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Got Problems?




Missing card(s)

One of the most common problems is that you'll find one or more of the cards in the deck has gone completely missing. This is usually just your browser having a little wedgie. You can force a reload of the game by holding down the Ctrl key and pressing F5, or clicking the Reload/Refresh icon up by your browser's address bar (also while holding down the Ctrl key). This makes the browser re-fetch everything and this will likely restore the missing card(s).


Slloowwww...

There are two main kinds of slow. If you're seeing a delay after clicking Play before you get a new deal, or upon completing a game it takes a while for the server to respond, that's probably network delay. The Internet is still highly variable and depending on your current "route" to the server you might have different latencies. The server is running on fast hardware and to my knowledge pretty much always responds almost instantly (in human terms), so if you're having sluggishness like this, it's probably something between you and the server on the 'net that's responsible. traceroute (tracert on Windows) can help you learn more. Use your favorite search engine to learn how to use traceroute/tracert.

The second kind of slow is when the game actually takes a while to draw cards or respond to mouse/keyboard input. First off, if you're running Internet Explorer, make sure you're not running in a magnified mode. Look at the little magnifying glass in the lower right corner of the browser screen and make sure it's at 100%. Second, some systems seem to have trouble displaying the new PNG card images but will happily display the older small GIF versions. Between games there's a dropdown in the upper right hand corner of the game board. Use that to select "Old Cards." They won't be as big but hopefully they'll animate faster. Finally, if neither of those tips work, try Firefox. It always seems to be frisky. It's a free and easy download from mozilla.com.


Which browser?

If the game doesn't seem to work right in your browser, please make sure you're using the latest version of either Internet Explorer, Chome, Firefox, or Safari. I'm just one guy so I can't attempt to support the other browsers and/or older versions. The game actually seems to continue to work in older versions of Internet Explorer but I make no promises. Downloading and installing a new browser is fast and easy. Just go to a search engine and type "download firefox" (for instance).


Yes, some advertisements can be annoying. Read this whole section if you're getting those ads that pop up and take over your screen.

I don't pick the ads; I simply don't have the time to try to micromanage the ads we're served. Note that in return for the occasional annoyance of this or that advertisement you are indirectly at least generating a little money for charity. If you absolutely can't stand the ads, we do provide Premium service which does nothing except give you an entirely ad-free site.

If you're getting those "take over" ads, those are delivered using something called Flash. What I suggest is configuring a browser without Flash and using that for this site. So for instance, I do most of my browsing with Internet Explorer with Adobe Flash not installed, but when I want to watch a video on youtube or Facebook I launch Mozilla Firefox which has Flash enabled. With the non-Flash browser most of the annoying ads will magically go away. Here's how to disable Flash.

Side note: Flash ads are everywhere. If you visit other ad-supported sites you'll undoubtably run into other annoying ads--it ain't just here by any stretch. But by using a non-Flash enabled browser for your other general browsing of Internet sites you'll be spared, not just here, but everywhere.

Now some sites deliver invasive "house ads" using plain old Javascript and HTML and there's nothing you can do about those. But we don't do those here.

Finally, if you're getting pop-ups using this site or other apparently dubious advertisements, you likely have an infestation of ad-ware. See the section on that below.


The quick refresh trick

As noted above under the "missing card(s)" section, a quick reliable way to fix a variety of odd problems is to simply force your browser to reload everything. While on the game page, hold down the Ctrl key and hit F5, or else click on the Reload/Refresh icon up by your browser's address bar (also while holding down the Ctrl key). The makes the browser re-fetch everything and will often restore sanity to you and your computer.


Viruses and ad-ware

Viruses and ad-ware were frankly more of a problem in years past as most folks now do have their computers adequately protected. If you don't, however, we'd strongly recommend it. If odd things are happening, you've got browser toolbars you didn't ask for, ads are popping up while using this site (we never serve pop-ups), or things are just running slow in general, try installing either a commercial anti-virus program or else one of the fine free ones.


Java problems

The Java version is now history. Java's advantage used to be that it played on every computer system, not just Windows systems. But these days you can run Firefox on any system and it does a fine job of running the regular version of the game. In fact most modern browsers will run the game. Java is no longer installed on any/many computers and since I'm just one guy I don't have time to try to support things which have become "fringe."


Repeatedly asked to login

If you're repeatedly asked to login, this probably means your browser is rejecting cookies from this site. We use cookies to maintain state as you use the site, a very common practice, and also use them to remember who you are so you don't have to login every time, also a very common practice.

But if you can't successfully login or are asked every time you come to the site to login, it's probably because we can't save that cookie. Some 3rd party "scrubber" software removes cookies as soon as you close your browser. Often folks seem to have installed such software without really realizing it so you might need to do a little looking to figure out what is providing the unwanted "help".

You can also try adjusting your browser's preferences. Go to Tools --> Internet Options and then click the Security tab. Add freecell.net to your Trusted Sites list.

If that still doesn't get it, trying using your favorite search engine to find info about how to explicitly enable cookies for your browser. I won't attempt to keep up-to-date instructions here when they're so easy to come across on the 'net, again using that good ol' favorite search engine.

Sometimes as a last resort (or even a first resort) try switching browsers. Whatever has gotten tangled up on your main browser with regard to cookie configuration will likely not happen with an alternate browser. If you're using Internet Explorer, try Firefox, or vice versa. Again a search engine will help you find the downloads.


How to report a bug

If you can't resolve your issue you should report your problem on the Discussion Page. This will accomplish two things: it will let the site owner know of the problem and it will also share the problem with the Freecell-playing public here so that they can chime in about their own experiences.

When reporting a bug it's useful to provide (in as much detail as possible) the following information:

  • Which browser you're using, e.g. Internet Explorer aka IE, Firefox, Chrome, Safari, etc.
  • What version of the browser you're using. Getting the browser version has changed over time so simply use a search engine and look for something like 'find firefox version.' This might look something like Internet Explorer Version 11.0.9600.17280IC.
  • What operating system you're on, e.g. Windows, Mac iOS, Linux, etc.
  • What version of the operating system, e.g. Windows 8.1 or Mac OSX 10.7.5.
  • What device you're playing on, e.g. desktop PC, laptop, iPad, Windows tablet, iPhone, Android phone, etc.
  • Exact sequence of steps that caused the problem and what happened that was different from expected, e.g. "I went to the login.html page and entered my information and clicked the Login button. I didn't get any indication of error but it just put me back at that same page when I expected to start playing the game." Frequently people post things such as "I can't get in" which is obviously not terribly useful to us to help resolve the problem.
This sounds lengthy but it doesn't have to be. Here's an example of a very brief bug report which at least has some minimal useful info in it. While still lacking in the desired level of detail it's way better than most.


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