IE6 crashing? Here's the reason, and the fix

IE6 crashing? Here's the reason, and the fix

Summary: Yesterday I read about a problem with Internet Explorer 6 crashing on Windows XP systems where security update 942615 has been installed. Today, I got to see the problem firsthand. Fortunately, there's now an easy downloadable fix.

TOPICS: Browser, Microsoft

Update 21-Dec-2007, 6:00AM PST: Microsoft has now updated the Knowledge Base article referenced in this post. The file now includes a link to an executable file that implements the Registry fix previously listed. The update file is also available directly from Microsoft's Download Center.

Yesterday I read about a problem with Internet Explorer 6 crashing on Windows XP systems where security update 942615 has been installed (the problem is documented in this KB article and in this post on the IE blog).

Today, I got to see the problem firsthand. Fortunately, that happened exactly five minutes after I had read a blog post containing details and a downloadable fix.

First, the problem. According to Microsoft, this problem "might occur while navigating to a website hosting considerable media content (for example: resulting in Internet Explorer displaying a dialog that states 'Internet Explorer has experienced a problem and needs to close'." Given that is the default home page for Internet Explorer 6, this could affect a lot of people.

Here's what it looked like on my system:


There's a workaround in the KB article that involves adding a new DWORD value to a registry key and setting it to 1. If you're comfortable mucking with the Registry, the steps are listed here.

[As noted in the update at the beginning of this post, Microsoft has now released its own version of the update file first created by Jesper Joohansson.]  

The much simpler point-and-click solution is available in this post by former Microsoft employee and current security MVP Jesper Johansson. He built a digitally signed executable that makes the required Registry changes automatically. If you encounter this problem or run into someone else who is stymied by it, use this file to resolve the problem quickly.

To load Internet Explorer and bypass a problematic home page, open the Run dialog box and use this command:

iexplore -nohome

If you've installed Internet Explorer 7 on Windows XP, you won't encounter this issue at all. Vista users don't have to worry either, because IE7 is installed by default on that OS.

Is this a harbinger of things to come? Officially, IE6 is still supported on Windows XP, according to Microsoft's support roadmap. But the same document says Microsoft "strongly recommend[s] that customers install the latest release version of Internet Explorer." At least in this case, anyone who already upgraded to IE7 is probably breathing a sigh of relief.

Topics: Browser, Microsoft

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  • IE7

    Having used Vista and IE7 for about 9 months now I'm not breathing any sigh of relief. The only thing keeping my home PC from having a reliability rating of 10 is the frequent (about once a week) IE7 crashes that act exactly like what is described in the article. The crash usually points to Flash as the culprit (and yes I've uninstalled and reinstalled the Flash OCX). I thought for the longest time that there was something flaky in the configuration on this one PC but I've recently purchased a new laptop with Vista and am experiencing the same problem with it.

    So it seems that I at least an probably many Vista users aer in worse shape as there is no remedy in sight for our issue.
    • That problem is the Flash plug-in

      Adobe could fix this if they wanted to spend the time and resources. It's especially bad for Vista x64.
      Ed Bott
      • At this point

        I switched to Firefox. I'm no Mozilla fangirl, but I can't help but exclaim about how much more reliable Firefox has been since I switched this past April. And even when Firefox crashes (it happens, but rarely, and the cause was mostly the Quicktime plug-in), I'm using Tab Mix Plus, which enables Firefox to automatically save the webpages I had open at the time *and* their individual histories. As a result, there's little time and (usually) no frustration between a crash and the resuming of my session.
  • some things very funny about this

    How in the world did Microsoft 'just happen' to have a registry-enabled fix ready to be used for this crashing? I really scratched my head about that one.

    Strange too that the other solution is supposed to be switching to IE7.

    Further, how does it 'just happen' that Adobe Flash is implicated in at least the Vista version of the problem? Hmm, competes with Silverlight, doesn't it.

    I really have no idea that these aren't just coincidences. I hope they are.
    Narr vi
    • Character Reputation Says Much

      A company that might stoop to "just happen" to introduce a problem in one of its own products in a way that discourages using competing products and encourages using newer products would indicate such in its past practices.

