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Solutions: Troubleshoot Internet Explorer errors

I have been running Internet Explorer 7 with Windows XP SP2 for quite a while with no real problems. Lately, I've been having a problem in Explorer. If I click on a link on a Web page that opens a new window (a popup), when I close the popup window then IE either just shuts down, or gives a warning that it needs to shut down, then shuts down. I can't think of anything I have changed recently except that I'm running Norton 360, and I recently applied an update. I don't know if that is related.

Internet Explorer problems can often be difficult to troubleshoot, especially when the only clue you have is a non- specific error message. This is how I would approach it: First, run Internet Explorer without any add-ons. Click Start, Run and type "C:\Program Files\ Internet Explorer\iexplore.exe" -extoff exactly as shown here (including the quotes) and make sure you leave a space after the last quote and -extoff. Internet Explorer will start with a message warning you that it is now in "Add-Ons Disabled" mode. See if the problems persist. If not, then your next step would be to run Internet Explorer as you normally would and then disable one-by-one the currently active add-ons. To do this: Click Tools, Manage Add-Ons, Enable or Disable Add-Ons. Disable only one at a time, restart Internet Explorer and test to see if the problem persists. Do this until you find the offending add-on. Either remove it or check to see if there is an updated version (i.e., Adobe Flash). If nothing seems to solve the problem, another option is to reset Internet Explorer 7 settings back to defaults. To do this from within Internet Explorer: Click Tools, Internet Options, Advanced tab and then click the Reset... button. It will then display the warning window telling you exactly what this action does. In your column of Aug. 18 you advised the guy who inadvertently downloaded WinFixer to run a full system scan with his antivirus software and to disable System Restore. Should everybody disable System Restore before they run a full system scan, or just people who have downloaded WinFixer?

Good question. I always say to keep things as simple as possible, and having to disable and then enable System Restore each time you run a system scan does not fit that philosophy. I would only recommend that approach if you seem to have the same files reported as problems even after several scans. Otherwise, keep System Restore on and let your up-to-date antivirus do its job.

Send questions to or Personal Tech, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731. Questions are answered only in this column.

Solutions: Troubleshoot Internet Explorer errors 09/26/08 [Last modified: Sunday, September 28, 2008 1:26pm]
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