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Got Problems?

Note: This page is pretty out of date and I'll just refer you to the Problems page for Freecell. It's a lot more up-to-date. But I'll keep the old info here just for grins.

Older problems info

This section discusses some of the idiosyncrasies that have been reported and suggests possible solutions or workarounds. If you don't find the solution to your problem here, read the next section and consider reporting the bug to us.

First off, it when visiting for the first time, be patient. It may take a full minute or more the first time you visit to load the code over a slow modem. If you have waited for over two minutes and have not seen the Login window appear, here are some things to try. Sorry if some of them sound an awful lot like voodoo it's sometimes a dicey proposition getting browsers to behave properly!

  • Try closing your browser, starting it again, and returning to the Play page. It seems sometimes browsers get confused during the initial code download. Make sure you remember how to get back before leaving!
  • If you've been able to play, but suddenly can't anymore, try the Cache Clear operation. This fixes 95% of such problems. If you're running Netscape, you might try simply holding down the Shift key and clicking the Netscape Reload button at the same time. Or in Internet Explorer, hold down the Ctrl key and hit the F5 key.
  • Another thing that can cause the game to not work properly or to quit working is installing anti-virus software or firewall software. Sometimes this software gets a little overly paranoid and tries to block some of the legitimate things that the game needs to do to function. Click here for more suggestions on anti-virus and firewall software.
  • Freecell Premium member and still seeing ads? Not a member but seeing way more ads than normal? You may have an infestation of ad ware or spy ware. More info here on how to clean the mess off your system.
  • Running Internet Explorer? Try installing the latest version. For the Java version of our game we recommend you install IE5 Service Pack 2. Say "yes" to all options about Java or the Microsoft Virtual Machine. If you're running the newer Windows version of our game, we recommend you install IE6. Either way, it's a big download but it does make IE a healthier happier browser. A couple cautions: installing IE6 appears to break Microsoft's own version of Freecell, and I know of no fix for that other than to deinstall it.
  • Are you using AOL as your Internet Service Provider (ISP)? Many people seem to have trouble with the default AOL browser. After connecting to AOL, instead of accessing the Internet the usual AOL way, go to your Start button (lower left corner of your screen), select Programs and then select Internet Explorer. Or alternatively, simply click the icon on your taskbar (bottom of the screen) or on your desktop. When IE launches, type into the address bar to come back to this site and try entering the game. Things often work much better. Of course see the hint immediately above about making sure you have the latest appropriate version of the IE browser.
  • Had a virus and now things don't work? Or does it seem like Java is confused? Try installing Java from Sun's site.
  • Got a MacIntosh? Try our section on MacIntosh Idiosyncrasies.
  • Again, if you're running a recent version of Internet Explorer, try checking your Security Settings
  • Once again, on Internet Explorer, you might try checking your Connection Options.
  • We no longer support Internet Explorer 4.0 or earlier or Netscape 4.x or earlier. If you have one of these ancient browsers, please take the time to upgrade. The web in general is probably starting to look a little funny to you and many other sites will not work exactly right for you either with such an old browser.
  • Try hitting the site starting at this URL: This may get around name server problems associated with some firewalls or proxy servers.

Don't worry-- only the first time load takes long at all. If you're still having problems, read on. But take heart, thousands of people play this game every day and the site is very current and well maintained (even if I do say so myself). You'll eventually get it running and join the many addicts who frequent this site daily. Likely, the only case where you might not meet with success is when you are playing from work or school and they have a particularly tight firewall.

There are many versions of browsers and/or Java environments out there, and some occasional odd behavior is to be expected. Things have improved with recent releases of browsers, but things can still get tangled up. Note: some of the tips given here may apply to running other Java applets on the web as well.

Finding Your Browser Version

To find you browser version, click Help on the top menu bar of the browser and then click About (or About Navigator). It should display the browser name and a version like 4.04, etc. Only the first number really matters for our purposed, so for Navigator 4.04, think Netscape Navigator 4.

Clearing the Browser Cache
Aka, restoring your browser's sanity...

If your browser starts acting flaky-- you've been able to play and now suddenly you can't-- you can usually get back to normal by simply exiting and restarting. But sometimes a browser just seems to wrap itself around a tree. You can usually prod it back to sanity by doing the steps described below. You'll first need to identify your browser version as they keep moving the Cache Clear option around almost everytime they release a new version, I don't know why.

For Internet Explorer 5 and 6

  • At the top of the browser, select Tools (or Options or View depending on browser version).
  • Then select Internet Options (or Options depending again on the version you have).
  • Click the button to delete (clear) your Temporary Internet Files. This does not remove anything permanently. It will cause your browser to retrieve all files afresh, so you may experience some more extended delays as you revisit some of your usual pages, but that's all.
  • Immediately exit and restart. IE should come back refreshed and behaving.

Security Settings

For Internet Explorer versions 4 and higher, try going to:

Tools --> Internet Options --> Security
Select the Internet icon, and click Custom Level. Scroll down to the section on the Microsoft VM and make sure the High Safety box is checked. You might try some different options there, but don't leave it on Low Safety as this might compromise the security of your computer.

