IEInternals Blog IE8 FAQ
Add-ons Tweaks Web Development Add-on Development Troubleshooting Contact 
This page contains information on how to resolve some of the most commonly reported problems with Internet Explorer.  Some IE8-specific issues can be found here.

Problem: Crashes or hangs

If IE crashes, the most likely problem is that there's a buggy add-on (Toolbar or Browser Helper Object).  In order to verify and isolate the buggy add-on, follow these steps:

  1. Start IE in No Add-ons mode, either by right-clicking the Desktop icon, or clicking START | RUN and typing: iexplore.exe -extoff
  2. Determine if IE fails.
  3. If not, use Tools | Manage Add-ons to disable all browser extensions and toolbars.
  4. Restart IE and reenable browser extensions one-by-one.
  5. Once you've found a broken extension, contact the manufacturer and ask for an update.

(See also: http://blogs.msdn.com/ie/archive/2006/07/25/678113.aspx and http://support.microsoft.com/?id=928426)

If IE only crashes on certain pages, it may be that you have an outdated version of Adobe Flash.  Ensure you have the latest version here: http://get.adobe.com/flashplayer/

If IE still crashes often, even when browser add-ons are disabled:

  • Please ensure that you are running the very latest version of your anti-virus, anti-malware, and/or firewall programs.
  • Please ensure that the drivers for your graphics card are up to date.
  • If you have Google Desktop installed, please ensure that you update to the latest version of Google Desktop.
  • If you have 7-Zip or other Windows Explorer extensions installed, please ensure that you update to the latest versions.

Problem: IE9 Crashes on startup

If the add-on tips in the previous section didn't help you, there's one other thing to check for IE9.

IE9 relies on hardware accelerated graphics for much faster rendering. While this is great for performance, if your graphics drivers are buggy, IE9 might crash.You should ensure that you have the latest drivers for your graphics card, and if that still doesn't help, try starting the Internet Options from the system control panel. On the Advanced Tab, tick the "Use Software Rendering instead of GPU rendering" option at the top. Then retry starting IE.

Problem: IE is slow to start and/or open new tabs

Please see this article: Unshackling IE8 Performance.

Problem: Cannot connect to Internet using IE after updates installed

If you see the "Page Cannot be Displayed" error after installing Internet Explorer updates from Windows Updates, it's possible that you have a 3rd party firewall installed that is blocking access because the IE files have been updated.  Please see http://support.microsoft.com/kb/942818/en-us for more information.

Problem: IE always starts in "No Add-ons" mode

The problem is that you're launching Internet Explorer using a shortcut icon that has the "-extoff" command line parameter. That parameter causes IE to start without add-ons.  Thus, every time you use that shortcut icon, IE will start in No Add-ons Mode.

  1. How do you normally start Internet Explorer? Right-click whatever icon you're using to start IE, choose "Properties" and remove the -extoff part of the shortcut.
  2. If you click the green START button, click Run, type iexplore.exe in the RUN box, then hit the ENTER key, IE will start with Addons enabled.

Problem: The "Mail" button is missing

You can customize the toolbar to add or remove icons, including the mail icon

  1. Right-click the Star icon in the IE window
  2. Choose Customize Command Bar
  3. Choose Add or Remove commands
  4. Click on the Read Mail item in the Available toolbar buttons list
  5. Click the Add button to move the button to the Current toolbar buttons list
  6. Click the Close button

If the button still isn't visible, it may be pushed off the side of the screen.  To fix this:

  1. Right-click the Star icon in the IE window
  2. Uncheck Lock the Toolbars
  3. Drag the dotted splitter in the command bar to the left until all of the buttons are visible

Problem: Outlook Express will not spell check in English (only French)

Sorry, this bug is caused by an incompatibility between Outlook Express and recent versions of Microsoft Office.

Learn more here: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/932974

Your best bet, however, is to upgrade to the free new Windows Live Mail client which has replaced Outlook Express. Please see http://download.live.com/wlmail to download.

Problem: IE opens small windows

IE opens new windows at the size of the last closed window.  If you find that IE is opening small windows, do this:

  • Close all IE windows.
  • Open one new IE window.
  • Adjust that window to the size you prefer.  Do this by dragging the window borders.  Do not use the maximize button:  maximize button
  • Close the IE window.
  • New IE windows will open at the size you chose.

Problem: Website blocks IE7 (e.g. it "requires" IE6)

Run into a website that requires IE6?  Spoof the site by tweaking your user-agent.

Problem: ClearType Text appears fuzzy

IE7 turns on a text-smoothing technology called "ClearType" by default.  ClearType is scientifically proven to make text easier to read, particularly on LCD flat panel monitors. 

If ClearType looks fuzzy on your monitor, you might want to try the ClearType tuning wizard, which can help you adjust the display of ClearType.

If you still don't like the appearance of ClearType, you can turn it off by unchecking the checkbox: Tools | Internet Options | Advanced | Multimedia | Always use ClearType for HTML.

