Internet Explorer 7 – tearing my hair out

Bill Gates announced the release of the second beta of Microsoft’s new browser – the first in, what, five years? – Internet Explorer 7.

Gates dedicated a fairly big chunk of his keynote address (watch it here) at the Mix06 conference in Las Vegas to the new browser, so I thought I might as well download and see what Microsoft has been up to.

Internet Explorer is still used by over 90 percent of all Net users to get online – thanks almost entirely to it coming pre-installed with Windows. As an IT journalist, it’s easy to forget this sometimes as everyone you know long ago shifted to Opera or Firefox because Explorer is so out-of-date and is a veritable swiss cheese of a browser when it comes to security.

Gates actually accepted this in his speech, saying: “Our browser is clearly down the learning curve with what you have to do with rich, rich security, dramatically more than any other browser.”

Nonetheless, it will be Explorer 7 that ships with the next version of Windows – Vista – later this year and Microsoft has been working hard on the new browser (by which, read “has been stealing all the best ideas of its rivals”), so whether you like it or not if you are ever going to design something for the Web, you’d best check it out this latest browser.

So I downloaded it. It comes in at a hefty 11.2MB.

And you have to restart Windows to get it running. Then it takes a while setting itself up before you can get into Windows. And then you have to run through Microsoft’s validation system (checking you don’t have pirated Microsoft software on your computer). And then it takes about five mintues checking all your settings (which is odd as I am entirely up-to-date).

So finally, you get there, and… and… nothing. No pages come up. I check I’m not in offline mode. I’m not. It’s just Explorer can’t connect.

I type in Google manually – at which point my firewall software reveals that Explorer is trying to monitor all my keystrokes and mouse-clicks and all the websites I visit – which already annoys me because this should be a opt-in thing and you should be warned about it – but Microsoft has included it without no option.

I check all the settings, shut Explorer down. Open it up. Still nothing. I am connected through a LAN for chrissakes – you can’t get a much easier Net connection than that. I open up Firefox – connection fine.

Obviously I can’t access Explorer help pages through Explorer because I don’t have a connection. And it won’t let me set up an Internet connection either.

So I search using Firefox for any connection issues with Explorer 7 Beta 2, and I find a host of problems from other users. Microsoft’s advice is to turn off “automatically detect settings” for a LAN and turn them on for a dial-up. I do all this. Still nothing.

Maybe Explorer insists on Windows XP’s firewall being on, I reason (I use ZoneAlarm Pro so don’t bother with XP’s firewall). So I do that. Still nothing. I go back and try out every possible permutation and combination of connection settings, shutting down and restarting Explorer each time. Nothing, nothing, nothing.

I disconnect from the LAN and connect to my network over a wireless connection, and try again. Guess what? Yep. Nothing.

So, in summary: I can't get Explorer to connect to the Internet. Which, since it is an Internet browser is not exactly an ideal state of affairs.

I was going to write about its new tabbed browsing, the new phishing filter, the inclusion of CSS, png image files, RSS, even Microsoft’s Atlas approach but I can’t, because I can’t get it to connect to the Internet while every other browser I have on my Windows XP machine seems to have no problem at all.

I did open up a few of my webpages off my hard drive to check the design held up. One thing I will give Explorer 7 – the fonts look lovely. Almost edible.

  1. Yes, it’s a kind of odd. Bought a brand new notebook today, got it up and running and decided to update explorer. went through some hasle cause i killed of all the win32 rubbish with sygate but hey presto, it coms in, takes a yar to download and install and guess what? Nothing! Only when i connect through wireless it links up. But over my LAN? Nothing! Tried everything but it just don’t work. Installed firefox and gott over it. Explorer 7, it’s impossible indeed to be more secure, it just won’t go on the internet!

  2. My ie7 was updated with a clean install of xp sp2 and works as it should. but having the same prob, zone alarm popping up saying ie was prevented from monitoring mouse and keystrokes??? 1st thought is a trojan. done virus scan and nothing. so does ie track and monitor what you type.

  3. Same problem with connecting IE to internet, Firefox works fine, but several apps, e.g., Quicken, etc. also neet (???) IE to connect, won’t with FireFox – really frustating

  4. Just downloaded “updated” Explorer having been offered this by a prompt and now I cannot connect to the internet. It tells me that my Firewall may be the problem though nothing has changed and that I may need to “contact my ISP! One step forward and two back! I am NOT a computer know-all and am now flummoxed!

