How to correct inetcpl.cpl error?

Discussion in 'Internet Explorer' started by aeroloose, Sep 14, 2013.

  1. aeroloose

    aeroloose Guest

    I've just started getting "inetcpl.cpl" error messages when
    accessing IE8 Tools > Internet Options (operation has been
    cancelled ...) and exiting IE8 (error loading c:\windows
    ....) in WinXP SP3. I've tried the MS fixes without success.
    The file, dated 08-08-13, does exist in
    c:\windows\system32, but won't open from there, nor will it
    run from the "Run" box.

    Any ideas on how to repair / replace this file? I'm
    attempting to avoid the complicated .cab file extraction
    method, or an uninstall / re-install of IE8.

    Thanks for any suggestions.
     
    aeroloose, Sep 14, 2013
    #1
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  2. aeroloose

    VanguardLH Guest

    Maybe a policy was defined that restricts your access to Internet
    Options. You never mentioned your particular version and edition of
    Windows. Some (Home) don't come with the policy editor to let you
    check. There are tweakers, safety/security programs, and lockdown
    utilities that also let you set those registry settings to lockout the
    Internet Options or a portion of those settings.

    If you use a version of Windows without the group policy editor
    (gpedit.msc), and you don't want to snag a copy to download to use for
    yourself, then you can look up the policy settings in the registry from
    an Excel spreadsheet. See:

    http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=25250

    Search for "Internet Control Panel" under the Policy Path column.
     
    VanguardLH, Sep 15, 2013
    #2
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  3. aeroloose

    Mayayana Guest

    You didn't mention what error message you were getting.
    It's hard for anyone to help when you don't describe what's
    wrong.

    As VanguardLH said, you may be restricted. That implies
    some sort of malware (or sleazeware) infection. This page
    is an example of guidance you can find online:

    http://www.boutell.com/newfaq/browser/internetoptions.html

    Microsoft designs IE for corporate use, with a vast array
    of redundant settings in the Registry. (At this point, any
    particular security setting can be found in up to 8 locations!)
    Included in that mess are ways to override your settings,
    so that even if you get into Internet Options, what you see
    is not necessarily what's in effect. It's all based on an
    assumption that the computer is being used by a corporate
    employee who should not be able to control it.

    If you want to explore the Registry mess you can do that.
    You should probably also check for possible malware. It's
    very unlikely that the .cpl file itself is corrupt. If the other
    methods don't work you can try re-installing IE, but that's
    probably not the problem.

    Personally I apply a simple set of guiding rules:

    * Never use IE online. It's unsafe and the settings, even if
    you can reach them, are essentially unusable. There are
    literally thousands of possible Registry settings, few people
    even know what they all mean, and documentation for them
    is limited. Again, that's by design, to allow coporate IT people
    to control employee activity: Security through abstruseness.
    Unfortunately, that provides a great opportunity for malware
    writers, and Microsoft doesn't make a version of Windows or
    IE primarily designed for use by people who own their own
    computer.

    * Never update IE. IE is designed to integrate into Windows.
    Updating can be tricky because of that. Also, each version
    of IE has a rendering style incompatible with the last, while
    also adding even more inane Registry settings. So updating
    doesn't provide much advantage. And of course on XP you
    can't even update beyond IE8, which means IE9 and 10 are
    basically niche browsers.

    You might look into Pale Moon, which is a less commercial,
    less bloated version of Firefox. There's also Opera, which now
    uses Apple's WebKit to render pages. And there's Chrome, also
    based on WebKit. Chrome is popular, but it's made by Google,
    so one has to assume it's spyware.

    --
    -
    | I've just started getting "inetcpl.cpl" error messages when
    | accessing IE8 Tools > Internet Options (operation has been
    | cancelled ...) and exiting IE8 (error loading c:\windows
    | ...) in WinXP SP3. I've tried the MS fixes without success.
    | The file, dated 08-08-13, does exist in
    | c:\windows\system32, but won't open from there, nor will it
    | run from the "Run" box.
    |
    | Any ideas on how to repair / replace this file? I'm
    | attempting to avoid the complicated .cab file extraction
    | method, or an uninstall / re-install of IE8.
    |
    | Thanks for any suggestions.
    |
     
    Mayayana, Sep 15, 2013
    #3
  4. aeroloose

    aeroloose Guest

    Well, I did mention both error messages, but I
    parenthetically truncated them for brevity. Here they are
    in full:
    - at Tools / Options: [This operation has been cancelled due
    to restrictions in effect on this computer. Please contact
    your system administrator]
    - at IE8 exit: RUNDLL box with [Error loading
    c:\windows\system32\inetcpl.cpl %1 is not a valid win32
    application]

