Thursday, January 28, 2010

More computer vexation

My adoption of a subscription VPN five weeks ago has not entirely ended my online troubles.

Oh no. Firefox's baffling refusal to download Blogger comment pages has forced to me to revert to using Explorer as my default browser.

And Explorer, as some of you may have discovered for yourselves, has this maddening habit of deciding - for no apparent reason - that you are "Working Offline" even when you are in fact still connected.

In all the vast armoury of user-unfriendly idiocies that Microsoft has visited upon a suffering world, this surely has to be one of the most pointless. Why does the browser get confused like this? Why can't it detect the actual connection state? What the hell is wrong with just going ahead and attempting to load or refresh a webpage as requested (and judging from the result of that whether the computer is in fact online or offline)?? Why must they insist on us repeatedly going back into the 'Tools' menu to manually uncheck the 'Work Offline' setting?? To me, it just makes no sense at all.

Now, this was plenty bad enough when it just happened once or twice a day - when I was resuming an earlier Web-browsing session after a spell offline, and Explorer hadn't recognised that I'd come back online again.

But over the past few days - for some reason I can't fathom - Explorer has started switching to 'Offline' status repeatedly, in the middle of a browsing session, without any break in the connection at all. It's happening dozens of times a day; sometimes every few minutes, or every few seconds. It is rendering Explorer well-nigh unusable.

Any techie types out there able to offer me any insights on this? (I do hope it's not more mischief from The Kafka Boys....)


JES said...

I found this in a Knowledge Base article at the Microsoft site. (It assumes you're running Windows XP, which you are, right?)



When you use Microsoft Internet Explorer on a Microsoft Windows XP-based computer, the Work Offline option is unexpectedly enabled.


To resolve this issue, follow these steps:

1. Start Internet Explorer.

2. On the File menu, determine whether the Work Offline option is enabled.

Note If this option is enabled, a check mark appears next to Work Offline.
If this option is enabled, go to step 3.

3. On the Tools menu, click Internet Options.

4. In the Internet Options dialog box, click the Connections tab.

5. Make sure that the Never dial a connection option is selected.

6. Click the Advanced tab.

7. Under Browsing, click to clear the Enable offline items to be synchronized on a schedule check box, and then click OK.


Is this what you've been doing in the Tools menu? The implication above is that once you complete step 7, the problem would be fixed -- until/unless it starts up again.

Usually, there's a note on such pages explaining why it happens, or saying something like "Microsoft has confirmed this is a problem" (or the infamous "This behavior is by design," with no further explanation). Not this time, though. There's just that word "unexpectedly" sending weak hand signals in the problem statement.

Hope that helps!

Froog said...

Thanks a lot, JES - though I wonder if that advice is somewhat out of date.

On my version of Explorer, there is no 'File' menu, only 'Tools'. And that last item in the Advanced Browsing menu you're supposed to uncheck no longer seems to exist.

I'm hoping that disabling the automatic dial-up is going to cure the problem.

Thanks again.