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Can't View Source

What Happened?



5:31 pm on Apr 24, 2001 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Sometime yesterday, I began having a problem with my copy of IE5.5 not being able to view the source code of web pages. I'm sure these aren't pages with any js that disables the view source because I have had other people check and they have had no problem.

The other strange thing is that the problem seems to come and go. The menu option is never greyed out, it just doesn't do anything.

Any ideas as to what would cause this? I think I will loose my mind going a whole day without peeking at other people's code. :)


8:11 pm on Apr 24, 2001 (gmt 0)

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

Sounds very strange. A couple questions:

1) You are talking about fully downloaded pages, right?

2) You said that clicking on View Source does nothing at all. The text editor doesn't even open, even blank? But it does open on other pages.

3) Is this random, or do the same URLs always show the same behavior?


3:37 pm on Jun 24, 2001 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I came across this thread while trying to resolve this same problem. Still have no answers and can't find any resolution on the microsoft web site.

1 - yes, fully downloaded web pages
2 - clicking 'edit' on the tool bar, the 'view source' is disabled.
3 - right clicking on the page, the 'view source' is disabled
4 - it does not happen on every web page, but it does on the majority of them
5 - yes, the same URL's always exhibit the same behavior
6 - yes, I'm using IE 5.5

Has anyone else out there experienced the same problem?
Does anyone have any answers?
ANY help would be greatly appreciated.


3:49 pm on Jun 24, 2001 (gmt 0)

Have you tried finding the top of left corner of browser click View then Source or try saving the web page to your hard drive then opening it with Notepad or some other text editor?


6:34 pm on Jun 24, 2001 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Actually, when I posted above that I click 'edit' on the toolbar, I meant to put, "View". So yes, I've tried clicking "View" on the toolbar and then "Source", but it is disabled (greyed out) as well as when I right click on the page.

The only way I can "save" the page is from "Temporary Internet Files", but that is not the point. My browser is not working right because it is disabling some features I should have and I just wanted to know if anyone else was experiencing this same problem, and if they are, is there a fix?

Thanks for the reply and suggestion, though!! I appreciate it.


9:59 pm on Jun 24, 2001 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

As an alternative, use:


in the IE url line. This is useful for displaying the source of files other than HTML, too.


2:35 am on Jun 25, 2001 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Thank you for that handy format, I know it will come in useful. If I find out what the problem is with IE, I'll be sure to post it back here again. Obviously I'm not the only one experiencing it, but it just does not seem to be a wide-spread problem.

Thanks again,


9:15 am on Jun 27, 2001 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Funny, I thought it was me going mad. I had exactly the same problem but intermittently. A full reboot would sometimes see the problem go away (only to come back).

It got on my nerves so much I've gone back to IE5 and can happily view sources again.



10:49 am on Jun 27, 2001 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

thanks joshie!
I found that a reboot solves the problem for me too...TEMPORARILY

I would LOVE to go back to IE5, except that IE5 has a problem with my anti-virus program that was corrected with IE5.5 ~sigh~

Thanks for letting me know it isn't just me.


6:19 am on Jul 8, 2001 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

This may sound stupid... but it works. Delete your temporary internet files from the internet options menu. Whola! View source will work again!


8:11 pm on Jul 8, 2001 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

hmmmm, thanks! will do that too.

btw, does anyone know how to report these kinds of bugs to MS?


6:56 am on Jul 9, 2001 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

I found the solution for this bug on the microsoft IE newsgroup. It seems to be a know issue.


7:12 pm on Aug 6, 2001 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

The same thing happened to me recently and I have no idea how it happened or what started it. I also am using IE 5.5 and had been for some time when out of the blue, View Source stopped working. I'll try the solution posted earlier and see if it solves the problem. Like you, I'm glad I'm not the only one who is seeing this problem. Thanks in advance for any helpful suggestions, Tom


6:03 am on Aug 21, 2001 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Almost the same thing just started for me as well. View->Source is disabled in the menu bar and the contextual menu for the page. Almost every page is affected. Totally bizarre.

Windows 2000 Pro, IE 5.50.4522.1800, SP1, Q279328.


6:31 am on Aug 21, 2001 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Start > Run > regedit

Navigate to [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\
View Source Editor\Editor Name] and see what's listed. You can specify your own editor by adding a string value (REG_SZ) and providing the path to your editor. You must use the DOS LFN trick, ie: c:\Program Files\ becomes c:\Progra~1\

Once again, messing with your registry can result in a disaster. I'm sure most of you have edited it at some point. Just be careful. You might have to reboot.


1:34 pm on Aug 21, 2001 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I followed the solution that msr986 posted (deleting the temporary internet files) and it worked like a champ. I don't know what the connection is (must be something with size of the temporary files), but it's no longer an issue for me. Thanks for the help.


2:41 pm on Aug 21, 2001 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Just by the by bartek, I had a look under [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Internet Explorer] under IE5.5, and there's no entry apparant relating to the View Source Editor.

Yet another miscellaneous 'feature'..?


3:47 pm on Aug 21, 2001 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

That's why you can't view source :)
You might have to create the relevant keys below ...\Internet Explorer, NetGrease. In the left pane right click and select New Key. Name it View Source Editor. On the right create string value (Default). Don't set the value. Within View Source Editor on the left create another key and name it Editor Name. Right click in the right pane, select new > string value. Name it (Default) and provide the path to your editor. If your editor sits in C:\Program Files\Editor\editor.exe, the path needs to be C:\PROGRA~1\Editor\editor.exe

I really don't know what the relation is between source viewer and temporary internet files. The layout above mirrors my registry, as far as I know this should be common to all win machines. Perhaps others who can view source ok can confirm this?


5:49 pm on Aug 21, 2001 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member


I am running Win98 IE5.5 sp2.

I do *not* have the reg key you mention. My view source works fine (with notepad). I searched my reg for "notepad" and the only place I found it was for the "Edit" function under the "file" menu.

As far as deleting the temporary files to fix the view source, it seems that IE tries to create a temp file for the source code. If your IE temp directory is full, this function does not clean out old files to make room; The request just fails!


8:05 pm on Aug 21, 2001 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I also noticed the same problem with IE5.5 on Win98. I upgraded to IE6... even tho its a beta, its much better then the quirks of IE5.5


9:31 pm on Aug 21, 2001 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member


I guess I should have set this thread to email notification. It's at least nice to know that it seems to be just another MS bug of some kind.

The problem doesn't happen as often as it used to, but it did happen last week. I'm pretty diligent about cleaning out my temporary files regularly, so I think it's probably a combination of things. I'm going to set up a daily maintenance run to automatically clean out everything to see if it will go away completely.


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