Old  October 21st, 2003, 5:52am     #1
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Joined: Feb 1999
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Location: Springfield, Ohio
OLS Guide to Common Problems and Questions [updated 1/29/04]
This document is intended to be a guide that provides solutions and answers to the most common issues and questions regarding the use of this web site, Online-Sweepstakes.com. As such, it will be periodically updated to reflect current issues and problems. To make answering questions and solving problems easier for all of us, it is strongly recommended that you read this document before asking for help either through the forums or email.

***Useful Links and Information***

Helpful links.

Common problems with registration and logging-in.
  • Click here to retrieve a lost username or password (requires your email address).
  • Click here to request an email with a new activation link if you are unable to post or access some parts of the web site restricted to registered members only (requires your email address).
  • Click here to change your registered email address or password (must be logged in).

General Tips and Recommendations
  • Please browse the forums and do a search for your problem or question before asking for help. Most questions and problems have already been answered and discussed in the forums.
  • If you're have a problem and can't resolve it after reading this document and searching through the forums, you can ask for help either through a post in the Online-Sweepstakes.com Forum or an email to myself (the webmaster). Please provide your operating system, the name of your browser and version number, and as many details about your problem as possible. The more information you can provide, the easier it will be to understand and solve the problem.
  • General sweepstakes questions including those about specific sweeps, tips and strategies are best asked and discussed in the forums rather than through email to the webmaster.
  • Keep your operating system and browser up to date by regularly checking for and installing available upgrades and patches. A lot of potential problems can be avoided entirely by keeping your operating system and browser up to date.
  • For Windows users particularly, install and regularly run a program like Lavasoft Ad-aware (free) to check for and remove any spyware on your computer.
  • Always have an up-to-date anti-virus program running on your computer. Make sure you keep your virus definitions updated regularly.
  • For best computer performance, defragment your hard drive once a month.

OLS doesn not now nor will it ever serve popup ads.

If you are getting popups on the OLS web site you have what's known as "adware" on your computer which is essentially a little hidden program that watches what web pages you visit and displays popups in your browser based on the topics of those web pages. Sweepstakes are a popular target for adware.

To get rid of adware, spyware or any other kind of "scumware" on your computer, I highly recommend the following two software programs.

Spybot - Search & Destroy (free, but accepts donations)

Lavasoft AdAware (basic version free)


***Common Questions***

Can I change my username?
  • Requests for username changes are generally honored especially in the case of privacy concerns (for example, you used your full name or email address). Habitual username changes will not be allowed. Click here (must be logged-in) to request a username change. All username change requests must include a first and second choice. Once the username has been changed, you will receive an email for confirmation (usually within a few days).
  • Generally speaking, if I see a username that's an email address or part of an email address, I'll go ahead and edit the email address part (i.e. @whatever.com) out of the username. For example, I would change "trudy334@msn" to "trudy334" leaving just the username in the email address that was used.

I have multiple usernames, can I merge them into one?
  • If you have used more than one username on the site, you can request that they be merged into one. Your original join date will be kept and all posts and notes will be credited to the username you wish to keep. To request a merge, you need to provide the username you want to keep and the username(s) you want to merge into it. In order to confirm that you are the account holder of the usernames you wish to join together, you'll need to either separately login with each username and send me a merge request through this form (must be logged-in), or you'll have to send me an email from the registered email addresses of each account you wish to merge.
  • *Note* - Unless you specifically request it, sweeps saved in MySweeps will not be transferred or merged with another username.

How does MySweeps work?
  • These instructions are currently a bit outdated, but they'll give you a good idea of how MySweeps works.

I can't access the archived rules, notes and/or rating form in the sweepstakes directory.
  • If you are on a Macintosh, upgrade your browser (see the bottom of page for links) to the most recent version. All recent versions of the major Macintosh browsers will display the notes window correctly.
  • Some WebTV users are unable to view the notes. If you're one of them, if you could let me know what version of the WebTV software you're using, I should be able to fix it.

Help! I'm not seeing updated web pages or I'm getting "page cannot be displayed" errors on the site.
  • For Internet Explorer, go to: Tools > Internet Options > Settings... and make sure "Check for newer versions of stored pages" is set to "Automatically".
  • If that doesn't do it, go to Tools > Internet Options > Delete Files... and delete all your Temporary Internet Files.
  • If you use a different browser, you should have similar settings/options.


***Operating System and Browser-Specific Notes***

Macintosh - Important Notes
  • All recent versions of the major Macintosh browsers will display the archived rules/notes/rating form in the sweepstakes directory correctly. Some older versions of Macintosh browsers won't. If you're having problems, it is recommended you upgrade your browser to the most recent version (see the bottom of this page).

AOL 9.0 Optimized - Important Notes
  • I've heard a few reports of members having problems using the site with the new AOL 9.0 Optimized software.

WebTV - Important Notes
  • Some WebTV users may have trouble posting in the forums. Evidently, at least some versions of WebTV don't agree with the toolbar that gets displayed by default in the new thread/reply form. To workaround this problem, go to your member options page and towards the bottom, change the "Use vBCode quick links on your message input screens?" option to Do Not Show Toolbar and save your options.
  • Some WebTV users may not be able to access the archived rules/notes/rating form in the sweepstakes directory. If you're one of them, if you could let me know what version of the WebTV software you're using, I should be able to fix it.


***Browser Downloads***

Windows Browsers - Download
Macintosh Browsers - Download

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