    These led me to my first stop at MS support and attempted fixes
    I'll check into this
    I'm using XP SP3 Home (didn't mention Home in original
    post). I am the only user and admin for this PC since 2002.
    Malware scans are clean. I've tried 2 of the 3 MS fixes:
    Mr Fixit, and manual editing of the registry. Mr Fixit
    did nothing, and the two registry entries referenced in the
    MS KB section didn't exist in my registry. I have not done
    the third MS fix, which is repair IE (sadly, there is no
    link or instructions for how to do that, just the statement
    to repair IE). I can't find a "repair" option in the IE
    Help section.
    Agreed. I use IE8 rarely, and this is mainly an annoyance.
    But, I like to have my system functioning at its best, and
    this new issue isn't "at its best." :)
     
    aeroloose, Sep 15, 2013
    #4
  5. aeroloose

    aeroloose Guest

    I did mention XP SP3, but not Home. No policy editor for me
    :( I checked your link, but it's only relevant for later
    OSes (Vista on). I'm game to try a tweaker that'll let me
    change policies. Any suggestions?
     
    aeroloose, Sep 15, 2013
    #5
  6. aeroloose

    Mayayana Guest

    | - at Tools / Options: [This operation has been cancelled due
    | to restrictions in effect on this computer. Please contact
    | your system administrator]

    The standard setting for that seems to be here:

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Internet
    Explorer\Infodelivery\Restrictions\

    value: NoBrowserOptions data: set to 0 or remove value. value of 1
    disables Internet Options.

    Many sources give the same path without the Infodelivery key,
    but my Registry has that key. I would also check anything
    under HKLM *and* HKCR \Software\Policies\

    I wrote a utility that I update occasionally, which is designed
    to help cure some of these problems. I don't think it deals with
    this particular setting, but it does provide access to a number
    of semi-secret IE restriction settings. It's an HTA powered by
    VBScript, so you can see in the code what's being changed, and
    there's a fair amount of information included:

    http://www.jsware.net/jsware/iemd.php5

    I'm assuming you're using XP 32bit. A number of Registry settings
    vary between 32 and 64 bit. I think the HKLM\Software\ key is for
    64-bit on Win64, while Win32 uses
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\WOW6432node\
    I'm not sure if \Policies\ is part of that. Again, if it were me,
    I'd check any possible locations for thoroughness.

    Once you get it worked out I guess there's then the
    question of how the setting got set in the first place.
     
    Mayayana, Sep 16, 2013
    #6
  7. aeroloose

    VanguardLH Guest

    Despite Microsoft wanting to pretend they have new versions, little of
    the OS actually changes. The registry entries listed in the
    spreadsheets works across many versions of Windows with only a few that
    are version dependent. Internet Options has been available, and as
    registry settings for policies, since IE3.

    First I'd look at what you already have installed on your computer. You
    might be using some security or tweaker software that disabled some or
    all settings under Internet Options. Getting yet another tweaker won't
    undo an active policy enforced by some other software you already have
    installed.

    http://www.ehow.com/how_6872408_edit-group-policy-xp-home.html

    Doug Knox is a long known good guy and MVP. If you don't want to trust
    his download for the group policy editor than save a full image backup
    of your drive(s) and then gets his policy editor for WinXP Pro.

    If you want the gpedit.msc file from Windows XP Pro, a Google or Bing
    search will locate many places where you can download it (assuming you
    trust the source of the download). But then you would have to trust the
    source of whatever tweaker for Windows XP policies that you asked about.
    Of course, if you have a friend, neighbor, or coworker running WinXP Pro
    than you can grab a copy from there.

    I never much got into tweakers since they are merely GUI front ends to
    registry changes. I usually research what registry entries need to be
    changed or created and deal with the registry using regedit.exe. All
    polices are registry entries, even those pushed by domains when you log
    into them. The last big tweaker I remember using was X-Teq aka X-Setup
    Pro. It was discontinued but their web page mentions where you can
    still get an old copy.

    http://www.x-setup.net/

    Just be careful about using such powerful tweakers. They let you change
    settings that can render the OS unusable, unreliable, or create unwanted
    behaviors. I remember reading up on SSL and saw FIPS was suggested to
    harden encryption instead of using AES as the default; however, when I
    switched to FIPS then I could no longer connect to any HTTPS web site
    (HTTP+SSL). Only because I just made the change and almost immediately
    experienced the bad effect is why I knew how to back out of it to get
    back to a working web browser for secured sites. So a suggestion by
    X-Setup to improve security turned out to kill it. X-Setup was a super
    tweaker in that it covered a LOT of settings, not just policies. It's
    been way too long for me to remember using it to remember if it included
    the policy settings in the registry for Internet Options control panel.
     
