Monday, January 03, 2011

Fail to open Internet Options using IE7 or IE8 on Windows Server 2008 or Vista

As it usually happens on a computer being used by multiple persons one day on of our development machines (Windows Server 2008 Standard EN) started to show very strange behavior:

  • Trying to open Internet Options Dialog there’s just nothing happens – if the IE8 was running with no UAC escalation.
  • Trying to open Internet Options Dialog from an instance of IE8 started with administrator privileges – following error message appears:

image

“This operation has been cancelled due to restrictions in effect on this computer. Please contact your system administrator.”

Well, the box is a member of domain, but nobody from admins played with additional restrictions…

Some internet search showed numerous advices starting from editing computer’s registry (here) over editing Group Policy (here) up to re-install the machine…

Nothing from above could help (except new setup, what was too much overhead).

We tried to uninstall Internet Explorer 8: it was also tricky – IE8 may be missing in the list of installed software (“Programs and Features” applet). Then you should look for it in the list of installed updates (same applet, “View installed updates” – the are listed grouped by product). Even here you may still miss the IE8 entry – in this case the uninstall operation for IE8 is described here: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/957700. Check out additional information about dedicated command line to clean up the system from IE8:

FORFILES /P %WINDIR%\servicing\Packages /M Microsoft-Windows-InternetExplorer-8*.mum /c "cmd /c echo Uninstalling package @fname && start /w pkgmgr /up:@fname /norestart"

So we uninstalled the IE8, but the IE7 (that replaced the IE8 on our box) still reported an error on each try to open Internet Options. This time the message looks like a DLL is missing: RASDLG.DLL.

Indeed, we detected, that one of numerous last system updates (from Microsoft as well as from 3rd party vendors) somehow deleted RASDLG.DLL: the only copy we still could find was in WinSxS directory – where all side-by-side versions of same named DLLs live.

All the recovery operations (including usage of sfc /scannow, repair from boot disk) won’t restore this DLL and just failed.

So we copied the only found version of this DLL into %WINDIR%/System32 folder and restarted IE7: it worked now!

Then we updated the system with IE8 again, restart the box – and it still works! We still do not know, which step deleted this library and what shadow effects we will encounter using this version (6.0.6001.18000 instead of reported 6.0.6001.18005 as required by SFC).

So, once you see this strange error message by opening Internet Options – look into System32 folder: maybe you are missing this DLL…

Enjoy!

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