me want two cookies
November 15, 2006 12:33 PM   Subscribe

Is it possible to have two instances of IE open, each with its own set of cookies?

I deal with a certain website a lot, in which I need to be logged in as different usernames. I might have to switch back and forth many times per day. When I want to switch usernames, logging out isn't good enough. If I still have the cookie from my last login, I cannot log in as the other identity without deleting my cookies and closing out of the browser.

Yes, the obvious solution would be to use more than one browser. But unfortunately, this site is ActiveX-intensive, so IE is the only browser that works with it (as far as I know). Firefox, normally my browser of choice, definitely does not work with this site (or rather, the site doesn't work with the browser, but it amounts to the same thing).

By the way, it's all legit...the website is, I deal with ads, and sometimes I need to be logged into the publisher interface, sometimes the client interface.

Surely thousands of other people have the same problem. Surely someone more adept than I has forged a solution...
posted by bingo to Computers & Internet (9 answers total)
I'd try virtualization.
posted by machaus at 12:46 PM on November 15, 2006

You can have two Firefox profiles open at once, by setting the environment variable MOZ_NO_REMOTE=1

You can then install the ietab extension in both profiles. Each ie instance will have separate cookies.

Setting MOZ_NO_REMOTE=1 does have some minor drawbacks; google for more information.</a
posted by orthogonality at 1:02 PM on November 15, 2006

Or, you could make a new user in windows and use the Runas command to run IE as that other user.
posted by orthogonality at 1:03 PM on November 15, 2006

Using runas won't quite do it. Windows Explorer and Internet Explorer really are the same thing (just Open My Computer and type a URL in the Address bar). Runas does not work with certain Windows applications, and Explorer is one of them (and that was my roundabout attempt at explaining why).

As machaus suggested, you could run virtual machines, or you can continually log off and back in as alternate users.
posted by rachelpapers at 2:50 PM on November 15, 2006

What orthogonality said. However, the runas will typically prompt you for a password each time you invoke it. There is a way around that, however:
  1. Create a new user in control panel users called IETest, or something similar. Make sure it's not an administrator!
  2. Using notepad, create a text file (somewhere sensible, like c:\scripts\) called ietest.cmd
  3. Paste the following into the ietest.cmd file: runas /user:IETest /savecred "%PROGRAMFILES%\internet explorer\iexplore.exe" Obviously, you'd change IETest if you picked a different username in step one.
  4. Create a shortcut to the ietest.cmd and place it on your desktop or quick launch bar- you can change the icon and title of the shortcut using the right-click properties menu, so it's obvious what it does.
Now, the first time you launch this, you'll get a command window asking you to type in the password for IETest. Once you do, IE will open.

However, thanks to the /savecred switch, you shouldn't see that prompt again: you'll have a quick shortcut to launch IE as the different user, which will maintain its own set of IE folders and cookies/history, as well as security settings.

You can even log in as the IETest user and customize the look and feel of IE, so that the browsers are visibly different when you use them, and you won't have trouble remembering which browser is running under which user account. For example, you could log in as IETest, and go to the registry under HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main, and add the String "WindowTitle" with a value of "TestIE". This would cause the ID window to have "TestIE" instead of "- Microsoft Internet Explorer" appended to the title of every window- but only for that user!
posted by hincandenza at 2:53 PM on November 15, 2006

Under Windows, each login account has its own cookies environment. It's possible to be logged in twice simultaneously, and both could be running IE at the same time. But to switch from one to another you'd have to use "change user" in the "logoff" popup.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 2:54 PM on November 15, 2006

rachelpapers is incorrect: if you do what I describe, then open taskmgr from the start, run line, you'll see that under the Processes tab (you may need to choose view -> columns and check the UserName box) the new iexplore.exe is running as your IETest account, and has its own settings akin to the DefaultUser.

Iexplore is its own process; it is true that explorer, which is the windows shell, is able to host the IE controls. But IE can be run as its own process, and works fine as runas.

On preview: so is SCDB. The whole point of the runas was initially to allow people to log in as lower privileged users, and still launch admin tools when needed without logging off. User switching isn't necessary.
posted by hincandenza at 3:03 PM on November 15, 2006

Rather than FireFox, use another browser based on the IE engine for your second window. I believe Avant Browser is based on the IE engine, and says it is fully compatible with ActiveX controls.
posted by ElfWord at 10:01 AM on November 16, 2006

Not that I'm totally fishing for the checkmark o' excellence, but I can't believe my answer didn't warrant it- it's clear, step-by-step, and it works. Alas!
posted by hincandenza at 10:24 AM on November 17, 2006

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