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Strange Problem... Please Help!

Simple JavaScript commands won't work offline



10:20 am on Mar 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Hi All,

I'm very perplexed...

The simplest of JavaScript commands have suddenly stopped working when browsing in IE locally on my PC. But they DO work online.

For example...

Using the code
<a href="javascript:history.back()">Go Back</a>
on one of my html pages has never been a problem.

However, I recently detected some SpyWare on my PC which I removed using AdAware. AND THAT'S when the JavaScript commands stopped working locally.

ONE OBSERVATION... When I do click the "Go Back" link, the little Windows Logo in the upper right corner of IE "waves" as though it's searching or waiting for some process to be executed.

Please Help! Either the malicious files or AdAware has somehow affected some files or settings on my PC.

I've checked my IE settings, and they are as they've always been, or at least so it seems.

Any suggestions?



12:03 pm on Mar 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

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

This sounds like an XP SP2 problem (but without the notification bar at the top).

Whilst a simple registry hack may fix it, finding the answer may take forever. Unless you absolutely must use IE, I would recommend downloading Firefox. That, at least, will get you going again. You can then use spare time to try to fix the problem with IE.



12:07 pm on Mar 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Any suggestions?
Of course, but perhaps too many. I've found some possible causes for the problem. It'll be useful if you can provide some additional info.
  • Possible problem: The spyware migth had altered important files that IE needs to run scripting, and the software you used to remove it has not been able to restore them completely. This normally happens due to indirect harms caused by the spyware that are virtually impossible to trace.
    Possible solution: Reinstalling IE should restore every damaged file.
  • Possible problem: Same as above, but the spyware migth have harmed Windows system files instead of only IE files.
    Possible solution: Unless you're able to repair these files (for example, detecting them and copying from a non-infected computer), you migth need to reinstall Windows. Fortunately, Windows provides many reparation and maintenance tools.
  • Possible problem: The spyware, or even a virus, has infected the anti-spyware software itself, so it doesn't work properly.
    Possible solution: If you got the software from internet, try to get it from the manufacturer through a secure connection (https, non-anonymous ftp, etc) to ensure it doesn't get harmed. Also, running it from a read-only device (CD-ROM, protected diskette, etc) would make impossible for the malicious software to harm it: even if the virus is continuously asking your drive to write something on the CD, if the drive is not able to write, it won't write.
  • Possible problem: Your anti-spyware software has not removed completely the spyware. Even if the manufacturer of the anti-spyware claims a 100% efficacy, they have no way to know if a new spyware has appeared that sneaks through security systems. Actually, they DO know that each day hundreds of malicios softwares, harder to detect and clean than the previous ones, appear.
    Possible solution: Unfortunately, no direct solution can get rid of wicked, sneaky, malicious software (thats not completely true, see below). Since each anti-spyware product uses its own techniques, maybe another product can detect and clean this. Also, it's possible to handly trace, detect and kill an unwanted piece of software, but this is almost like hunting an ant trought the south-american jungles using a rocket launcher; I mean that there is a lot of info to analyze and is very easy to cause very ugly side effects.
  • The ultimate desperate solution to any software problem when everything else fails aka tUDStaSPwEeF :) : format all hard disks (using low-level formatting if needed). Returning to the previous metaphore, this would be like storming the jungle with hundreds of nuclear weapons per square centimetre. Even it migth seem an exageration, it makes sure that the ant will not survive. Anyway, you migth evacuate the jungle before storming it (this is, you should backup your data before the format), and planting new trees' seeds after that (so, reinstalling all software and data as you need it).

If you can provide me more info, I can provide you more specific solutions. Let's say:
- Does the problem extends to other browsers? If a Netscape works properly, for example, it's almost sure that by reinstalling IE the problem will disappear, and viceversa. Note that some 'browsers' are no more than a shell for IE, and with these the problem will of course persist. Look at the Help/About box on the browser to check that.
- Has the anti-spyware tool got an 'undo' feature? If so, does IE work properly after undoing?
- Which Windows and IE versions do you use? Some (let's be honest: all) MS products have bugs than only get releveant in strange, concret configurations. Also, knowing which version of windows you run implies knowing which system utilities you have available.

I suggest you to answer this and try specific solutions before applying the radical tUDStaSPwEeF ;)

Hoping be useful
Webmaster, Programmer & Ill Freak :P


7:34 pm on Mar 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

try <a href="javascript:history.go(-1)">Go Back</a>


9:03 pm on Mar 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

***Thanks for the feedback***

I installed an old copy of Netscape 4.0 that I had laying around.

And the JS commands (such as MouseOver, ect) DO work in Navigator.

So it appears that IE has been compromised by the earlier episode I had with the SpyWare.


QUESTIONS... I've never done a fresh install of IE.

1. Should I first remove my present version of IE
2. Besides saving my Bookmarks & ISP settings, is there anything else I should do.
3. Finally, where do I get a copy of IE 6? Should I use the CD that came with my DELL PC or go online and get something from MicroSoft.

Thanks again for everyone's help,


5:09 pm on Mar 8, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

QUESTIONS... I've never done a fresh install of IE.

1. Should I first remove my present version of IE
2. Besides saving my Bookmarks & ISP settings, is there anything else I should do.
3. Finally, where do I get a copy of IE 6? Should I use the CD that came with my DELL PC or go online and get something from MicroSoft.


1. It's not strictly needen, but I'd encourage you to do so. This way, it'll be more difficult for the damaged files to remain there (if this is actually the source of the problem).
2. Your ISP settings should be managed by Windows, and not IE, even when you can change and check them from IE's options dialog. Cookies may also be saved if needed (search for a '[grey]cookies[/grey]' folder in your system). Besides this, IE does not need any info to be saved.
3. If you have a CD-ROM, it's the safest way to reinstall IE. Afterwards, you should connect to Windows Update to get the versions you want (take the last you're able to).

Hoping be useful,


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