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Repairing corrupt IE installations

After church last night I looked at one of the computers in the office. Internet Explorer wouldn’t run on it. Or, specifically, the Internet Connection Wizard wouldn’t run, so IE wouldn’t run. Unnecessary parts strike again. Whatever happened to Web browsers that just used whatever TCP/IP connection was available? Oh yeah. If you do that, then you don’t get a chance to bother people about signing up for an MSN account. I forgot. Of course, no one actually does that. They call their favorite computer expert and ask why Internet Explorer doesn’t run. Sometimes you can make things so easy you make them hard. And the grizzled veteran always either clicks through it, or if they don’t have an account, signs them up for Earthlink out of spite.
But, as always, I digress.

Anyway, I ran SFC.exe. It found changed/corrupted files, but it didn’t make a difference. I went to Add/Remove Programs, picked Internet Explorer, and told it to repair IE. That didn’t help either. I reinstalled IE. That didn’t help either–some DLLs related to the ICW failed to register.

At times I’ve used IEradicator to remove a severely corrupted IE, then I’ve reinstalled it. So I downloaded IEradicator, ran it, rebooted, let it do its thing, and was surprised to see IE on the desktop when it returned. I clicked on the IE icon. It worked perfectly.

I guess at some point he upgraded IE, but it clashed with the old one. IEradicator removed that top layer, but not what was laying beneath it. I’ve seen some strange things before, but this ranks right up there.

When faced with severe IE problems, the best tools you can have in your arsenal are IEradicator, to remove the old version whether Control Panel will let you remove it or not, and OffByOne, a tiny standalone Web browser that fits on a single floppy, which you can use to go download the current version of a more complete browser. Download them now and squirrel a few copies away someplace safe, before you need them.

The behavior I saw last night was completely unexpected, and completely unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. But I didn’t complain. At least it works now.

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4 thoughts on “Repairing corrupt IE installations”

  1. Cool.
    I had something like this happen to me last weekend.

    The ral danger is when the corrupt IE leads to a bad explorer.exe and the inability to boot. Then you have to jump through some hoops to get your machine up.

  2. Bad explorer.exe isn’t too much of a problem. Boot into DOS, edit win.ini or system.ini (I forget which) and look for the shell=explorer.exe line. Change it to shell=progman.exe (the old Win3.x program manager) and you’ll have enough to get running again. Change it back when things are working right again (unless you like Program Manager–I’ve only ever met one person who did).

  3. Last night I ran IEradicator on my win2k box and totally removed it, and didn’t reinstall it. Mozilla is more than enough broswer for my daily needs. Plus I like just having my system IE free.

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