The security model of IIS is at fault here. This is a problem common to all CGI programs running under IIS. A workaround is to create a plain HTML file (not parsed by PHP) as the entry page into an authenticated directory. Then use a META tag to redirect to the PHP page, or have a link to the PHP page. PHP will then recognize the authentication correctly. With the ISAPI module, this is not a problem. This should not affect other NT web servers. For more information, see: » http://support.microsoft.com/kb/q160422/ and the manual section on HTTP Authentication .

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