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It's common to see runtime errors when visiting web sites in Internet Explorer. Unfortunately your options to deal with them are somewhat limited.

When browsing I constantly get a runtime error message asking if I want to debug. How can I stop this happening?

We can stop them, and I'll show you how.

But unfortunately they do indicate a problem. The good news, sort of, is that it's most often not your fault and there's little you can do to "fix it". The best we can do is ignore it.

The error message we're talking about looks much like this:

A Runtime Error has occurred. Do you wish to Debug?

The "Line:" and specific error message that follows will be different.

Unless you're a web developer, "Do you wish to Debug?" is pretty pointless. The same thing will happen whether you say Yes or No: nothing.

There are three common causes for this error message:

  • A problem on the page you are viewing. This is probably the most common cause. In fact the example above is exactly that - it's a bug in the Javascript I'd written for a client's web site. As a web site visitor there is nothing you can do to prevent or fix the error. As I said, we'll look at ignoring it below.

  • A problem caused by security software on your machine. Many security suites, in the interest of keeping you as safe as they think is possible, will interfere with the operation of Javascript on web sites. Such interference can result in errors such as the above.

  • Spyware. Much spyware, and even a few viruses, will install themselves into your browser or otherwise interfere with it on some way. Once again, poorly written spyware (and much of it is surprisingly poorly written) can cause these errors.

Aside form making sure you're spyware-free there's generally little you can do to fix the problem.

So we'll ignore it instead.

In Internet Explorer, click on the Tools menu, then Internet Options. In the resulting dialog click on the Advanced tab and you should be looking at something like this:

IE's Internet Options Advanced tab

You'll see two items that begin "Disable script debugging ...":

IE's Internet Options Advanced tab - script debugging options

Make sure that both of those are checked, and OK your way back out. Now you shouldn't see that error message again.

However, be aware that you didn't make the problem go away, you're just ignoring it. It's possible that the web page you're looking at won't work properly. My example above is fairly benign but there is some functionality on that particular page that isn't working, and won't work until I fix my code. Problems could range from something simple and benign to something more serious.

But aside from ensuring that you don't have spyware, there's little you can do.

Article C3236 - December 13, 2007 « »

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Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

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8 Comments
Jack Lewtschuk
December 15, 2007 5:01 PM

Actually you can eliminate some rentime errors if they are caused by a program.

Applying trial-and-error, disble the culprit.

Marcus Turner
December 16, 2007 2:08 PM

I have had luck installing the latest edition of java to take care of many of these errors.

Becky
January 13, 2008 6:47 AM

I have been battling the debugging for months! Thank you for the information.

senthil
March 24, 2008 9:17 PM

i want to know about xp registry information and how edit it and default values and tips

Christie Noble
August 28, 2008 6:03 PM

trying to stop runtime error in internet explorer.exe version 7.0.. Removing Google toolbar did not get rid of the error. It comes on after about 1 munute online. Don't know the conflicting applications in the task list.....
I will try EasyCleaner, which I downloaded. and anything else you can suggest. I am runing XP Media version
Thanks

Matt
September 12, 2008 8:47 PM

Thank You So Much for posting this help. This was easy to do & it works!

Alireza
October 6, 2009 6:21 AM

Right click On My Computer, right click and select properties.

2. Select Advanced.

3. Select Error reporting.

4. Select Disable error reporting.

5. Optionally, you can have it notify you if critical errors occur.

Lee Freeman
June 23, 2010 10:00 AM

Thanks Leo. I've looked at a half-dozen sites and none of their solutions got me anywhere. Your solution actually worked!

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