Problem: IE Startup takes a long time (>3 seconds)

1. IE may start very slowly if you have a huge number of sites listed in your Restricted or Trusted sites zone.  Some tools, like "SpyBot Search & Destroy" will place thousands of sites in these zones if you use their "immunize" feature.

2. Follow the "Crashing on startup" steps above to see if starting in No Add-ons mode starts much faster

3. If you're not using a proxy, uncheck IE's "Automatically detect settings" option on the Tools | Internet Options | Connections | LAN Settings dialog.

Problem: Slow Page rendering

1. Increase the connection limit. This tweak allows IE to make up to 16 connections per server.

2. Ensure that both "HTTP1.1" checkboxes in Tools | Internet Options | Advanced are checked.

Problem: IE7 Setup fails to install Internet Explorer

See http://support.microsoft.com/kb/917925

Problem: My address bar won't turn green?

IE7 includes a cool new feature that turns the address bar green when a secure site presents an Extended Validation certificate:

EV Certificate UI

If you're having trouble with this feature, on a site you know has an EV certificate:

  1. Ensure that you either have the Phishing Filter set to "Automatic" mode or Tools > Internet Options > Advanced > Security > Check for Server Certificate revocation checked.

  2. If that doesn't work, install this: Windows Root Certificate Update and restart.

Problem: After installing, IE7 starts then vanishes

It's possible that one of IE's DLLs isn't installed correctly

  1. Click START | RUN and type cmd
  2. In the command prompt, type cd\
  3. In the command prompt, type cd Program Files
  4. In the command prompt, type cd Internet Explorer
  5. In the command prompt, type regsvr32 IEPROXY.DLL

(Reference: http://support.microsoft.com/?id=928427)

Problem: Error message about PSAPI.DLL

If you install IE7 and the following error message begins to show:

The procedure entry point GetProcessImageFileNameW could not be located in the dynamic link library PSAPI.DLL

  1. Search your hard disk for PSAPI.dll. 
  2. Any copies of this DLL that are found outside of the Windows or Windows\System32 folder should be renamed to PSAPI.bak.

Problem: IE always goes to http://runonce.msn.com/runonce2.aspx instead of my homepage

If IE7 always goes to the RunOnce page on startup, even after you've tried to save the first run settings, it's possible that the mechanism that IE is using to save the settings does not work for some reason. 

You can prevent IE from going to the RunOnce page and cause it to go directly to your homepage by running this script.

For more info, check out this Knowledge Base article.

Problem: IE always goes to http://www.microsoft.com/windows/downloads/ie/getitnow.mspx instead of my homepage

If Internet Explorer always goes to this page on startup, it's likely that you have an anti-spyware package (like "SpyBot") that prevented IE from correctly modifying your registry.

Try running this scriptNote: you may need to disable your anti-spyware tool temporarily for the script to work.

Problem: On startup, IE always shows an error message about the AOL toolbar

If you see the following error message every time IE starts:

     "Cannot find 'file:///C:/Program%20Files/AOL%20Toolbar/welcome.html'. Make sure the path or Internet address is correct."

...then you've hit a bug in the AOL Toolbar.

Try running this script. Note: you may need to disable your anti-spyware tool temporarily for the script to work.

Problem: I installed a "branded" version of IE7, but I'd prefer a "plain" copy without toolbars and customizations.

An article on this topic can be found here: How to remove branding in Internet Explorer 7.

Problem: Malware / Adware

If Internet Explorer is behaving strangely (crashing, visiting unwanted sites, etc), it's possible that there is malicious software installed on your computer.

As a first step, you should allow your antivirus software to scan and attempt to repair your computer. Additionally, you may want to try the following Microsoft tools:

Microsoft Security Essentials (free installable antivirus / antimalware)

Windows Defender (free installable antimalware)

Windows Live Safety Center (online-only scanner)

Malicious Software Removal Tool (one-time removal of most prevalent malware)

You should also ensure your computer has all the security updates available at Microsoft Update.

If you continue to have trouble, you can obtain free malware-related support from Microsoft Product Support Services by calling +1 (866) PC-SAFETY (+1 (866) 727-2338) in the U.S. and Canada, or at your local international subsidiary.

Problem: My searches are redirected to unrelated sites and I cannot connect to WindowsUpdate or antivirus websites

If Internet Explorer searches are redirected to unrelated sites or search engines, it's possible that your computer was infected with malware (see the previous tip).  However, if your computer is not currently infected with malware, it's possible that at some time in the past, malicious software altered your computer's DNS settings.  DNS works like an "internet phonebook" that maps URLs (like "windowsupdate.microsoft.com") to internet protocol addresses (like "207.46.225.221"). 

To determine if a malicious DNS server is configured:

- Go to Start -> Control Panel ->Network Connections.
- Right click your default connection, usually Local Area Connection or Dial-up Connection, if you are using Dial-up, and left click on Properties.
- Double-click on the Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) item

Check to see if you're set to something other than "Obtain DNS servers automatically". If so, contact your ISP to ensure that the address specified is correct, or set the "Obtain DNS servers automatically" checkbox. Then restart your computer.

