IE8 opens blank tabs

Discussion in 'Internet Explorer' started by AB, Jun 19, 2012.

  1. AB

    AB Guest

    I'm running IE8 on WindowsXP HE SP3. Lately IE will start opening
    multiple blank tabs as if stuck in a loop. It keeps doing this till I
    abort the application.

    Why is it doing this and what can I do to stop it from happening?

    Thanks for any suggestions!

    AB, Jun 19, 2012
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  2. AB

    VanguardLH Guest

    Tried testing after loading in its no add-ons mode?

    Happens when you visit specific sites?

    What did you configure in IE8 to do for handling opening new tabs? What
    is IE8 supposed to do to handle opening pop-ups? Open a new tab or open
    a new window?

    IE7/8 have a pop-up blocker but it isn't perfect in its default
    configuration (medium setting). Alas, in its most aggressive setting
    (high), it causes some sites not to function properly (been too long to
    remember the bad effects but remember that I had to reduce from high
    back to medium setting).

    To test effectiveness of popup blocking, see
    In your case, you don't care about in-page popups appearing (since they
    are actually content within the web page that are made to look like
    popups). You only want to test for popups that result in creating a new
    tab within the same IE window as you described. With my IE8, medium
    setting on its popup blocker, the only popups that I see produced at
    that test site are those that are fake popups (they are *in* the same
    web page). Another popup test site is In
    the past, I used a popup blocker from Edensoft: PopUpCop. Alas, the
    author abandoned development on it and the program didn't well support
    IE8 (caused crashes) so I had to stop using it. When I did use it, it
    blocked more popups than did the popup blocker included within IE7/8.
    It got rid of the in-page pseudo-popups.

    You might also want to disable meta-refresh (Internet security setting)
    as some sites use that to change the content of the page that you
    intended to visit; i.e., they redirect you elsewhere. The problem
    you'll encounter with disabling meta-refresh is that some sites get
    updated and their new web page is elsewhere and they expect to use meta-
    refresh to get you to their new web page. Anyone using meta-refresh
    should provide a link in the original web page so you can click on it
    manually do the redirection (load the other web page); however, many web
    page designers forget to test their web site with meta-refresh disabled
    and just assume everyone will have it enabled in their web browser. IE,
    Firefox, and some others let users configure the web browser NOT to
    meta-refresh just because someone wants to push them somewhere else.
    Google Chrome doesn't let its users disable meta-refresh so they are
    still exposed to this exploit.
    VanguardLH, Jun 19, 2012
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  3. AB

    AB Guest

    I don't fully understand your response but to answer some of your

    Pop-ups are opened in a new window (not a tab).

    Tab settings have checks at:
    Enable Tabbed browsing
    Enable Quick Tabs (I don't know what this does)
    Enable Tab Groups (Don't know what this is either)
    Links from other programs are opened in a new tab in current window.

    Have not seen pattern to when it happens, ie; not specific sites, but
    when it happens, I've just hit the 'x' to close out IE and instead it
    starts generating mew tabs, sometimes they're blank, but they may be
    for the same address as the last open tab.

    AB, Jun 20, 2012
  4. AB

    VanguardLH Guest

    If the cause for the new tabs were popups from the web site, and because
    you say you configure popups to open in new windows, a failure of IE's
    popup blocker would mean that you would see new IE windows appear, not
    new tabs within the same IE window. So it appears the problem is not
    the web site pushing out popups that IE's popup blocker is missing.

    The Quick Tabs feature is when you have more than one tab open. You'll
    see a small left-side tab with 4 tiny squares in it and a down-arrow.
    That's the Quick Tab. When you have multiple tabs open, click on that
    Quick Tab and you'll see a thumbnail list of all your other tabs, or you
    can click the down-arrow on the Quick Tab to see a text list of your
    tabs. It's handy if you have lots of tabs open and would prefer to see
    a list of them to navigate back to one of them rather than have to keep
    clicking through the tabs to find the one to which you want to return.

    Tab Groups is using coloring to show groups of related tabs. When you
    click a URL link within a web page, and after another tab opens, it will
    have the same color as the first page. The new tab will also open
    alongside the tab for the old page. That way you don't end up with a
    tab opening off to the right somewhere and being disconnected from the
    originating web page from where you opened that new tab.

    I would change the behavior of new tabs opened by programs. Change it
    from opening new tabs to opening new windows. If you see the behavior
    change from opening a bunch of blank tabs to opening a bunch of new IE
    windows (that are blank) then you have a process running on your host
    that is doing that. It is possible you are visiting malicious web sites
    that open a hidden instance of IE (iexplore.exe with its visible
    attribute on its window set to no, or hidden); however, typically the
    popup blocker prevents that (but I haven't tested this using IE's own
    popup blocker). When you exit your one instance of IE that shows
    multiple tabs popping open, note the instances of iexplore.exe listed in
    Task Manager's Processes tab and their PID (process identifier). You
    may have to add that column to Task Manager's display. Then use the
    titlebar "X" button to exit the visible instance of IE. After that
    closes, look back in Task Manager. Are there any remnant instances of
    iexplore.exe still loaded? If that's not the cause (of some program
    opening new tabs [or new windows after you change tab behavior
    options]), then perhaps your host is infected or you have a rogue
    program that keeps trying to open new tabs or windows for whatever is
    the current default web browser.

    Did you yet try the suggestion of running IE in its no add-ons mode?
    You would have to run it that way for awhile since you say that the
    problem is erratic and you don't know when it will happen and cannot
    reliably reproduce the symptom. That also means while in no add-ons
    mode that you cannot see Flash content and all the other add-ons you
    installed into IE won't work during that testing period when you load IE
    in its no add-ons mode.
    VanguardLH, Jun 20, 2012
  5. AB

    AB Guest

    Thanks so much for your time and effort to help me out!
    I appreciate the explanations of tab settings.

    I believe my pc is secure. I run ZoneAlarm firewall and Avira
    antivirus and do a full system check once per week. System comes up
    clean. That said, I do have a problem with static. I frequently get
    the noise coming through the speakers, usually when there's activity.
    I had a good computer tech person come in to check it out but he
    couldn't find the source. I think it may be either dust that
    accumulates in hard-to-get-to places on the wires, or wires that are
    too close. My set-up makes it hard to resolve this (can't get to most
    wires as behind the furniture). I did recently see something change
    on the screen during one of these static episodes, so I assume it can
    be responsible for some problems, although don't know if the tab
    problem is one.

    I have noticed that there's only 1 entry for IE in the task manager
    when these multiple tabs start opening. When I close it, IE closes
    down and there are no other entries for it. I haven't checked on the
    processes though; will do that next time.

    I do use add-ons and hate to disable them so not ready yet to try
    that. I will though change from opening tabs to opening windows to
    see what happens. Will post any results.

    Thanks again.


    AB, Jun 21, 2012
  6. AB

    Ann B. Guest

    I did change my tab settings so that instead of a tab a new window is
    opened. Haven't had the problem since.

    Thanks for the help!


    Ann B., Jun 26, 2012
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