  5. Just downloaded “updated” Explorer as well, having been offered this by a prompt and now I cannot connect to the internet. Biggest load of crap I’ve ever seen from MS.

  6. same problem guys just baught a new HP notebook decided to upload IE7 and guess what…it just dont work! it says have to check my firewall settings but i did everything in the books and it just doesnt work?? any answers?

  7. Ok. Get THIS. Same problem with a twist! I had IE7 on my notebook. All of a sudden it won’t connect to the internet. We wrestled with it for awhile then uninstalled it. It STILL won’t connect to the internet!
    Calling microsoft did not help, suprise suprise. I am NOT paying $25 for something their software did to my computer.
    Let me know if anyone figures this out.

    It was my Norton (security/antivirus/whatthehellever). SOmething about IE7 had triggerd it to start prompting me to install (it came with my laptop but I had turned it off in favor of other software). I COMPLETELY removed it and jumped right online.
    GO figure.
    Hope this works for someone else.

  9. Hey I had the same problem. I uninstalled ie7 and ie6 wouldn’t connect. So I reinstalled ie7 and still nothing. All the while Mozilla worked. Then I turned the local firewall on (Am on a network using ISA server) and ie7 worked. Turned it off again and ie7 still works. Fantastic stuff this microsoft makes.

  10. Yes ! I also am getting the same problem. Firefox is fine and IE7 won’t connect to internet. I switched off my firewall and still nothing. It started happening to me since 24 Jan. 2007.. .Weird

  11. Guess What !!! My connection settings changed to use Proxy Server. I did not change them but somehow with last update it got messed up. I changed it back to “Automatically detect…” and it’s fine now.

  12. Same thing happened to me as did Manish. IE7 worked just fine until about 2 days ago. Must be a Microsoft conspiracy. 🙂

    Strange thing! Just before posting this i opened microsoft word to type some stuff and it crashed on me, its never done that before until recently just like IE7. Maybe they’re forcing customers to upgrade to Vista.

  13. I just installed Vista Business and now my IE 7 won’t connect to Internet. Firefox works fine. Pulling my hair out here…

  14. Cracked the PROXY thing!!! with IE7, it looks like you have to document the proxy info TWICE if you are using a VPN. Once in the usual “Connections” Tab, pressing the “LAN Connections” button, and also once by selecting your VPN icon in the “VPN Settings” window, then pressing “Settings” and RE-ENTERING ALL THE INFO!!!, proxy name etc…suddenly, my IE7 found its way to the Internet. un%!”&$!%believable

    Good luck!

  15. had the same same problem with I.E 7 nor finding the ISP. I run Zone Alarm and this was causing the problem. I logged on to and there was a resolution there which cured the problem.

  16. To echo everyone above:

    Installed Internet Explorer 7; it won’t connect to the internet while Firefox still does. Other applications that have been affected include iTunes, Quicken, TurboTax . . .

    What to do?

  17. I had the same problem, and on the basis of things I read here, decided to try something: Control Panel>Internet Options>Connections>LAN Settings. I UNchecked the box next to “Use a proxy server for your LAN” and now everything works fine!

  18. IE7 just stopped working on 2 machines over the last couple of weeks, but every other connection (Mozilla, Firefox, Norton Updates, M$ Updates!) on my laptop, and on my desktop. Removed IE7 and installed IE6 on one. Same problem. Switched of Norton Firewall – IE6 works again, and on the other machine IE7 works. Am wondering if there was either a IE explorer update that messed up Norton/Symantec, or a Norton/Symantic error that messed up IE….. anyway reset Norton/Symantec to allow IE access thru the firewall and its all okay now.

  19. Here you go guys…. A FIX

    a possible cause of network connectivity problems is the mis-configuration or the corruption of the Winsock protocol on the computer. This protocol is used by Windows to communicate with other computers and to access resources on the Internet, such as e-mail and Web sites. If there is a problem with Winsock, Windows Vista will no longer be able to access the Internet.

    Caution Programs that access or that monitor the Internet, such as antivirus programs, firewall programs, and proxy clients, may be adversely affected when you reset the configuration of the Winsock protocol. If you have a program that no longer functions correctly after you follow these steps, you may have to uninstall and then reinstall the program to restore its functionality, or you may have to repair the program by using the application’s Setup program.