Problem: After opening many tabs, Windows and IE paint abnormally.

See http://blogs.msdn.com/tonyschr/archive/2005/05/25/desktop-heap-limitations.aspx
 

Problem: IE does not scroll properly when using the mouse wheel on Logitech mice

Install the latest iTouch mouse driver from Logitech.

Problem: A remote user is having networking problems with Internet Explorer.  How can I collect information about his system to help me to troubleshoot?

Have the user run Netcheck (or NetCheck for .NETv4) and send you the log file.

Problem: Overlong headers result in HTTP/4xx or HTTP/5xx errors, particularly on devices like routers or webcams

Problems of this nature are usually caused by one of the two request headers in yellow being longer than the device expects.

GET / HTTP/1.1
Accept: image/gif, image/jpeg, image/pjpeg, application/x-ms-application, application/vnd.ms-xpsdocument, application/xaml+xml, application/x-ms-xbap, application/vnd.ms-excel, application/vnd.ms-powerpoint, application/msword, application/x-shockwave-flash, application/x-silverlight, application/x-silverlight-2-b2, */*
Accept-Language: en-us
User-Agent: Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 8.0; Windows NT 6.0; WOW64; Trident/4.0; SLCC1; .NET CLR 2.0.50727; .NET CLR 1.1.4322; InfoPath.2; .NET CLR 3.5.30729; .NET CLR 3.0.30618; OfficeLiveConnector.1.3; OfficeLivePatch.1.3; MS-RTC LM 8)
Accept-Encoding: gzip, deflate
Connection: Keep-Alive
Host: 192.168.10.1

These headers are dynamically generated out of registry keys.  They can usually be trimmed by editing the registry without any important side-effects.

To trim the list in the Accept header, click START > RUN > REGEDIT.EXE.  Using RegEdit, navigate to:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Internet Settings\Accepted Documents

...and remove elements from the "Name/Type/Value" list to remove values that aren't strictly required.  Elements in red are of lower importance than those in black:
image/gif, image/jpeg, image/pjpeg, application/x-ms-application, application/vnd.ms-xpsdocument, application/xaml+xml, application/x-ms-xbap, application/vnd.ms-excel, application/vnd.ms-powerpoint, application/msword, application/x-shockwave-flash, application/x-silverlight, application/x-silverlight-2-b2, */*

A similar problem can occur with the User-Agent header.

To trim the list in the User-Agent header, click START > RUN > REGEDIT.EXE.  Using RegEdit, navigate to these four keys:
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Internet Settings\5.0\User Agent\Post Platform

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Internet Settings\User Agent\Post Platform

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Internet Settings\5.0\User Agent\Post Platform

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Internet Settings\User Agent\Post Platform

For 64 bit computers, also check:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Wow6432Node\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Internet Settings\5.0\User Agent\Post Platform 

...and remove elements from the "Name/Type/Value" list to remove values that aren't strictly required.  Elements in red are of lower importance than those in black:
User-Agent: Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 8.0; Windows NT 6.0; WOW64; Trident/4.0; SLCC1; .NET CLR 2.0.50727; .NET CLR 1.1.4322; InfoPath.2; .NET CLR 3.0.30618; .NET CLR 3.5.30729; OfficeLiveConnector.1.3; OfficeLivePatch.1.3; MS-RTC LM 8)


Or, you can remove old versions of the .NET Framework from your user-agent string with this script. It will remove .NET1.0, 1.1, 2.0, and 3.0 versions from your UA string.

Problem: Nested UA String

In this case, the User-Agent string is corrupted, with two instances of the Mozilla/4.0 token. This typically is caused by a bad registry key. Problems of this nature are caused by poorly written addons or utilities that write incorrect values to the registry.

GET / HTTP/1.1
Accept-Language: en-us
User-Agent: Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 8.0; Windows NT 5.1; Trident/4.0; Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; Windows NT 5.1; SV1) ; .NET CLR 3.5.30729; InfoPath.2)
Accept-Encoding: gzip, deflate
Connection: Keep-Alive
Host: 192.168.10.1

As you can see in the example above, an IE6 user-agent string is written in the middle of the IE8 user-agent string. This bad string is dynamically generated out of a registry key. By removing the registry key, you can fix the problem.

To fix this, click START > RUN > REGEDIT.EXE. Using RegEdit, navigate to these four keys:
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Internet Settings\5.0\User Agent\Post Platform

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Internet Settings\User Agent\Post Platform

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Internet Settings\5.0\User Agent\Post Platform

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Internet Settings\User Agent\Post Platform

...and remove any elements from the "Name/Type/Value" list that contain Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; Windows NT 5.1; SV1) ;

For 64 bit computers, also check:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Wow6432Node\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Internet Settings\5.0\User Agent\Post Platform 

 


©2014 Eric Lawrence