloading Opera now. I'm using SuperAntiSpyware.
posted by peep at 7:08 PM on November 17, 2009

Response by poster: Well, IE lets me stay logged in.
posted by peep at 7:10 PM on November 17, 2009

Best answer: Your cookies database or the folder it's in is either corrupt or locked. Trash your Firefox profile folder and start again.
posted by rokusan at 7:23 PM on November 17, 2009 [1 favorite]

Cookies are stored in a sqlite database (cookies.sqlite), try deleting this and its journal file, it is possibly damaged. Corrupt files is a common side-effect of power outages.

I am not sure where you would find this on Windows, but probably in something like Documents and Settings/(Mozilla or Firefox)/... There will be a default profile there with a funny name, and it should be inside there.

If that fails, just nuke the whole thing as rokusan suggests. You will lose bookmarks and such.
posted by cj_ at 8:03 PM on November 17, 2009

Response by poster: I ran the Firefox profile manager and deleted the default profile (not the folder manually) and created a new profile. It worked! Lost everything, of course, but I don't care! Thanks, rokusan!
posted by peep at 8:08 PM on November 17, 2009

For future instances like this, if you use Xmarks, you can save all of your bookmarks. I'm now using a combination of Xmarks and Febe (Firefox Environment Backup Extension) along with Dropbox to back up just about every aspect of my browser offsite in case of major failure. Plus, because of my work I use several different computers in any given week, this way I can keep everything the same across all of them without tedious updating!
posted by fenriq at 11:29 PM on November 17, 2009

For anyone Googling this: deleting your entire profile is definitely the wrong way to fix this. Instead:
1. Close Firefox
2. Delete the files cookies.sqlite cookies.sqlite-journal from your profile folder
3. Start firefox

Only if that fails try a new profile. You don't have to delete anything, you can just create a new one instead: start Firefox with the -ProfileManager switch and click "new profile" (or see here). You can move across your data afterwards.
posted by devnull at 3:50 AM on November 18, 2009 [1 favorite]

Sure. Trash, move, copy.... as long as your Firefox isn't using the corrupt profile, you're happy. Yes, it's nice to try putting your old data back after you get it working again, but that's just gravy, and a lot of the time it's helpful to start afresh anyway.

Cookies was the obvious culprit in this case (saved passwords not sticking) but I have fixed much, much Firefox flakiness (and a lot of slowdown) over the years by trashing (moving, making-a-new, whatever) profile folder. It seems especially common after a version update.
posted by rokusan at 9:16 AM on November 18, 2009

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