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Cannot view SHTML locally with IE6 and WinXP

What happened since Win98?



10:15 am on Dec 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

After reading some of the posts here, I feel like a real newbie even though I've been designing and maintaining several volunteer websites for a few years. I just upgraded my computer from comfortable old Win98 to WinXP SP2 (no snickering, please). Used IE6 on Win98 and continue to use it on WinXP. My HTML editor is, for the most part, Arachnophilia (or SuperEdi when I need to make a quick edit). The current website I designed and maintained has used SHTML pages for over a year.

Here's the problem: Until the switch to WinXP, I never had a problem viewing my SHTML pages while offline (on my local computer) using IE6; the "include" parts of the page would simply not display but the rest of the page would. Now, IE6 refuses to display the page at all. In Arachnophilia, I receive an error message that IE can't find the file (which Arachnophilia converts into a temporary file while I'm working on it). In SuperEdi, IE will not even open. If I try to open an SHTML file directly from an open IE browser page (locally), the open page simply flickers. And If I try to open an SHTML file from Windows Explorer, an error message says, "Windows cannot find the file." Somewhere in all my fiddling with settings, I managed to get an IE browser page to display an SHTML file--but it displayed the CODE and not the "webpage." I can't remember now how I got IE to do that. No problems viewing SHTML pages once they are uploaded to the web.

Interestingly, my Netscape 7.0 browser can open these SHTML files perfectly while I am offline, displaying them in their entirety except for the "includes." This leads me to believe that this is a combination WinXP/IE6 problem. I have the security settings in WinXP IE6 set as they were under Win98. I've disabled the Windows Firewall just in case that might be a factor. I have associated the SHTML file type with Internet Explorer. I am now at a loss! Anyone have a solution or a suggestion? TIA.


12:13 pm on Dec 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member kaled is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

I have Win2K fired up at the moment so I can't be certain, however, from memory, .shtml files are not associated with Internet Explorer by default under XP.

Check the icon when viewing the file with Explorer.
Try right-click¦open with then select IE.
Alternatively, try Explorer¦Tools¦Folder Options¦File Types.

Alternatively, if you're comfortable editing the registry by hand, that should be easy too.



6:12 pm on Dec 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Thanks, kaled. Have tried associating SHTML files with IE, but no joy.

Also, I d/l the new Firefox. It, as well as Netscape 7.0, will launch as Arachnophilia's browser viewer just fine whether I want to view SHTML or HTML; it's just IE that's a problem in Arachnophilia. In SuperEdi, none of the three browsers will open SHTML, but plain old HTML files will open. This was not an issue under Win98 (although I can't say for Firefox), so I'm thinking XP is the bottom-line culprit.

Have browsed some XP forums but not had any luck on this issue.

Am still open to suggestions.


6:29 pm on Dec 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

this is an sp2 problem. As far as I recall, you need to change your local security settings and allow scripts to run. xp is considering shtml files to be scripts.

I used to sell a CD of my site: 2000 pages of shtml. Due to sp2, I had to change the whole thing to .html pages again which was a major PITA seeing as my site continues to be .shtml

This, by the way, was the one big thing that pushed me to switch to FF and I've never looked back. I strongly suggest you do the same.


8:48 pm on Dec 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Thanks, esllou. As you suggested, I changed the local security settings to allow scripts to run, but nothing changed. Then I got to thinking that, if scripts are DISabled, how am I able to view my SHTML pages at all (on the web)? Even when they're not cached, they still display properly in spite of the "disable scripts" function.

You said you had to switch your site from SHTML to HTML because of SP2. Did your SHTML site display on the web to SP2 users, or was it only the CD that was a problem? If this is really an issue with anyone using SP2, then I should think about either converting the site back to HTML or using another trick I read about somewhere in this forum. Can't remember offhand what it is, but it allows you to use SHTML through another layer (I know I'm not describing this correctly, but some of you will know what I mean).

For my own viewing, I agree that I should simply switch to FF or another browser. It's just that this quirk with IE and XP is driving me buggy AND I'm now concerned about visitors to my site--even though I've received no complaints that people can't see my SHTML pages.


10:17 pm on Dec 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

WSW...I only meant I had to change the CD of my site. I most certainly did NOT change my site. It's only on the local system that you have problems.

If you search G for "local security shtml sp2" or something similar, you'll find what you want.

When you get the html source as you described, try refreshing it. That seemed to work for me. Not that it's a solution, mind...

This is a problem that I had 2 years back and I think I solved it by fiddling with internet options (such as checking the "allow scripts to run locally" or some such option...I have windows in italian so I don't know what it is in English) but just for so long as I could sort out my site CD...then I ran as fast as my legs could carry me to FF.


2:05 am on Dec 4, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member encyclo is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

tedster started a very useful thread recently about the problems encountered with the default local security settings in IE6 with SP2:


If you are developing sites stored on your machine, I would stronly recommend installing a local server. Although IIS is available for Windows XP, I would recommend Apache 2.x instead:


You just add entries in your hosts file and create virtual hosts for each site you are running locally.

(At the time of writing, Apache 2.0.55 is the latest version available as a binary for Windows, although Apache 2.2 has been released.)

For the CD projects, you might want to check out the Server2Go [server2go-web.de] project linked in that thread.


7:23 am on Dec 4, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Thank you, all, for your input! The discussion was really getting over my head, especially the part about installing a local server--I'm not that much of a techie. I found the suggestions to be good launching points for learning more and for trying some other settings. I actually hit upon the solution, which turned out to be a two-parter. For the benefit of anyone else who may be facing the same problem (and who might be using Arachnophilia or SuperEdi--does anyone?), here's what I found out:

Part of the answer was enabling the IE Internet Option feature, "Allow active content to run in files on My Computer." (How did I miss seeing this option before?) Enabling this allowed my SHTML pages to display in the SuperEdi text editor, but they still wouldn't display in Arachnophilia 5.2. THAT answer lay within the Arachnophilia program itself, in addition to enabling the "active content" feature described above. Arachnophilia has a feature to configure browsers, and I had to DISable an option to "Jump to doc pos (may fail embedded scripts)."

Whew. Now I can get some sleep. Thanks, again, folks.


11:17 am on Dec 4, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

"Allow active content to run in files on My Computer."

that's the one!

or, in Italian, "consenti l'esecuzione di contenuto attivo in file su computer" :-)


4:30 pm on Dec 4, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



11:56 pm on Dec 4, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Well, technically extensions dont matter at all. The reason it makes no diff on the server is hat the mime type for both .html and .shtml files will be returned as text/html which is what the browser pays attention too. I suspect that on your system shtml are not set to text/html mime type. If you change that, all should be well. Alternatively I suggest runnign all your files as html and configuring your server to parse the includes on html files as well.

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