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If you can't Login
07-10-2014, 02:29 PM (This post was last modified: 04-26-2019 05:56 PM by Dave Hicks.)
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If you can't Login
Here are common causes of not being able to log in, listed in order of prevalence.

You never created an account at the new forum

Since December 2013, the museum has been running completely new forum software. Because passwords on the new forum are stored using a different one-way hash, the new forum needs a new account. Click on register to proceed. Using the same username as before is preferred. You can still use your old account to edit articles on the old forum if needed.

Incorrect log on credentials

Often the user is entering their email address in the username field instead of their user name. Sometimes it is just a typo or using an account from some other website. Try looking for a thread in which you remember posting for your username. If you're sure that the username is correct, then you can try the lost password feature.

User pruning

Originally, this forum was set to prune user accounts that made less than 3 posts in the first 120 days. Since April 13th 2014, this has been changed to only prune accounts that make less than one post in the first year. User pruning only applies to user accounts – posts were never pruned. If your account was pruned, you can recreate your account. If you post something within the first year, your account will not be pruned again.

If still in doubt

If you (re)register using what you believe to be your user name then the system will either allow it or not. If the system tells you there is already an account with that name, and it is actually your account, then you can use the lost password feature. (If the lost password feature doesn't work, then it is probably someone else's account or you probably registered it with a different email address.)


If you ever change your email address, then it's a good idea to update your email address in your profile. You need a currently working email address to use the lost password feature, so either keep your email updated or make sure not to lose your password. (Preferably both.)

Lost password confusion

Some people get confused when using the lost password option. To use it, go to the main forum page and click on Login, then "Lost Password?". Then enter your email address (because you may have forgotten your user name as well) and click "Request Login Credentials" to start a multi-step process.

Then you will receive an email (Subject: Password Reset at HP Forums) with an activation link and an activation code (not a password!). In most cases you can just click the link and then you are done with this email (but not the entire process). If your email system doesn't let you click links, or the top link is mangled, then the email gives backup instructions to enter the activation code. 99% of users will not need these backup instructions.

After you click on the activation link from the first email, then you will receive a second email (Subject: New password at HP Forums) that contains a new password. You can then log in as usual with your existing name and new password. All of the information you need is in this second email.

Some people enter the activation code from the first email into the password field which will not work. Also, when it's time to log in with the new password, some people have entered their email address into the username field which also will not work - use the user name - which was mailed to you as well in case you forgot - it's right at the top of both emails.

At some point you may be required to solve a CAPTCHA. This does not mean that any activation code or password is wrong. The forum just wants a little assurance that you are human This is likely to happen if you tried a lot of incorrect passwords earlier or have done several password resets. Just solve the CAPTCHA and continue.

If your browser fills in any password fields during the reset process, you shouldn't trust them since your browser hasn't yet learned your new password. Just replace any pre-filled password fields with your new password.

If you fail to receive either of the two emails, check your spam folders and then check with your ISP's support forum. A few ISPs will aggressively (too aggressively) block emails that they think just might be spam/scripted. They might intercept these before they get to your spam folder.

The text above makes this seem more complicated than it really is. New passwords can be obtained in under a minute, however, because some people have misread or made up their own instructions, and then tried the wrong procedure over and over, I've made the instructions above very detailed in the hope that they can break the cycle.
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