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Is there some final handshake that's needed and commonly missing for these server-side scripts?
Plus, I've just tried the Opera configuration that saves space by displaying the status bar only when needed, and then it's over the location bar - so now it's painfully obvious when a download hangs.
However, their sysadmin and I just went over a few things on the phone, and it looks like we got rid of the problem by changing one of the server set-up items under "enable scripts/executables". I'm still quite mystified and not 100% sure we have it even now. But now for the first time, Opera will finish the download.
This site has also been having trouble getting pages fully indexed by Google - something like 80% of their urls are just showing in "we know it's there" mode after 14 months. So I have a sense this is not just an Opera problem but is also affecting Googlebot and most likely other user agents here and there.
However, I only saw the problem with Opera, not IE, FF or Safari. And as I said, I see it on many other sites when I browse, so it's some common configuration thing.
I'm going to get some server logs from them tomorrow and see what story they tell.
It's built-in, but I don't think it's enabled by default. The article doesn't make it very clear, but I assume it is gzip compression.
I've also learned that neither one is enabled by default. You need to enable the ISAPI.dll and then create a new web service extension that lists one required file - \Windows\System32\inetsrv\gzip.dll - this is apparently the ISAPI that does both gzip and deflate compression.
I think it's worth my probing this direction a bit more, but I realize it may be a red herring. I started with what looked like a browser problem and now I'm deep into the server setup!