For the Firestorm version of this page, see here.
Sometimes, when you log in, you will find yourself as a cloud, or ruthed. Or it may be that if you change clothes, they do not appear on you. This occurs as a result of a lack of communication between your computer and the SL severs.
A brief explanation. When you wear (non prim) clothing, the clothing textures are sent from SL server to your computer. There, the viewer layers the clothing textures onto your skin textures (a process known as baking) and then send the resultant textures back to the SL servers. The servers then send these textures to other avatars that might be in the region. If any one of these things don't work properly, the result is commonly called a bake fail; bake fails are what can leave your avatar looking like a cloud, or ruthed, or your clothing not visually changing when you change outfit.
NOTE: Bake fails occur on all SL viewers, not only Phoenix. In fact there are multiple SL JIRAs on this issue, like this one; this also documents cases where you seem fine but all other avatars remain grey. We would encourage our users to watch and comment on the jira link above. Hopefully if we get enough doing that LL will do something about bakefail.
In broad terms, bake fails occur when there is a communication problem. So solutions range from trying to force your avatar textures to bake again, to investigating and solving the cause of the communications issue.
NOTE: the RenderUnloadedAvatar debug setting is at best a band-aid solution; it will force your viewer to render an avatar using incomplete, possibly incorrect information, and works only for your viewer, not others. (Think about the name of the setting: render unloaded avatar. Meaning… draw the avatar even though it is not yet fully loaded by the viewer. So… it will be shown, partially, maybe nearly completely. Maybe not. Thus it is a “band aid” solution, not a fix.)
So in order to ensure that your avatar is really fixed please ensure that you have this disabled. Open the Advanced Menu (Ctrl-Alt-D if it not visible) and select Debug Settings. Type in RenderUnloadedAvatar and set to FALSE.
Here are steps that may help fix you. Please do these one at a time, in order, exactly as described, stopping as soon as one fixes you.
The first things to try are:
If these all fail, then something is inhibiting your baked textures from being sent to the SL servers. The first thing to examine is your bandwidth; if it is too high for your connection then you may have issues; similarly, it might also be too low. Please see this page for details on determining the optimum bandwidth.
If this does not help, reset your router (if you use one) and/or your cable modem. If that doesn't help, some other program on your computer may be interfering with your viewer's connection to SL, like a firewall or anti-virus. Try disabling them, temporarily, to see if things improve. If they do, you have isolated the problem.
NOTE: If you have RLV enabled, please disable it and relog before attempting anything which entails wearing or removing clothing or attachments.
Also, it is highly recommended that you go to a known good, low lag region to do these steps. For example: