The battle of Freeserve Webmail

Posted on 29 March 2003 in Internet (No comments)

In general the IT support people at ISPs aren't really geared up for people who know more than a nats crotchet about PCs. I say in general, because I once got an intelligent and useful bit of help from one ISP, so it can happen.

So when my response to my problem with Freeserve's webmail arrived, I approached it with trepidation. Thankfully I was not disappointed.

And the answer from the Freeserve jury is...

So I read the email:

"The problem you are having is due to a cookie on your pc that tells fsmail that you are still logged into the service (this is left because you did not press the log out button on the top left of the fsmail screen when you previously used it), however the fsmail server has timed out the previous connection, this leads to a session invalid error each time you try to log into the service or, if you can log in it will fail when you try and perform an action such as deleting spam mail."

I found this rather amusing as I always try to log out of their webmail, and am usually hit by that exciting error message:

"Session invalid. This message occurs because you have either previously logged out or your session has automatically timed out. Please click here to login."

I could tell this was going to be a good one.

The email (looked like a standard email to me) continued:

"To fix this problem you simply need to delete all cookies on your pc, if you require assistance in deleting your cookies please reply to this mail with your operating system version and the version of Internet Explorer, and will will be able to advise you on the correct procedure to do this."

I was almost tempted to email back and say something along the lines of "It says Opera 6.1 on Linux. What version of Internet Explorer is this? I'm confused." but that would be taking the mick and I never do that!

So despite the highly dubious advice of telling people to remove all their cookies (yay, even the ones that automatically log me into sites that I've long forgotten the password for!), I decided to follow their advice to the letter. Well it's a laugh isn't it?

Here goes!

So here goes. Being a Linux nut, I decided to make life easier for the support people, I decide to use my Windows running PC at work. Not wanting to kill all my cookies in my default browser (currently Opera 7 on Windows), I opted for Internet Explorer (a browser they might just have heard of) having first checked that no Freeserve cookies existed on my system.

The following steps went like this:

  1. open Internet Explorer 6 and goto the preferences box.
  2. delete all cookies using the convient 'Delete All Cookies' option.
  3. goto Freeserve webmail's homepage.
  4. attempt to login.
  5. Recieve error message. Oh look. "Session invalid. This message occurs because you have either previously logged out or your session has automatically timed out. Please click here to login."

Not a cookie anywhere to be seen on Internet Explorer, and still it doesn't work! I'll go back to banging my head on a brick wall and wait with interest to see what words of wisdom Freeserve bounce at me next.

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