Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Help! Can't access Internet Options

  1. Mar 26, 2009 #1

    Tom Mattson

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member


    I'm staying at my aunt's house and trying to access Internet Options so I can clear out browsing history, temp internet files, cookies, etc. However when I go to the Control Panel it's not there. "No problem" I thought, and I went to Tools in the IE browser window. But when I click on Internet Options a popup blinks on and off (too fast to read) and nothing happens.

    This computer is loaded with anti virus/adware/malware software (spybot, AVG, Norton,...). Could one of those be restricting access to Internet Options? If so, how can I stop it?

  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 26, 2009 #2
    What kind of windows operating system is her computer running?
  4. Mar 26, 2009 #3
    CCleaner might help that involves downloading a new software that cleans the stuff for you.

    (Using it for more than 2 years so it can be trusted and is good)
  5. Mar 26, 2009 #4
    A way to see messages that flash too fast to read is the take a screenshot. Hit the Print Screen button (upper right), then open paint and paste it. May have to try a couple times to get the timing right.

    You can also just try to delete the history manually. It's stored in the following folders:
    %userprofile%\Local Settings\Temporary Internet Files\
    %userprofile%\Local Settings\History\

    Note that %userprofile% will automatically change into your username, you don't have to change anything, just copy and paste those lines into the explorer.

    Edit: One more thing, you can launch the internet option dialog from the run box. Start > Run > inetcpl.cpl, or if you can get a command prompt window open you can type it in there too.
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2009
  6. Mar 26, 2009 #5

    Tom Mattson

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Windows XP

    I'm not so sure about adding another program at the moment. Right now this system is saddled with way too many antivirus/spyware programs. It's got Spybot, AdAware, Norton Antivirus, AVG, and Filter Agent. Every time I try to open something all of these programs checks it. As a result I can't do more than one thing at a time on this PC, which is kind of ridiculous. I've just about convinced my aunt that she doesn't need all of this.

    Do you think this program will help, or gum up the works even more?

    Dale Dawson,

    Thanks for your tips, I'll try them!
  7. Mar 26, 2009 #6

    Tom Mattson

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    I tried this and nothing happened. :bugeye:
  8. Mar 26, 2009 #7
    I see internet options on doing that. I think you don't have enough privileges and this must be one of the security software.

    You can see if your windows account has full privileges.
  9. Mar 26, 2009 #8
    - It's very light
    - doesn't run in the background and doesn't scan your actions

    Main benefit about it is that it also cleans up other browser's history too and easier to use. I have three browsers (FF, IE, and Chrome).
  10. Mar 26, 2009 #9

    Tom Mattson

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Thanks rootX. I successfully deleted the history, temp files, and cookies as Dale suggested. However the address bar hasn't been cleared, which is puzzling. But my main concern here though is that I can't get to Internet Options, which tells me that something is wrong. And since I posted this thread the problem has gotten worse. From my aunt's user account (and only that account) I can't get to the internet at all. I'm using my uncle's account on the same machine right now. Would it be worth it to just uninstall IE and then reinstall it?
  11. Mar 26, 2009 #10

    Tom Mattson

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    My aunt's account is an Administrator account. When I try it through my uncle's account (also an Admin) the same thing happens.
  12. Mar 26, 2009 #11
    I heard from somewhere that we shouldn't have more than one antivirus softwares: you have two I think: AVG and Norton Antivirus.

    But, I would exit/stop/even remove programs in the following order
    Filter Agent -> Norton Antivirus -> AVG -> AdAware -> Spybot

    I have tried AVG, AdAware, Spybot in the past and they don't create much problems. I never tried Filter Agent and Norton Antivirus.

    Personally, I use Avast (~AVG), Spybot, Firefox and CCCleaner and haven't got any virus or anything like that since I started using them.

    You might also try FF or Chrome. FF is heavy but much better than IE imo. Chrome is light but I haven't used it much.
  13. Mar 27, 2009 #12
    Well something seems to be blocking the internet options window. That does seem like something an AV program might do. However, as you've said that now you are having trouble opening IE at all there could be a deeper problem. Perhaps you have some sort of malware installed. One of the programs you have installed should catch it, are you sure you have up to date definitions? Try manually running a scan in the AV programs.

    You can't uninstall IE, it's a core part of Windows. If you can't fix this with the AV programs a clean install of Windows would be the fix. I also recommend Firefox over IE, it'll help prevent getting infected in the first place. CCCleaner I've never used but I am some what familiar with. It's not a AV or a anti spyware program, more a way to clear out unneeded and commonly deleted things (history, temp folders, etc).

    As for typed URL history it is stored in the registry, which if you've never used before might be over your head. You can open it by Start > Run > regedit, the history is at:
    HKEY_CURRENT_USER > Software > Microsoft > Internet Explorer > TypedURLs

    Delete everything that's in that folder.

    However, it seems there is something wrong with your system, and probably the easiest fix is to wipe and reinstall Windows. Hopefully you'll be able to fix it with an AV program, but heavily infected machines are quite hard to clean.
  14. Mar 27, 2009 #13
    The other option is to not use your Aunt's PC to look at porn on the net and then you wouldn't have to worry about deleting the temp files and history :wink:

    PS. You can usually view (and delete) the files directly under /documents and settings/username/local settings/temp ie files (somewhere in there, alos note that it is a hidden folder and you'll have to enable 'view hidden folders' in folder options in the explorer toolbar)
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook