Saturday, May 26, 2007

Weird IE7 Search Bar Problem

Here is one that has (to date of post) stumped me.

Lavie's (1st) laptop is a XPSP2 Home edition.

I have it fully patched and IE7 installed.

Clean of malware and viruses...I'm 99.99999% sure.

So the other day, Alvis gets a tip from her BFF to check out and play with some Zwinky's

Alvis is a Great Daughter and asks her mom if it is OK to install. Lavie says sounds cute...lets see.

Unbeknownst to them, it installs an integrated MyWebSearch toolbar into IE7 (I didn't see it installed into Firefox).

So a day or two later, I pop in and see the MyWebSearch toolbar and run the Add/Remove uninstaller for it.

It's gone.

When I asked Alvis about it (sweetly and she is under a "No-Install" policy on our Microsoft systems) she gave me the back story which Lavie confirmed.

No big deal. No harm done. Except for one small problem.

My Integrated IE7 Search Bar is Dead


At all.

This isn't that big a deal. We almost never use IE7, preferring Firefox which is still working just fine.

It just bugs me now that I can't get this one minor part of IE7 working.

All the other features of IE7 are working fine.

When I type a search-term, it takes my input, however the [Enter] key doesn't do anything; nor the search button next to it.

It's like it isn't parsing the search request to the search engine.

I suspect it had something to do with the MyWebSearch toolbar installation/removal...but I'm not ready to point any fingers at anyone just yet. That the only "installation" that has occurred since the problem appeared.

Alvis was crushed thinking she broke it, no matter how hard and sweetly I tried to tell her it wasn't her fault and she wasn't in trouble. Poor thing.Publish Post


So far I've done a REIS repair IE7 to reset everything to the defaults. No good.

I've removed the existing search engines from the list and added new ones. None work.

Even made a "custom" search engine entry from their page. Nada.

I have tried to look through the registry and found the general area they seem to call to, but no go.

I've done full scans for malware/trojans/rootkits (not really expecting anything) and all come back clean.

I've checked the auto-runs with MS Sysinternal's Autoruns and TrendMicro HijackThis. All look clean.

The problem persists on both the user profiles on the system.

Still to Try...Maybe

Run MS Sysinternals Process Monitor to try to find if/where in the registry the search call is going to (either on the laptop or one of my good XP-IE7 systems) then track down that registry point and values.

Do some more registry comparisons between my good XP with IE7 system and the "damaged" XP with IE7 system.

I could do an uninstall of IE7 to roll back to IE6 then reinstall. As I can live with the problem, I doubt I will go this route as the "fix" may create more problems than the problem is worth.


I did quite a bit of searching on Microsoft's site (and the Web) but I'm not really finding any current information on how the IE7 integrated search-bar interfaces with the registry and how it's settings are kept.

So if any of you pros have any suggestions...I'm open to leads and information. Has anyone even encountered this before?

Thanks in advance.

Stumped Claus.


Anonymous said...

I have had the same problem with ie7 on 2 different machines - twice on one of them. Unisnstalling IE7 and re-installing does fix it but wish I had an easier fix - it's bound to happen again.


Claus said...

Thanks for confirming for me that I wasn't going crazy, Keith!

I'm still a touch concerned that if I tried to uninstall and reinstall IE7 that I might mess something else up, but you've given me the confidence to try.

I might do a before/after registry scan so I (hopefully) could capture the area that got corrupted in the process.

I'm going to puzzle over it a bit longer, but will likely try your suggestion for the fix.

Thanks for leaving me your comment. I appreciate it.