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Mike WallerFlag for United States of America

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storing unique ID on user's machines

I know on some sites even with EE that even though I delete my cookies, my login information still gets populated in the login fields.  Is that information being stored in something other than cookies and is there a way to store a single ID string on a visitor's machine other than a cookie when a user visits a site?  Something that would work across all the major browsers and where they user is not entering in field data?  in the registry perhaps or would that require an Active X action?

How about storing in php session versus storing in cookie?

I also host my sites and control the server session.

Any ideas experts?
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yes, but what if the user deletes his cookies from his browser?  then that ID is lost.  What about keeping the browser session open on that visitor?
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that's the rub though .. I don't want the visitor to log in.
If you don't persist the token and the user deletes her cookies, how will you re-evaluate the user?

Somehow, somewhere, you'll have to persist the value, methinks.
yes, that's why I'm hoping there's a better solution than the cookie.
Session variables?
Database?

There isn't much else...
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good point.  I could store both the ip from the user's machine and drop a cookie and store that unique id on the server.  so everytime the user comes to the site, I do two things..

1) verify the cookie still exists
2) verify that the ip hasn't changed

If the ip hasn't changed but the cookie was removed, I can re-attached the cookie based on the unique ip.  If the ip was changed (dhcp), then update the record in the db for both the cookie data and ip data.

If both cookie was removed and ip changed, I'm screwed :)
You cannot get around the fact that somewhere the user has logged into a website.

Whether or not it is your site is the issue: why are you set against it?
Badotz, I'm not following.  I don't mind the user logging into my site and I'll encourage it.  If the user does not create a profile prior to leaving the site I want to make sure when they return they are seeing what they saw when they first arrived.  make sense?
What you desire makes sense, but what you're doing does not. If the user leaves without identifying herself to you, how can you identify her when she returns?

This is not a monologue, it is a dialogue. Betty leaves something with you and from that you can always identify her.

Sorry, but what isn't clear?
I understand your point. However, initially I'll need to identify with her machine.  Finding out it's Betty at the keyboard is of course the goal.
Ask for her token (or user id/pwd). Check against the database. Problem solved.
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@Badotz, checking against the database will resolve the token.  COwebmaster dosen't want the user to have to type anything, and is concerned about identifying them if their IP changes or they delete their cookies.  Using both a cookie and the IP address creates redundancy, if the user changes IP or deletes cookies, they can still be identified by the other method.  Both token and IP would have to be stored in a database, because either might change.
You're relying on unreliables. The IP might change. The cookie might be deleted.

Perhaps your website offers support for a retinal scanner or fingerprint detector, or facial recognition - any of which could improve reliability.

The fact that your storing something in a database doesn't make if foolproof, unique or correct. How can you guarantee identification without knowing something permanent about Betty? Something private that only she knows?
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thanks!
No worries - glad to help.