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IE8 information bar is suddenly appearing for my local start page
Robert Charlton

 1:50 am on Oct 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

My IE8 information bar is suddenly appearing whenever I load my local start page, asking me to approve Active-X or javascript trying to run. The problem is, there is no js or scripting of any kind on the page... it's just a local html page filled with text links to pages I frequently use.

The information bar appearances have just started. I've been using this page for years. I can see nothing in the source that would suggest a scripting action of any kind. This is really plain-vanilla HTML. No changes that I know of or can find.

Needless to say, the information bar is a PITA... but I don't want to disable the bar. I want to find out why this is happening in case it is signaling something that might be a problem. I should add that this is not happening with most websites I run, so it's not as if the bar appears whenever I load a page.

I'm wondering if any sort of malware might have tried to latch onto the page, if this is possible on a local page. Scans I've run so far suggest nothing. Initial research has been fruitless.

Cache flushed, etc. Actually, I have it set to self flush whenever the browser restarts, but I manually flushed it, and also restarted my machine. I haven't flushed the history, because I actually like having the history available for reference... as long as it's on my machine and not on Google ;) .

Any thoughts before I waste a lot of time?



 3:56 am on Oct 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

This is the setting under Control Panel->Internet Options->Advanced->Security "Allow active content to run in files on My Computer".

If this box is unchecked, then loading any locally-stored Web page seems to trigger the information bar, even if there is no Active-X or JavaScript content on the page. Checking the box, applying the change, and re-starting MSIE makes the warnings go away. (I just re-tested this).

As far as I can recall, this has been the behavior ever since the information bar came into existence (with MSIE 6?).

Is it possible that you've done an update (or anything) which could have reset the Internet Options Security settings to default recently?

I rarely run into this problem as I have a different browser set as my default browser. So when I have to test locally with IE, I just confirm the information bar warning and go on.



 4:48 am on Oct 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

Ah yes, Explorer's crazy patch job for local security. You can also try this:

Use the "Mark Of The Web" (MOTW) on your HTML document. MOTW is a comment tag placed right after the DTD, and it looks like this:

<!-- saved from url=(0014)about:internet -->

The key here is that the number in parens is the character count of the string (url) that follows it, in this case the 14-character string "about:internet"

Robert Charlton

 7:38 am on Oct 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

Thanks for your quick replies. The only updates I've done were the recent MS security updates for Windows XP, SP3, Office, etc. I've learned not to argue with them and just let them install. That way it's only grief every year or two (like now) instead of at every update.

Just tried MOTW... which seemed to be the less restrictive option so I tried it first... and talk about obscure bits of effective information, this is like the Mark of Zorro on steroids. ;)

Works like a charm. Thank you!

Mark of the Web
MSDN Library
http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms537628(VS.85).aspx [msdn.microsoft.com]

The Mark of the Web (MOTW) is a feature of Windows Internet Explorer that enhances security by enabling Internet Explorer to force Web pages to run in the security zone of the location the page was saved from—as long as that security zone is more restrictive than the Local Machine zone—instead of the Local Machine zone. The role of the MOTW is more prominent with Microsoft Internet Explorer 6 for Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2) because of increased security restrictions in the Local Machine zone. When you are developing Web content, the MOTW enables you to test your active HTML documents in the security zone where you intend the pages to run. Adding the MOTW to your Web pages also enables you to fully test their compatibility with users' security settings.

I don't know why I haven't seen this problem with local pages before now.


 8:51 pm on Oct 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

I know! A few years back I needed to burn a website onto CD for about 100 people to play locally. In the end I embedded a small server on the CD, but MOTW was another option that I also considered.

That research was the first I'd even heard of it. And then I became even more convinced that Redmond had seriously lost the plot.

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