      For examples:

      - Having done so in the past, such as, say, Internet Explorer versus Netscape;

      - Pursuing business strategies aimed at inhibiting competitive market penetration, such as arranging contracts with OEM companies that bundle that one company's products while prohibiting competitive options;

      - Implementing license restrictions to drive up sales;

      - Produce products that are then forced on its own customers without their consent or option to refuse that the company then uses to deny use to in a way that generates additional revenues.

      If those circumstances applied to Microsoft, then it would be a logical conclusion that "... these aren't just coincidences."
  • Buisness Apps

    Problem is we still currently have to use IE6 at work because big name vendors have taken a long time to address changes to core business apps such as JD Edwards. They have released a fix for it but it also involves migrating databases to SQL2005 and a number of other things that will require major downtime at a busy time of year.

    Thank god for WUS :)
  • The real solution

    Switch to Firefox! :)

    Or Opera, or Seamonkey, or Flock, or anything else that isn't tied into the underlying OS, as Microsoft keeps telling the EU regulators.

    Also, try using websites that aren't heavily riddled with Flash content. Flash is very badly overused, and is a huge cpu hog, and destabilizes the browser. Same goes for Ajax, which is also very badly overused theses days, and overburdens the browser.

    And Silverlight has the same issues. Add to that, Java Applets can be a pain in browsers (but regular Swing apps delivered via Java web start are pretty decent).

    So basically, this post can be summed up as:
    1. IE sucks. It has suffered from years of neglect and bit rot at MS, only to be resurrected due to healthy competition from Firefox. Also, IE is tied into the the OS (again, as MS keeps telling the EU regulators). That's never a good thing, security and stability wise. A browser should run in it's own "sandboxed" memory space, completely separate from the underlying OS.
    2. RIA, and Web 2.0, is badly overused these days, and can overburden or destabilize browsers. And that includes Flash, Ajax, Silverlight, Java Applets, etc.
    • Message has been deleted.

      • This Is Just Another Ad Hominem Attack

        devoid of content in the insulting manner so typical of ShadeTree, NonZealot, No_Axe, rtk, and CNFrisch.
  • Bad luck

    All of you that complaint about every little thing that happens to your loaded PC, just must have bad luck.
    I have two PC's running Vista, no problem so far, ever. So I must be lucky, even though I am also running Windows Blind on them. I do have a PC that crashes all the time and is dead right now. Now, that one is running Linux! So now I have to find time, which is what is expensive with Linux. I know, for some of you, your time is worthless, but not for the most of us.

    I have the solution for all of Microsoft OS's. Let's start a new platform, no backward compatability, dump all your old programs, ganes, etc. Oh, are you already crying about that? Sorry, that is the way it shoul be,but no, you all want to run all your old stuff in your new computer. You all complaint about IE being behind the times, not having tabs, etc. Now IE7 has it and then some of you bitch about IE6, I bet you have the latest Firefox, so why should anyone be running IE6?. Try running any old Apple program, let's say from 4 years ago, in your new Mac.
    At least I get to play my old Win 95 Pac Man game in Vista.
    • Tell us a question, Cool Boy

      What makes you think Microsoft won't come after you when they have vanquished the rest of the world?

      Ever done any gambling? Your luck won't hold up forever. WGA will get you sooner or later. Or maybe you don't mind ponying up for a new license at the toss of the dice?
      Ole Man
    • Microsoft Has A Great Record of Delivering Bad Luck

      From their "Windows Genuine Advantage" that only disrupts honest customers:

      The above link especially refutes the claim that Windows is the right choice for someone who values his or her time. This person suffered real damages to his livelihood as a result of Microsoft's WGA. His experience is not unique. Microsoft has not even apologized for the damages they have caused, much less made deserved restitution.

      More links:

      Vista features the same problems:

      as well as unreasonably limited licensing. Now Microsoft brings its loyal customers stealth updates:

      Choosing Linux or Apple over Windows is an intelligent informed choice for avoiding unreliable products from a company that has switched to deceitful business practices with utter disregard for its honest customers.