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User Login Problems

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User Login Problems
I can't seem to figure out what I can do to change the php login to set a permanent cookie that is recognized by the server whenever a visitor returns. I've set the user preferences to use cookies, and the session length to be 1500. I can see a cookie on my computer set by Links SQL (long after the time I last logged in) with my sid and some other data, but I still get asked to login every time I visit (??).

A more serious problem though, is that a small percentage of my visitors can't even login. They are repeatedly asked to login (even though their session is on the server and a cookie has been set - I've had them check their browser settings and cookies folder) whenever they try and view resources only registered members can access.

I've had a go at editing the Authenticate.inc.php and User.inc.php files to set cookies, retrieve cookies and whatever else I could think of - but I can't seem to get anything to work!

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.