With little Windows 2000 or Windows NT 4.0 news this week, today’s subject is Internet Explorer (IE). IE’s numerous page-fault problems occur on all Microsoft platforms, from Win2K and NT 4.0 to Windows Millennium Edition (Windows Me) and Windows 9x. You’ll find some good workarounds here for the browser-based failures that IE 4.0 through IE 5.5 report most frequently as "invalid page fault" messages.

  • Eliminating IE 4.x and IE 5.0 Page Faults. In an annoying problem that affects all pre-IE 5.5 versions, a corrupt entry in the History folder can cause IE or Windows Explorer to fail and display an invalid page-fault message. When a system has this problem, you'll see an error message after you type a URL in the IE Address bar or enter a command using Run from the Start menu. In each case, either the browser or Windows Explorer responds with an error message stating that the component "caused an invalid page fault in Kernel32.dll or Shdocvw.dll." The most likely explanation for this behavior is a corrupt URL.
  • You can configure IE and Windows Explorer to use the AutoComplete feature, which is a great time saver if you regularly access the same files or Web sites. However, if AutoComplete supplies a corrupt URL, the component fails with the page-fault message.

    To verify that the problem is a corrupt History folder entry, start by disabling IE’s AutoComplete feature. You can pull up current Internet options from the Tools menu in IE or click the Control Panel Internet Options applet. Click the Advanced tab, scroll down through the browsing options, and clear the "Use inline AutoComplete" check box, which is near the end of the list. Start IE and verify that you can enter a URL and that you can enter a command using the Start menu's Run option. If both operations succeed, delete and recreate the History folder to permanently eliminate the problem. Because IE runs on Win2K, NT 4.0, and Win9x, and because each platform stores history entries in a different location, you need to follow the platform-specific directions for recreating IE’s History folder. See Microsoft article Q221085 for more information.

  • An IE 5.0-Specific Page-Fault Problem. When you want to add a site to your IE Favorites list, you can manually add the site by clicking Favorites, Add to Favorites, or you can drag the Internet icon from the Address bar to the Favorites menu. If the drag-and-drop operation causes IE to hang in Win9x or to bring up a Dr. Watson access violation in NT 4.0 (forcing a system reboot), you can save the URL by adding the link manually.
  • To permanently eliminate the problem, which is specific to IE 5.0, you must clear the History and Temporary Internet Files caches and run the IE 5.0 Repair tool. Fortunately, IE 5.0 includes a built-in utility that clears both caches, and you can start the utility without actually running IE—thus avoiding the error and another system reboot. Right-click the IE icon on the desktop, click Properties, click Delete Temporary Internet Files, and click Clear History.

    Microsoft article Q218983 explains how to invoke the IE 5.0 Repair utility (start the Control Panel Add/Remove Programs applet, select Microsoft Internet Explorer 5 and Internet Tools, click Add/Remove, select Repair Internet Explorer, click OK, and reboot after the repair operation finishes), but it doesn't work on my Win2K Service Pack 1 (SP1) system running IE 5.0. Perhaps I must specifically install the tools to make use of the repair feature. Let me know what I’m missing, OK?

  • IE 5.5 Hangs at Hotmail Site. This bug, which appears in IE 5.5 on Win2K, Windows Me, and Win9x, has some entertainment value. At Microsoft's Hotmail site, IE 5.5 hangs if you attempt to compose a new message before the Web page displays completely. If you see the message "Iexplore has caused an invalid page fault in Mshtmled.dll" or "WAOL caused an invalid page fault in module Mshtmled.dll," you have two options. The fast solution is to use Outlook Express to access your Hotmail account; the slow solution is to wait to compose your message until the whole page loads and the Rich Text Format (RTF) check box changes from gray to white. Microsoft article Q275154 documents this issue.
  • Configuring IE to Display HTML Documents in Office Applications. Intranets host large numbers of HTML-based documents created in Word, Excel, Powerpoint, and Access. When you click a link to an Excel spreadsheet or a Word document, IE opens the file in the browser by default. If you prefer to have IE open HTML-based office documents in their native Office applications, you can enable "in-place activation," which directs IE to start the Office application and display the document in the native application within the browser window.
  • You accomplish this wizardry by modifying one or more entries in the registry's HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Classes key. Start by locating the document type for the application you want to launch in the table below. For example, the .xls extension is associated with Microsoft Excel worksheets. Under the .xls subkey, the (default) value contains the string "Excel.Sheet.5." Therefore, the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Classes\Excel.Sheet.5 subkey is the appropriate subkey for the Microsoft Excel Worksheet document type.

Document Type                                Subkey
----------------------------------------------------------------
Microsoft Access 7.0 database application    Access.Application.7
Microsoft Access 97 database application     Access.Application.8
Microsoft Access 2000 database application   Access.Application.9
Microsoft Excel 7.0 worksheet                Excel.Sheet.5
Microsoft Excel 97 worksheet                 Excel.Sheet.8
Microsoft Excel 2000 worksheet               Excel.Sheet.8
Microsoft Word 7.0 document                  Word.Document.6
Microsoft Word 97 document                   Word.Document.8
Microsoft Word 2000 document                 Word.Document.8
Microsoft Project 98 project                 MSProject.Project.8
Microsoft Powerpoint 2000 document           PowerPoint.Show.8

After you identify the appropriate subkey, click the subkey, click Add Value from the Edit menu, and add the value entry BrowserFlags: REG_DWORD: 8. If the document for which you want in-place activation doesn't appear on this list, find the subkey for the extension associated with the document type. The (default) value for that subkey contains the name of the appropriate subkey for that document type. This technique works for all versions of IE, from IE 3.01 through IE 5.5. See Microsoft article Q162059 for all the details.