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A spinning circle means that something is busy happening and you need to wait. If this is actually causing a problem, the first place to look is in your add-ons.

Windows 7. First, I click on IE9 and occasionally when I click on a website, the computer returns back to the desktop and a little circle starts to spin. After awhile, the computer automatically returns to the website that I attempted to open. What gives?

In this excerpt from Answercast #27, I look at a case where Internet Explorer might be disappearing for a few moments while it loads a page. That's very odd behavior...

IE9 shuts down?

It's a little unclear exactly the sequence that you're going through here.

  • If you're in an application that gives you a link that you can click on, the spinning circle usually means that Windows is busy; it's doing something... it might very well be loading IE9. It's not until IE9 has finished loading that it becomes visible and takes over the screen.

  • If you're saying you are already in IE9 and you click on a website link... and IE9 goes away (while that circle starts to spin, meaning Windows is busy doing something).. and then IE9 comes back? Then I'm a little bit confused.

In reality, IE9 should not go away. Internet Explorer should not go away when you click on a link. It should simply bring up the page.

Now, it may take a little bit of time depending on the page so I would expect that little spinning circle to happen, but I wouldn't expect the desktop to appear while that's going on.

Disable add-ons

My traditional response to a situation like this (where Internet Explorer is doing something that we don't understand) is to begin by disabling all of the add-ons in Internet Explorer.

  • It's in the Tools, Add-on Manager menu. In there, you'll find a number of add-ons; some of which you may or may not recognize.

Go ahead and disable all of them and see if the problem persists. If it goes away, then what I would do is start re-enabling add-ons, probably one at a time, based on which ones you recognize and see what comes back.

See if one of them causes the problem to reoccur.

Windows is busy

In general, all that spinning circle means is that Windows is busy doing something. Nine times out of ten, what it's doing is loading Internet Explorer or loading the web page that you've asked to view.

Article C5482 - June 17, 2012 « »

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.

Not what you needed?

June 18, 2012 6:27 PM

1 possibility is if the link is set to open in a new tab the new tab will open blank, before the page loads

Dianne K
June 19, 2012 9:08 AM

This happens to me a lot, then I get the 'not responding' notice. I don't have many add-ons. I have Adobe flash, XML HTTP, & Java plug-in helper..are any of these even necessary?

June 19, 2012 2:10 PM

I notice that Windows 7 in general (I don't use IE) gives me a busy signal a lot more than Windows XP. I find this odd because my Windows 7 laptop (Home Premium) has 4 GB of RAM versus 1 GB on my XP Professional laptop.

June 20, 2012 8:15 AM

It seems that a multi-core computer which is not accessing it's hard drive very much should not give you a spinning circle with no option to start another task. I think XP used to give you an arrow and an hour glass simultaneously. Something is hogging the processors.

June 26, 2012 12:11 AM

My PC XP IDE drive IE 8 often shows the light blueish spinning circle about half way along a longish video, usually from you tube, the video can be about 5 minutes long in time. Temp internet files isn't full. It seems to me to be the ISP, which is broadband, is holding things up as the PC is on the big side re hardware and should cope with videos easily. The laptop with smaller hardware has the same symptom. Also the laptop on a slow or and low strength signal from a different router does often show the blue circle when displaying a video from youtube. When there is a low or slow signal the video buffers a lot sometimes stopping altogether. The laptop has XP as does the IDE drive on the PC both have IE 8. On the PC is a SATA drive with W7 but I haven't used that very much.
Are add ons added on as a video is displayed?
Is there something in the computer that gets blocked up when showing a video?

October 5, 2012 12:54 AM

My laptop is barely 8months old: running Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit on a Dell XPS502x, i5-2520M CPU, 2.5 GHz, 6.00 GB RAM. The third party software on my computer is limited to: Firefox, Mcafee, CCleaner and usual adobe flash plugin, pdf reader. And I only have about 100 files (docx and pdf combined) on my hard drive so the indexing going on must be minimal. And I never have more than a few tabs open and may be working on word document or two.

Just until three four weeks ago I never saw the spinning blue circle. Programs or folders or MSconfig will pop open instantaneously when launched.

Now all of a sudden, everything has 2 to 5 seconds of blue spinning circles before they open. And if the program is launched for the first time during the session, it can take more than that for it to show up. For example, the games folder will open, but the game icons in the folder will take a few seconds to appear.
I am not sure, but the spinning blue circle started happening either after I system restored when the laptop got a Liveplatinum virus attack a few weeks ago; or after I hibernated my computer for the first time around the same time.

I had another laptop with Vista and it happened on it too after a few months.

I see that a lot of people have the same problem when I googled for solutions. It is frustrating that Microsoft will not fix this issue.

November 3, 2012 11:47 AM

I got windows7 64bit with 2more gb of memory and Ie 9.
It is unbearable: It will pause while typing. Spinning cirlcle all the time, and the current screen dissappears and then comes back in a few seconds. Scrolling up and down will pause every 20 seconds or so.
Watching for weeks and it looks to be internet temporary files and the disk queue at 50.
This is with nothing else running but IE/System.
SAV seems to be involved: It paused twice while typing this.

November 3, 2012 11:49 AM

To clarify: I stopped using I.E, went to googe, same thing so went to barebones Opera. no difference. It's not the browsers.

What you describe is a generic slowdown on your machine that could be anything. I'd start here: Why is my machine slowing down?

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