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"Access Denied" error in Prime

Why do I get an "Access Denied" error when trying to access areas/items in Prime?

This error is usually caused by one of the following items. 

CAUSE #1: Accessing Prime via link inside Prime-Portal:  A "bug" in Prime software has been identified that causes this error when users are getting into Prime via the link on Prime-Portal. This problem does not occur if you log directly into Prime.

SOLUTION: For now, log directly into Prime. To do so, click on the Prime link located at the top of the main Downstate home page (, and enter your username and password in the login box.  We are working with the manufacturers of the Prime and Prime-Portal software, and hope to have a fix soon.

     Other common causes for these and other errors:

CAUSE #2: Using the "Back" browser button: Using your web browser's own Back/Forward buttons to navigate inside Prime can cause this problem.  (These are the buttons with large arrows, located at the upper left corner of your web browser.) Using these buttons to return to a previous page can 'break' the authentication for your current session in Prime, leading to errors such as "Access Denied". 

SOLUTION: To navigate safely in Prime, use the clickable links inside Prime itself: 

  • Use the Home icon to get out of a course or group and return to the Prime Home page.  The Home button is a round button with a picture of a house located at the upper left side of the Prime window.
  • Click on the major page tab links (Course, Lessons/Content, Communicate, Report, etc) to get back up to the top level from inside sub-subfolders, etc;
  • The Previous, Next, Up and Top links located on the grey bar at upper right in the main display window inside a course.  Don't see Up or Top listed inside your course's main display window? Click on "Lessons", then click on the Preferences link to add these to your course's navigation tools.
  • The expandible Map "tree", located inside the Guide displayed along the left side of a Course/Group. To turn the Guide on or off, click on the tiny "Guide" link located just above the Home icon at upper left.  (Map is one of several different options are available in the Guide. To switch to/from the Map option inside the Guide, click on the appropriate option listed at the bottom of the Guide.)

CAUSE #3: Opening new browser tabs or windows: Most web browsers now allow you to open a new tab or a new window directly from the current open web browser, instead of opening a new copy of the browser and logging in again. Using these duplicate tabs or windows opened from a single login session can break the session's authentication.

SOLUTION: Don't open multiple tabs/windows from a single web browser during your session in Prime.

CAUSE #4: Timeout: For security purposes, if you have been inactive for a significant period of time in Prime, your session is "dropped".  You won't notice anything until the next time you click on something.

SOLUTION: Click the logoff button, close and reopen the web browser, and log back in,

CAUSE #5: Persistence of 'old' web browser data: Sometimes old and invalid 'temporary' session information is retained by your web browser.  With most people using broadband, and most website loading fairly quickly, it's actually a bad idea to 'cache' previous web pages.

SOLUTION: Stop caching data, and purge your web browser's old data.  A link to another FAQ article that gives basic directions on doing this for Firefox and Internet Explorer browsers is shown below:

CAUSE #6: Cookies: Your web browser must be set to accept 'cookies' from the Downstate web sites.  ('Cookies' are small text files that are left on your hard drive, used by the web browser and website server, and that contain basic information about your session linking the two.)

SOLUTION:  Make sure your web browser is set to accept cookies: 

  • Firefox: If you are using Firefox in Windows, drop down the Tools menu, select Options.  If you are using Apple OS X, drop down the Firefox menu from the menu bar, then click on Preferences.  Click on the Privacy icon, then make sure that the item 'Accept cookies from sites' is checked. Click on Ok to close the Options/Preferences dialog box. Then close the web browser and reopen it.
  • Internet Explorer: Drop down the Tools menu and select Internet Options. Click on the Privacy tab, and make sure your slider is set to "Medium" security. 

CAUSE #7: Proxy server: If you are using a proxy server, you'll have to configure your browser's settings to allow Prime to bypass the proxy server.  (Proxy servers take a request from your browser and try to 'anonymize' it, stripping out data that identifies your computer, and sending requests as if it were coming from the proxy server. 


If you receive an "Access Denied" error, and none of these solutions work, please contact us (718-270-7416).


JMN - revised 12-June-2008

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