Connection Options

On Internet Explorer, you might try going to:

Tools --> Internet Options --> Internet Options
Under the subsection on Temporary Internet Files, click the Settings button and then select the Everytime you start Internet Explorer option. Close your browser, reopen, and try the game page.

Macintosh Problems

If you have a Macintosh, particularly an iMac, and have gotten NetCELL to run, we'd love to hear exactly what you did. We know some Mac users are able to play the game, but we gather it's a bit dicier proposition running Java on a Mac than a PC. We'd like to add some hints to this page for Mac users. Please pass your tips along using the email address at the bottom of this page. Thanks.

Here is a relatively recent hint:

Just so you know Apples Java 1.4.1 w/ Safari works for Mac OS X users.

Well they now have "rock solid java" with the release of 1.4.1 this morning. Though so far I've only been able to figure out how to use it with Safari. It seems that Safari, apples current show piece browser, is in synch with what gets installed on the system, whereas Mozilla etc. need a way to manually change their settings.

Here is another person's hint:

Just wanted to let you know I have played freecell successfully with Mozilla 0.9.9 and the fizilla plugin. The fizilla plugin is a little flaky causing Mozilla to crash every now and then, but with OS X that only kills the browser and the rest of the machine keeps right on truckin. I think it crashes less often than when I tried with the OS X version of MSIE.

Get the plugin here.

And yet another person's hint:

Hi, I got NetCell to run on my Mac.

I have a G3 (actually a PowerMac 6100 with a G3 card), running OS 8.1, using Netscape 4.7. When trying to load the game, I got the dialogue for "loading cards" and "processing images" and then nothing--and the bottom of the screen said something about a java applet out of memory error. Giving more memory to Netscape didn't help, nor did clearing the cache.

However, I noticed that in the Netscape folder on my computer created by the original Netscape installation, there were two libraries: Java Accelerator for Power PC, and JavaScript Debug Support. I put these in the Extensions folder in the System, restarted, and now the program works just fine.

I hope this works for others. I am enjoying having web access to my addiction--thanks.

Hangs During Loading

If your browser hangs during the program load, try the steps describe above under Restoring Your Browser's Sanity. Among other things, this will cause your browser to bring down that latest and greatest Java client code and HTML screens.

Now this may just be superstition, but it seems like you might want to avoid resizing your browser window or clicking on other links during program loads. Just sit patiently while the program loads in. After the program is loaded and the NetCELL applet is fully initialized, you should have no problems resizing or following links.

If you've tried all the appropriate hints on this page, and still cannot get NetCELL to load, contact me and I'll see if I can help determine the cause. See the bugs section below for the email address and suggestions about information to include in your message.

Color Problems

I've attempted to pick colors which are viewable on a wide range of systems. I've had complaints about viewing problems from black and white X terminals and made some adjustments. If you still have problems seeing things in black and white, please drop me a line.

Interactions with anti-virus or firewall software

Some anti-virus software seems to cause more problems than it solves. Number one on my disliked list is the stuff from Norton-- it makes your computer run unbelievably slow, likes to annoy you with lots of questions, and worst of all interacts badly with some of the legit coding techniques I use on my site and in my products. I've also had not so good experiences with MacAfee.

My recomendation is Computer Associates' eTrust. Non-intrusive, fast, solid. It's what we use at work, and I have to have it on my home machines to connect to the corporate network. Very reliable and transparent. And no this is not an ad, it's just a recommendation! My eTrust Personal Version

Ad-ware or Foist-ware Infestation?

Think you've got a nasty infestation of ad-ware or spy-ware on your system? Symptoms include ads popping up all over the place, even when you're not doing anything, ads which seem to take control of your system in odd ways, slow system startup, and unexplainable Internet activity when you're not actually doing anything. These ad-ware and spy-ware things are somehow not considered viruses but they can be just as nasty.

Microsoft now has a free anti-spyware package that's quite good. Get the Microsoft anti-spyware here.

Lavasoft Ad-Aware is a handy tool that will help you identify and scrub these ugly things from your computer.

I've also heard that SpySweeper is good and can even catch some things that Ad-Aware misses. Get SpySweeper here.

You might also consult for more resources to assist you in cleaning up the mess. And of course will help you keep up-to-date on this. Just search for "ad ware" or "foist ware".

Final note, be careful: there are even some sound-alike things that pretend to be Lavasoft's Ad-Aware product but which actually make your situation worse. Get Ad-Aware directly from Lavasoft!

If You Have Continuing Problems or Find a Bug

If you encounter something you feel is a bug, please send email to me at the address shown at the bottom of this page. You must provide your operating system (e.g. Windows Me, Windows XP, MacOS 10.0) and your browser type and version and also describe the things you've tried from this help section. Please put something like "Freecell Problem" in the subject of the email. I will not be able to respond unless you include all the above info.