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Why does IE now require "http:" in the address bar?

My IE address bar will not respond when you type in, say, “www.yahoo.com”.
you have to put http:// in front of the address. This just started happening
tonight, 4/15/2006. What’s up?

To put it bluntly … Microsoft messed up.

I’ve gotten a flurry of reports of this behavior … all starting on 4/15.
Right after Windows automated update.

Microsoft acknowledges that there’s an issue, and I believe that this is the
issue causing your behaviour. It affects more than just IE – but also
places some of the blame on some third party software.

Note: this article is out of date, and no longer applies. It’s preserved for historical purposes only.

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First, here’s the Knowledgebase article that applies: Problems in Windows Explorer or the Windows shell after you
install security update MS06-015.

I first learned of the problem as a Microsoft Office issue, where people are
unable to open files in “My Documents”. The Knowledgebase article actually
includes several symptoms:

  • Unable to access special folders like “My Documents” or “My Pictures”.

  • Microsoft Office applications may stop responding when you attempt to save
    or open Office files in the “My Documents” folder.

  • Office files in the “My Documents” folder are not able to open in Microsoft
    Office.

  • Opening a file through an application’s File / Open menu causes the program
    to stop responding .

  • Typing an address into Internet Explorer’s address bar has no effect.

  • Right-clicking on a file and selecting Send To has no effect.

  • Clicking on the plus (+) sign beside a folder in Windows Explorer has no
    effect.

  • Some third-party applications stop responding when opening or saving data in
    the “My Documents” folder.

Not everyone is seeing the problem. One of two additional factors apparently
need to be present: Hewlett-Packard’s “Share-to-Web” software, or Sunbelt Kerio
Personal Firewall. While I do run HP software and use an HP printer, I’m not
seeing an issue. However apparently many users are seeing it.

The Knowledgebase article does include a workaround – but it involves a
registry addition. A fairly obscure registry setting at that.

NOTE: the following is provided without warrantee, and
should be used at your own risk. As always, be wary of anything you download
from the internet, even from me. Backup first, backup often.

That disclaimer out of the way, I’d also recommend that if you can, just
live with the behavior. I’d guess that the next round of updates will fix
it.

But, if you need the fix now, here is a “.reg” file that will install that
registry setting for you: 918165.reg. Right click it,
save it to disk. Then, in windows explorer, double click on the downloaded file
allow it to execute, and the setting as described in the Microsoft article will
be added to your registry. (Why Microsoft doesn’t provide this is beyond
me.)

The registry setting apparently only deals with the HP software issue. Folks
using Kerio firewall are instructed in the Knowledgebase article to make a
configuration change to it.

For those who’d care, the contents of the .reg file is:

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00
[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Shell Extensions\Cached]
"{A4DF5659-0801-4A60-9607-1C48695EFDA9} {000214E6-0000-0000-C000-000000000046} 0x401"=dword:00000001

(There may be some line wrapping, but it’s 4 lines, total.)

I know a lot of people will start to worry about automatic updates breaking
their system in the future. Obviously it can happen. However my opinion is that
the benefit still far outweighs the risk. I’m leaving it on.

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15 comments on “Why does IE now require "http:" in the address bar?”

  1. Hi,
    I have the same problem with IE now requiring “http:” in the address bar? I go around this by only typing lets say “yahoo” and then by holding the control key and hitting enter, by doing this it will add the “http://www.” in the begening and the “.com” at the end to what ever you type in. I’ll keep doing this till microsoft has an update to fix this…Actually i really got used to this…saves so much time….. no more www. and the .com….wohoo00… good luck

    Reply
  2. You are awesome!!
    I was having this problem and downloaded the registry editor provided and all is well. I have bookmarked your site for future reference.

    THANK YOU VERY MUCH!!!
    =) TJ

    Reply
  3. It was driving me crazy that I couldn’t go to a website by typing the address onto the address bar! I downloaded the registry ‘thingee’ and it works great, now!!! Thank you so much!

    Reply
  4. Checked my Add/Remove programs and found the HP software Share-to-web. Removed it using the ADD/Remove, rebooted the PC and now the IE Address line works as previous. PS-Loved the Control/Enter keystroke to complete the IE Address – might just continue to use it!! Thanks..

    Reply
  5. Apart from being to access the address bar I am not able to use my scanner. it will not scan photos into my C drive yet it will scan to print. Could this microsoft download have affected this and if I download registry could this solve the problem? my scanner works on someone else’s computer. thank you

    Reply
  6. This man is KING! I seriously thought I was losing it, everytime I tried addding pictures or attachments in Office/Outlook the software froze. I done loads of web searches and found nothing, so started uninstalling and reinstalling everything but it still didn’t work. I seriously thought I’d have to reinstall XP. Then, when all was nearly lost I realised another problem was the “http://” searched on that, found this and am happy again. Enjoy a tall latte on me!

    Reply
  7. how do you get stuff off your address bar when to go to see what differnet address’s are?? I went to history and delete stuff and still they didn’t go away

    Reply
  8. well, the .reg execution doesnt yet resolve the problem on my system. Infact the problem arose after i changed my router from LinkSYS to Netgear. Also the browser doesnt respond imediately….i need to click on GO 3-4 times. The same was not there while using linksys router. Any advice!

    Reply
  9. I now have to enter www. in front of all URL’s, and must enter http:// if the URL doesn’t have a www. such as “http://name.phanare.com. I have tried your fix and also reinstalled IE7. I can find no evidence of HP Software to Web on my computer. I have installed the suggested MS fix and also your .reg fix. I do not have any other known problems except this URL thing. Any other ideas?

    Reply

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