WWW FAQs: Why doesn't View Source work in Internet Explorer?


2006-10-17: "Help! 'View Source' is broken!" You pull down the View menu and select Source... and nothing happens! What's going on?

It's frustrating when "View Source" doesn't work. Fortunately, we can fix it!

There are two ways this can happen: either due to a possible cache-management bug in some versions of Internet Explorer, or because of a broken shortcut or shortcut to a different program called "Notepad" on your desktop.

First, minimize all of your windows and look carefully at the icons on your desktop. Do you have an icon called "Notepad" with a shortcut arrow in the lower left corner? If you do, double-click it to see if the Notepad program pops up correctly. If it doesn't, you have a broken shortcut to Notepad on your desktop. right-click the shortcut icon and choose "Delete." A broken shortcut to the Notepad utility can confuse Internet Explorer into doing nothing or launching the wrong program when "View Source" is chosen.

If a broken shortcut to Windows Notepad is not the problem, you are having trouble with Internet Explorer's caching facility. Some users have reported that when the cache is completely full, some versions of Internet Explorer will fail to launch Notepad when "View Source" is selected. You can fix this by clearing the cache.

To clear your Internet Explorer cache, select the "Tools" menu, then select "Internet Options." Make sure the "General" tab is selected. Next, click on "Delete Files." Click "OK" to confirm that you want to empty your cache, which is a safe operation. Finally, click "OK" to close "Internet Options," and restart your web browser. You should now find that "View Source" works properly.

If the cache was your problem, you should configure your browser to automatically clear the cache each time you exit. You can do so by following these steps:

1. Select "Tools"

2. Select "Internet Options"

3. Select the "Advanced" tab

4. Scroll down to the "Security" subheading (at the bottom)

5. Locate the "Empty Temporary Internet Files folder when browser is closed" box, and check it

6. Click "OK" to close "Internet Options."

This should prevent the problem from recurring in the future.

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