    After the restore point has been successfully created, reset the configuration of the Winsock protocol back to its default settings. To do this, follow these steps:
    1. Click Start, and in Search, type cmd. (be sure to search entire C: drive and system files.)

    2. Right-click the cmd entry that appears in the search results, and then click Run as administrator. If you are prompted for an administrator password or for a confirmation, type the password, or click Continue.

    3. At the command prompt, type the following, and then press ENTER after each:

    Then, you should see the following message:
    Successfully reset the Winsock Catalog. You must restart the computer in order to complete the reset.

    4. Restart the computer.

    Note If you receive an “Access Denied” error message instead of the message that is mentioned in step 3, the command prompt was not correctly elevated. In this case, close the Command Prompt window, and repeat steps 1 through 3. Make sure that you correctly implement step 2.

    Hope this helps… Let me know if it does…

  20. OK I’m runnin WinXP SP2 with internet explorer 7.0.
    My problem was norton internet security (the firewall in particular). I had to open up the firewall settings for program access, then remove the Microsoft Internet Explorer entry. then close and reboot. In theory when you run IE after that, it should automatically detect it and ask how you want to handle it (ie permit all, block all, etc). But this never happened. So I had to go back into the norton firewall programs tab and add it back manually.
    Voilà it works now

  21. Thanks djigoo! Have been going round and round on this IE7 problem for hours and your simple solution worked. Magic!

  22. fantastic – this helped. I had to add it back manually as well.

  23. Hello all, i have tried all of the above and still i cannot get IE7 to connect. Firefox hunky dory but IE7 nil point. I only need to access IE7 just to do something that FF won’t access. Can’t uninstall IE7 as using Vista. Really gonna cry over this. Proxy, firewall, winsock done them all but to no avail. PLEASE HELP!!!!!!!!! Thank you in advance.

  24. Thank god for Mozilla Firefox. I had the weirdest problem since the IE6 automatically updated to IE7. IE7 connects to https://, but not http://
    Tried unsinstalling IE7, reinstalling, checked for virus and malwares, did all kinds of stuff I can come up with to no avail.

    Finally, i followed a tip from above: Control Panel>Internet Options>Connections>LAN Settings. I UNchecked the box next to “Use a proxy server for your LAN” Then check “Automatically detect settings”

    Can you imagine millions of poor users without Firefox, suddenly unable to explore the internet on the internet explorer and can’t even look up help on sites like this?

  25. IE7 SUCKS!!!!!!SUCKS!!!!!!SUCKS!!!!!!SUCKS!!!!!!SUCKS!!!!!!SUCKS!!!!!!

  26. I’m so glad I stumbled onto this thread! I have never been able to get IE or Messenger to connect, even while Firefox worked just fine. I don’t use IE, but I do use MSN so I was stumped. A computer buddy of mine spent weeks trying to fix it, and I haven’t been able to get online with IE for over a year…

    But I saw somebody here mention proxy settings, and sure enough when I looked up my LAN settings “Use a proxy server” was checked. I unchecked it and now it works. such a little thing, I overlooked it (because I’m computer illiterate and don’t actually know what it means)

  27. Ok, easy enough, I went through the same crap, I went, Tool > Internet Options … > Connections tab > Lan Setting near the bottom >the only thing that should be ticked off is “Automatically Detect Settings”, everything else unticked. Just click refresh and it should work fine. Hope it helps.

  28. Internet Security…

    If your looking for even more information on PC security then I would head over here as they have plenty of stuff on identity theft, antivirus software etc….

  29. I have acer laptop with vista and internet explorer i used to be able to connect wirelessly to any unsecured network and use the internet with no problem now my I can connect but i keep getting a message internet explore cannot display webpage so when i click diagnose internet connections it says something like internet connection still connected and then problem with proxy server settings so i go to internet options control and lan settings I notice the proxy is about 5 or 6 symbols instead of numbers so i delete them and click attomatically detect setings and then ok then connnection still good but ie not working when i go back to check the lan settings and everything those little symbols are there again under proxy numbers should be and it’s as if i never changed them i tried changing them again over and over and still everytime i go back in it’s back to those symbols I’m going nuts please help i want to use my laptop instead of going to library

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    September 22, 2008 at 11:27 pm

    We are having the same problem … I.E. No workey … but FF/Mozilla do work. We even tried the “USE PROXY” solution but that doesn’t work.


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