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Diagnosing Web Browser Problems

Published by Dave McCann in Software Tips · 21/8/2015 17:36:00
Tags: webbrowserproblemsIEchromefirefox
It's 2015 and so many day to day functions are performed using the Internet, including shopping, banking, and even running web applications like CRM or Accounting.  Or you may  just be trying to view a PDF file online.   Ah, life should be so easy, running anything from anywhere sounds so simple!  Unfortunately, many sites require specific security settings, specific versions of browsers, plug-ins such as Java or ActiveX (special software helpers for your browser).   

Things don't always work so well, or they do and then suddenly they don't.  So we'll cover some tips to help:

Always get a Second Opinion
  • First, you need to know what browser you're using - simple as this may seem, many users are unaware.  Are you using Microsoft Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Apple Safari?   And what version?  You should be able to tell by looking at the browser window, typically there is a settings or tools menu icon in the upper right corner where you will find an "About..." or "Help" menu to find this information.

  • Second, if you're using IE, try the same functions in Chrome or Firefox.  Using Chrome?  Try it with IE.   Divide and conquer -- knowing the problem is isolated to one particular browser can be helpful -- sometimes the site just won't work that well with your browser without a little help (more later).  Certain conditions on your computer, such as security settings or browser cookies, can prevent you from viewing a PDF or running a website properly. Often, the fastest solution is to try to open the page using a different browser.

Check those Settings
  • Switch to Compatibility View (Internet Explorer)
    Some websites display better in the Compatibility View of Internet Explorer. The Compatibility View displays a page as if it were in an earlier version of the browser.   Click on the Settings (gear) icon at the top right corner of IE, choose Compatibility View Settings, select Add to add the current page to this list.  Restart your browser.

  • Delete temporary Internet files (Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Chrome)
    This may also be referred to as "clearing the browser cache" and can fix problems because the browser keeps recent copies of each internet page in a buffer on your computer, when changes are made the cache buffer needs to be updated.
    IE - Select Settings, Internet Options, General, click Delete under the Browsing history section, select Temporary Internet Files.
    Chrome - Select Customize and Control menu) top right corner, Settings, History, Clear browsing data

  • Check PDF Viewer Settings (for issues related to PDF opening/viewing)
    If you cannot open a PDF file, often it is the setting related to viewing them within your browser.  Open your Adobe Viewer, go to Edit, Preferences, Internet, check the setting for "Display PDF in browser" if it is checked and you are having issues, uncheck it.   This will cause the PDF file to be opened separately from the browser window and can solve many issues.

Always close and re-open your browser after making changes, then re-test the website or problem function.

Internet Explorer 9 through 11:

Google Chrome:

Adobat Acrobat 9 and above:

Other Issues

Some websites require "helper" applications such as Adobe Flash or Java to be loaded and updated.   It is beyond this article, however, always make sure you have the latest version of Flash Player and Java installed on your computer, not only for compatibility but for security reasons as well.   Visit and respectively to acquire or update these add-ins.

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