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PHP Session ID Failing - Possibly Linked to MSIE 8 "InPrivacy" and cookies


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Hi All,


first of all.  Sorry for signing up to the site and then immediately asking for help.  I hate doing it but always seems to be the way people get involved with forums these days and it seems I am no different...  So thank you in advance if you are kind enough to answer!


Among many personal flaws, my issue is a technical one regarding the ability to retain session variables.  Unfortunately whilst the website itself is not complicated, the problem is not as simple as just running session_start(); and letting it get on and do its own thing.


So the problem exists around a relatively simple contact form and the basic Turing test that it uses to prove the user is human.  The script adds a value to the $_SESSION variable and then on the next page load, tests to see if the variable is still there.  As per this little function:


function cookiesEnabled()
    if ($_SESSION['cookiesEnabledTest'])
        $_SESSION['cookiesEnabled'] = true;
        $_SESSION['cookiesEnabledTest'] = true;


Now for what must be 95% of all users, the variable is still there, proving the the session is being maintained as the user navigates the site.  Unfortunately a small group of computers appear to be having difficulties with this for a not too clear reason.


The computers have varying browser user agents indicating that they are all (so far) using one of the following:




MSIE 7 in what appears to be MSIE 6 compatibility mode


Now in testing, I can't get MSIE 8 or MSIE 7 to produce the same effect, with exception to MSIE 8 in "InPrivate" browsing mode.  In this mode it is easy to see that there is no cookie txt file being created and thus no way of the browser to pass back the session id on the next page load.


I can't think of any detail that I have missed out, but if there is anything I have left unclear, please let me know!


Thanks again!



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Hi All,


thought I should update this with a little more information...


I managed to get hold of one of the machines that was experiencing the problem.  It was a Windows 7 machine with MSIE 8 installed, along with other crap like Norton 360.  I disabled Norton and the problem stuck around.  I then downloaded and used Firefox and the problem went away.  Even after I restarted Norton, Firefox would still work...


I have also managed to get a test machine to have the same problem - this time on Windows XP and IE8, although this same test machine did not have the problem yesterday.


The Windows 7 machine is running MSIE 8.0.7600.16385

The Windows XP machine is running MSIE 8.0.6001.18702


If anyone has any ideas or suggestions, they would be greatly appreciated!



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