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How do I control the Java Login prompt for my Applet?

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I am updating an applet that acts as a front end to one of our hardware products. We use basic HTTP authentication to gain access to the device and therefore the applet. The old user experience was that the browser would prompt the user for their username and password and the applet would get the username from the hardware. The code still works, but both the browser and Java (the plugin?) are prompting the user for a username and password. I would rather that the user be prompted only once. Can you point me to the documentation on the plugin that explains how to control this? Is it something other than the plugin that is causing Java to prompt the user? Is there something about our HTTP Server implementation that needs to be adjusted?
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