Thursday, October 17, 2013

Internet Explorer has stopped working after closing tab or window and how to open IE maximized

Recently, I worked on the following two problems on a Vista machine with a recently updated Internet Explorer browser (from 8 to 9) that had two problems. One, when closing a tab or the Internet Explorer 9 window I would get the following popup message: Internet Explorer has stopped working. That wasn't an intermittent problem. It happened every single time a tab or the window closed. I couldn't blame the user for being annoyed by this. The other problem was when he clicked on the IE shortcut in the taskbar or on the desktop, IE would open in a tiny rectangle box instead of opening maximized.

First, how to fix the "internet explorer has stopped working" error.

Open Internet Explorer. Then click on the gear icon in the top right window to make the Tools menu appear. Then click on internet options to bring up the internet options menu. Click on the advanced tab and check the box under "accelerated graphics" called "use software rendering…" Make sure that is checked then click OK and reboot. After the reboot Internet Explorer worked correctly.

While the above solution worked for my situation, it doesn't fix every situation. You may have an IE startup process that is causing the problem too. In the past I've used autoruns, a handy tool, to find those nasty processes in IE startup and delete them, fixing not only the error after closing IE but also improving overall IE performance. Installing toolbars, addons, etc. often cripples your web browser's performance and can cause weird problems like the error message we focused on in this post. 

Now about the "maximize when opened" solution. There are different solutions for this problem. What worked for this situation I'll offer then I'll follow that with some other possible solutions. Open Internet Explorer and size the window to your liking. Then hold down the ctrl key while clicking the red “x” to close the program. This will set the IE window to open at this setting every time. To makes sure other links and such open the same way dick on the gear icon like you did earlier, click internet options,click "tabs", then select "always open pop-ups in a new tab." Click OK once then one more time in the previous window. I will also say this worked on a Vista machine. I don't know if that makes a difference or not. I do know this next method worked on Windows 7 machines but didn't work on this Vista machine. It's very simple. Open Internet Explorer then click and drag the window to the top of the monitor. It will be maximized. Close it then reopen it and the window should open maximized. That solution worked on a few Windows 7 machines in the past.

There's one more I'll detail below. Go the the desktop and right click on the desktop, click new, then shortcut. Create a short cut to "Program Files/Internet Explorer/iexplore.exe" Right click on the short cut and then select Properties. Click on the tab "Shortcut" and then change the value in the run command to "maximized". Click apply then OK. Now Internet Explorer will open in the maximized state when you click on any short cut to iexplore.exe.

So there you have it! If you have any questions comment below.

Friday, October 11, 2013

How to restore Windows 7 default "desktop" folder

Here is a quick tip on fixing the path for your desktop folder when the easy method of right-click > Properties > Location doesn't work.

Go into the Registry Editor (Start > search > regedit). When Registry Editor opens go to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\User Shell Folders

Over on the right you should see "Desktop." Double-click the "Desktop" entry. A window will open displaying the value "Desktop" and "Value Data" (the path to the desktop folder). Now, if you want to put in the correct path (C:\Users\Username\Desktop) for your desktop folder or your desired path this is where you would input it then log out and log back in for the setting to take effect.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Keep IT simple - Use RDWeb instead of Site-to-Site VPN

So you have a couple of users moving from the main office to a new office (say they're moving to the public works garage) that is located miles away from the main office. These users need to still be able to use the business application but don't need anything else from the business network and security isn't a high concern. At the remote office the two users will need basic internet, ability to print, and have access to the business application; nothing else is needed. What do you do? Do you buy an expensive firewall to build a site-to-site vpn connection to the main office? Or, since you already have RDWeb implemented for remote use of applications, do you use RDWeb? The cheapest and most efficient solution would be to go with RDWeb. If you're not familiar with RDWeb, I suggest you do some reading on it, but for now know that RDWeb is a feature of Windows Server that builds a portal to essential applications and remote desktop access your employees need either remotely or locally.

Why do I say use RDWeb instead of the VPN connection? Well because RDWeb is simpler. What you can do is give the two users computers with encrypted hard drives, a solid anti-malware solution (I suggest malwarebytes PRO along with Microsoft Security Essentials\Defender and then have OpenDNS at the border), and decent internet bandwidth to give them a great working environment. RDWeb will provide access (securely) to the work application(s) and they can use it almost 99% the way they used it before at the main office. For situations like this, RDWeb trumps the other method of site-to-site VPN because it requires less setup, equipment, and time.

I know for other situations where high-security is a primary concern, file shares are needed, printers are manged from the main network, etc. RDWeb may not be the ideal choice but for a situation like the one described above where the two users just need access to the business application(s) then RDWeb is the clear winner I think. It was the winner at work. The situation described above is a real-world scenario. My work will have a new public works garage and two of our users will be leaving the main office to work out at the new garage. We already have RDWeb in place for remote users so the two users will access the business application through our portal.

One of the things to keep in my mind with any project, especially IT projects, is to keep the solution simple.