    VanguardLH, Sep 16, 2013
    #7
  8. aeroloose

    aeroloose Guest

    Thanks for the link for the Knox policy editor. I'm
    amenable to trying it. Meantime, I've gone through my
    various programs (TweakUI, Winpatrol, SpywareBlaster, etc.)
    and don't see anything set to manage IE. I haven't added
    any new programs lately.

    The key question remains, though. I don't have the
    "nobrowseroptions" policies in the registry, which are the
    ones, if toggled, that restrict access to inetcpl.cpl. So
    how would a policy editor allow me to reset policies that
    don't exist now? Should I create them first, then turn them
    off?
     
    aeroloose, Sep 17, 2013
    #8
  9. aeroloose

    aeroloose Guest

    Hmm. See my post to Vanguard. I don't have any of those
    paths. And, there are NO instances of "NoBrowserOptions" in
    my registry.
    Thanks, I'll try your MD file. Yes, I'm using 32 bit.
    Offbeat idea: could a recent IE patch have caused the
    issue? Could be coincidence, but I noticed the problem
    after the recent Patch Tuesday updates.
     
    aeroloose, Sep 17, 2013
    #9
  10. aeroloose

    Mayayana Guest

    | > but my Registry has that key. I would also check anything
    | > under HKLM *and* HKCR \Software\Policies\
    |
    | Hmm. See my post to Vanguard. I don't have any of those
    | paths. And, there are NO instances of "NoBrowserOptions" in
    | my registry.
    |

    You must have the \Software\Policies\ paths. That's worth
    checking.

    | Thanks, I'll try your MD file. Yes, I'm using 32 bit.
    | Offbeat idea: could a recent IE patch have caused the
    | issue? Could be coincidence, but I noticed the problem
    | after the recent Patch Tuesday updates.
    |

    There was a problem this month:

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/09/13/microsoft_reissues_september_patches_after_user_complaints/

    I don't see any mention of IE, though.
    When I did a search for the error message it turned up
    a lot of people who'd had trouble with links after installing
    another browser. That doesn't sound related to your
    problem, but it does indicate that the exact error phrase
    you got about restrictions could be misleading.
     
    Mayayana, Sep 17, 2013
    #10
  11. aeroloose

    aeroloose Guest

    Should have been more clear; I meant the complete path to
    the key. I do have the paths through \Policies\Microsoft,
    but nothing further regarding IE in HKLM, and only
    ....\Internet Explorer\Control Panel with "Homepage" of value
    0 (zero) in HKCU. Nothing in HKCR.
    So, maybe this isn't a policies matter, but something else.
    Not sure where to start, though. Perhaps some of the
    bright minds in the XP newsgroup might know? :)
     
    aeroloose, Sep 17, 2013
    #11
  12. aeroloose

    VanguardLH Guest

    To clarify, the registry key you looked for was the following?

    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Restrictions
    If a policy has no defined registry entry then the default for that
    setting is used (which means you do get to access all the Internet
    Options settings). To change away from the default means having to
    create the registry data item with the appropriate value for it.

    Malware, users, tweakers, and other programs can disable access to the
    Internet Options settings so that was one place to look. If the disable
    policy is not configured in the registry (and isn't being pushed by a
    domain login) then that's not the source of your problem.

    Are you logging into a workgroup or a domain?

    Have you yet tried booting into Windows' safe mode to eliminate
    something loading on startup causing the interferrence?

    Have you gone through the processes listed by Task Manager so you know
    what is running and that you want it running?
     
    VanguardLH, Sep 18, 2013
    #12
  13. aeroloose

    aeroloose Guest

    Yes. This key doesn't exist.
    Agreed. My takeaway from these discussions: policies are
    not the issue.
    No, single user.
    Worth a look, but it seems unlikely. I run 4 programs at
    start-up: ZoneAlarm, HostsServer, HostsServerTray, and
    Spamihilator. I recently switched to ZoneAlarm from Sunbelt
    Personal Firewall 4 (obsolete), but the switch occurred
    independently after this inetcpl issue.

    I _could_ try it in Safe Mode and see what happens overall.
    Unfortunately, if it works, I wouldn't know what was
    bypassed in the OS, drivers, etc. that might be the culprit.
    Yes. Everything there is known to me.
     
    aeroloose, Sep 20, 2013
    #13
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