Windows XP update nightmare - can't download!
August 15, 2007 8:06 AM   Subscribe

Updated XP now my computer doesn't download anything.

A while back I ran several updates from microsoft to ensure that my laptop was as "safe" as possible. Mistake #1. I believe I also downloaded windows defender. I then set it to do automatic updates.

Somewhere along the line my laptop has gone a bit screwy when it comes to downloading things.

For example, if I go to microsoft's template page in order to attempt to download a file, it does not allow me to.

Sometimes it tells me that I need anothe program to be able to view it before downloading. When I attempt to get that program, it BLOCKS me!

Frustrating doesn't begin to describe how I'm feeling.

I cannot browse out to find a pic to attach to an email (the box doesnt pop up), I cannot save anything that I need to, I cant download. Its this IE7 interface, once I got it upgraded, it blocked pop ups and everything else.

When I go through the obligatory steps tools>Int options, security, etc. it does absolutely nothing.

posted by seeminglyshy to Technology (3 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
You could switch to Firefox.
posted by procrastination at 8:16 AM on August 15, 2007

(And people wonder "why would you ever turn the updates off?")

"Switch to Firefox" sounds like a flip answer, but really, I don't think it is. What you're describing is what IE has become. It works like this by design. And even if you can backtrack to an older version, you don't want to because of the security issues that only the newer version fixes.

You could probably address each of the irritations to fix them -- one by one because there's probably no one big fix that's needed; but if you're trying to do it in one stroke, switching is worth considering.
posted by tyllwin at 9:01 AM on August 15, 2007

IE7 is restrictive by default. Microsoft let the horse out of the barn last time, so instead of fixing the barn they're asking you to jump through a series of hoops before you can get to the horse in the first place. They put the security burden on the end user.*

Firefox has some similar features (pop-ups are blocked, it asks permission prior to installing some things, etc.) but it does not seem to be nearly as frustrating to deal with as IE.

However, I don't know any IE users who had as many problems as you do. I suspect that it might be more than a web browser issue. Some software you were using before may have been blocked, corrupted, or damaged in the upgrade process. You might even have some malicious software present on the system that you are not aware of.

Some things to check:
1. Did you install the Windows Genuine Advantage software, and if so does your system validate? Invalid software (= detected as pirated, whether it was or not) might give you some problems, as Windows checks the WGA software before nearly everything these days.

2. Do you find any problems if you run AdAware or Spybot Search & Destroy? Windows Defender isn't necessarily a bad program, as it is free and memory-resident, but the on-demand scanners (such as the two I mentioned) are worth keeping around and using occasionally. The use of multiple scan engines can help kill some bad software that may be able to evade detection by Windows Defender.

3. Antivirus installed, up to date, and running? If not, find something that works for a quick scan (ClamWin is free, and although it won't run unless you tell it to, it is pretty good nonetheless). See if you find any problems.

4. System File Check can be helpful. It detects missing or altered Windows system files, and repairs or replaces them.

5. Worst case scenario, do a System Restore or (even more fun) reinstall Windows. You needn't nuke your current setup prior to doing so, but do be sure you've backed up anything important, as a general precaution.

*For the record, Windows Vista takes the same approach, but on a system-wide level - be aware of this if you consider upgrading.
posted by caution live frogs at 2:37 PM on August 15, 2007

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