Background: Co-worker had just re-imaged a number of Dell OptiPlex 790s with Windows 7 SP1 64-bit and 32-bit. After the computers were imaged, he ran through the rest of the standard preparation procedure. Opening Internet Explorer and trying to take it to another website, it immediately crashed. Trying different sites, it consistently crashed whenever you tried to load a new page.
First, box would popup and tell you “Internet Explorer has stopped working. Windows is checking for a solution the problem…”.
That box would turn into “A problem caused the program to stop working correctly. Windows will close the program and notify you if a solution is available.”
Upon hitting the ‘Close program’ button, IE would reload, close the page you were trying to get to or were already on (the home page loaded fine). It would take you to res://ieframe.dll/acr_depnx_error.htm#google.com,http://www.google.com/
That page blamed the reason for crashing on a malfunctioning or malicious add-on. That’s when it landed on my desk.
Troubleshooting steps: This seemed like an easy enough error. IE is blaming an add-on, so I go to Tools, Manage add-ons and disable all the add-ons but find that the problem still happens. Internet Explorer (No Add-ons), found under Start, Programs, Accessories, System Tools, also crashed when you tried to go to any page.
The 64-bit version of Internet Explorer worked just fine while the 32-bit version of the browser consistently crashed.
If you went to Edit, Preferences in Adobe Reader, it would also crash. Firefox and some other apps also seemed to crash at various points of their use with the same useless message.
Instead of uninstalling all the addons, plugins, and other apps I reimaged the computer to vanilla Windows 7 and the injected drivers for the model. The problem still occurred on the freshly reinstalled PC with nothing else on it.
The event log entry for the crash was just as useful as the error message:
Faulting application name: iexplore.exe, version: 8.0.7601.17514, time stamp: 0x4ce79912
Faulting module name: unknown, version: 0.0.0.0, time stamp: 0x00000000
Exception code: 0xc0000005
Fault offset: 0x00000000
Faulting process id: 0xb90
Faulting application start time: 0x01cd06dcf0b0899b
Faulting application path: C:Program Files (x86)Internet Exploreriexplore.exe
Faulting module path: unknown
Report Id: 347bf97b-72d0-11e1-a0c4-1803734ce4a8
Event ID: 1000
I verified all the correct drivers were installed and that there were no unknown devices. I originally grabbed all the drivers from Dell for that model in its Driver Pack and imported that into our deployment server. I downloaded the video card driver for the ATI 6350 separately and installed it to find the problem immediately solved. Comparing the version numbers, the individual, working driver was 8.783 while the driver that caused the crashes is version 8.863. Unfortunately, the newer driver is the problem and Windows Update even wants to update to it. Rolling back the driver, everything appears to be working correctly.
Solution: I imported the 8.783 driver into the deployment server and deleted the newer version of the driver. We installed the older driver on those computers that have already been imaged and everything seems to be resolved.
Side note: After I diagnosed the problem, I did a quick search to see if somebody else has experienced this problem and this thread on the Dell Community site confirms that we are not alone. Dell was made aware of the issue and confirmed that in September, 2011 but has not corrected the problem.
Side note 2: While looking for this error many sites will recommend in IE going to Tools, Options, Advanced, Security and unchecking the ability for IE to manage memory. While many people report that it corrected their problem (it didn’t correct mine and wouldn’t have any affect on the other effected applications), it is a bad idea to do so as it leaves your browser susceptible to buffer overflow vulnerabilities.