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Wed, Jan 19, 2005 12:15 am

Problem Printing AOL Email and Webpages with Internet Explorer

A user reported that he was unable to print his email from within AOL on his Dell Dimension XPS R350 system running Windows 98 Second Edition and Internet Explorer 6.0. He could print from within Microsoft Word and I found that I could print from Notepad also, but I couldn't print webpages from within AOL nor from within Internet Explorer. This occurred after I removed adware/spyware from the system. I thought perhaps some adware/spyware hadn't been fully removed or some damage had been done in removing some deeply embedded adware/spyware, but I could find nothing that I could identify as the source of the problem.

I updated Ad-aware SE Personal, Bazooka Adware and Spyware Scanner, BHODemon, and Spybot Search & Destroy, but when I scanned the system with those antispyware programs, they did not find anything else. I installed another antispyware program, PestPatrol. It found additional adware/spyware that the others hadn't detected. Though much of what it found were just cookies, which I didn't regard as more than a privacy vulnerability. It also found remnants that Ad-aware and Spybot had left, i.e. some registry entries. But, even removing everything PestPatrol found had no impact on the problem. I've seen odd behavior on systems due to problems with Layered Service Provider (LSP) software after I've removed adware/spyware, so I even checked the system with LSP-Fix and Ad-aware's LSP Explorer add-on, but found no LSP problems either.

I also updated ClamWin Antivirus and scanned the system for viruses, but found none.

I checked the system for updates by opening Internet Explorer and choosing "Tools" and then "Windows Update". I scanned for updates and found that there were 23 Critical Updates and Service Packs needed. I clicked on "Review and Install Updates", which showed me the updates I was about to install, but when I clicked on the "Install Now" button nothing appeared to happen. Trying it several times, I noticed the title bar for Internet Explorer did change color briefly each time I clicked on "Install Now".

Examing the source code for the page showed that Microsoft used javascript on the page, but when I checked the page using various browser test tools, such as BrowserHawk, BrowserInfo, and BrowserSpy, showed that Internet Explorer on the system did have javascript support enabled (another test page that just verifies javascript support is JSsupport), plus all of the other support that I would expect from the browser. None of those test tools showed anything unusual.

It appeared that the "Install Now" button would open another window and, since the title bar was changing color briefly when I clicked on it, I thought some popup blocking software was causing the problem. But when I used the Windows 98 System Information tool (click on "Start", "Programs, "Accessories", "System Tools", then "System Information", then select "Tools", "System Configuration Utility" and click on the "Startup" tab) to see what processes were starting when Windows 98 started, I didn't see any popup blocking software listed. I installed WinTasks Pro 4.3 to show me all of the running tasks, but didn't see anything unusual. Nor did ending almost all of the running processes make any difference.

Yet something was definitely stopping popup windows from appearing. I went to PopupTest.com and ran various popup tests that one could use to test popup blocking software. Normally users don't want annoying popup ads appearing, but there are occasions where the opening of a popup window is desireable. For instance, if you click on a link in a webpage that would open another window or right-click on a link in Internet Explorer and choose "Open in New Window", you want a new window to open. Good popup blocking software should allow windows to open in those cases, but some popup blocking programs may block those as well, though they shouldn't. You can test whether the latter type of popup windows are blocked at http://www.popuptest.com/goodpopups.html. I found those popup windows were blocked as well. And running checks at another popup blocker test site, PopupCheck.com also showed that all popup windows were blocked, even the kind that should be allowed.

I ran a Google search and found others reporting similar problems with popup windows not opening when clicking on links that should open a new window or when selecting "Open in New Window" for a link displayed in Internet Explorer.

  1. Internet Explorer won't open in a new window
  2. Internet explorer won't display anything in a new window
I found suggestions advising one to use regsvr to register DLL's as suggested on a Microsoft Knowledgebase article, " You cannot open a new Internet Explorer window or nothing occurs after you click a link. That page suggested entering the following regsvr32 commands at a command prompt, aka MS-DOS prompt, to resolve the problem.

regsvr32 Shdocvw.dll
regsvr32 Msjava.dll
regsvr32 Oleaut32.dll
regsvr32 Mshtml.dll
regsvr32 Browseui.dll

You should close all open programs before doing so and I found I had to change the working directory to C:\Windows\System first. I've created a batch file, RegSvr32-FixIE.bat to enter the commands.

When the commands were executed, all were executed successfully, except the one for Oleaut32.dll. I saw windows appear with the following information displayed.

An " Explanation of Regsvr32 Usage and Error Messages" provides some information on the errors regsvr32 will return, but you need to check the "Error List from WINERROR.H" section of INFO: Translating Automation Errors for VB/VBA (Long) for the meaning of the "0x80029c4a" hexadecimal error code. Unfortunately, the only explantion is that the code 80029c4a means "Error loading type library/DLL". WinTasks did show a couple of processes running using that module, but I wasn't able to close all of them, so perhaps the problem was due to one of those processes having the oleaut32.dll module in use.

I thought the oleaut32.dll file might have become corrupted, altered, or replaced by some other program, so I also compared oleaut32.dll against a copy I obtained from DLL-files.com. A binary comparison using the Windows fc command, i.e. "fc /b", showed that the copy of oleaut32.dll on the system was exactly the same as the one I downloaded.

The Microsoft Knowlegebase article also suggested checking entries in the registry.

If the problem is still not resolved, verify that the following registry values are present and correct:
HKLM\SOFTWARE\Classes\Interface\{00020400-0000-0000-C000-000000000046}
Name: (Default)
Value: IDispatch
HKLM\SOFTWARE\Classes\Interface\{00020400-0000-0000-C000-000000000046}\ProxyStubClsid
Name: (Default)
Value: {00020420-0000-0000-C000-000000000046}
HKLM\SOFTWARE\Classes\Interface\{00020400-0000-0000-C000-000000000046}\ProxyStubClsid32
Name: (Default)
Value: {00020420-0000-0000-C000-000000000046}

I checked all of the listed registry entries and found they were present and correct, however. The next step listed in the Knowledgebase article, if the problem was still not resolved, was to reinstall Internet Explorer. I did reinstall Internet Explorer 6.0. While doing so, I encountered the error message below.

An error has occurred while setting up "C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM\oleaut32.dll". This error has been logged, the installation will continue.

Afterwards nothing appeared to be different. I still had the same problem as before. After the sentence about reinstalling Internet Explorer, the Knowledgebase article stated "If you are using the version of Internet Explorer that is included with your operating system, reinstall or repair your operating system." I used the Windows 98 "System File Checker", which can be run by clicking on "Start", "Programs", "Accessories", "System Tools", "System Information" and then choosing "Tools" and "System File Checker". It indicated that a couple of files should be restored, but those didn't appear to be related to the problem nor did restoring them from the Windows 98 Second Edition CD change the problem. So after that I reinstalled Windows 98 Second Edition and that finally resolved the problem. I was then able to click on links that open popup windows or right-click on a link and select "Open in New Window" and have windows actually open. And I could print webpages by going to "File" and "Print" in Internet Explorer and could also print AOL email from the system.

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