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I'm having some problems with a user's Internet Explorer. It looks like it isn't loading CSS for sites properly.

For example here on Super User the front page seems to have loaded the fonts correctly, but has not loaded any of the background images a defined in the CSS hosted at sstatic.net, and the question / answer scores are in little boxes.

And on guardian.co.uk the Guardian logo is loaded fine from static.guim.co.uk (as is defined in the HTML directly, not in the site's CSS file). But the menu bar is not formatted like defined in the CSS from that same static.guim.co.uk domain: no grey background, no coloured font, different font.

All images seem to be fine when loading them directly. As far as I can see there is no proxy setup for IE. All renders fine in Google Chrome.

Windows is fully up to date. Malwarebytes and Norton don't report any spyware problems. Resetting IE settings doesn't fix the problems. Safe Mode doesn't improve anything.

Any suggestions? Not using IE isn't a solution for this particular user.

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How's your hard drive space? Any chance you triggered some compatibility view? Sure there's no system wide proxy settings --notably from some virus scanner or firewall software-- that IE is using (but other browsers are not)? –  Arjan Nov 21 '10 at 22:25
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3 Answers

An idea anyway...

Try rebooting windows into Safe Mode with Networking, and then try IE with the add-ons disabled (the link is usually buried in the start menu under Programs->Accessories->System Tools).

If it works as expected then you know it's more than likely a 3rd party piece of software causing the problem (i.e.: an anti-malware program trying to 'protect' you. ;) ).

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Tried, tested, failed. –  Dan Kelly Jul 11 '10 at 12:37
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If it's not affecting everything, maybe try Shift-refreshing the sites that seem messed up.

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Shift refresh has no impact. –  Dan Kelly Jul 11 '10 at 12:14
    
As an aside: while many sites are not that smart, Super User et al actually ensure that server side changes are always downloaded by the browser. Many sites just refer to some-name.css, but Super User uses a unique version number which is changed whenever the HTML of the site is changed, forcing a browser to fetch the latest CSS. Like, today: http://sstatic.net/su/all.css?v=609fabe2825d. –  Arjan Jul 11 '10 at 12:25
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I doubt it's a CSS issue, but I guess it's caused by the images being loaded from a different domain. Like superuser.com gets its images from sstatic.com, such as the sprite that includes the logo.

Hence: are you sure another browser on that same machine doesn't give the same problems? If another browser has that same issue, then it is probably caused by some virus scanner. If not, then maybe some security settings in IE?

(Note that the CSS is loaded from sstatic.com as well, so if other parts of the CSS seem to be honoured, then it must be specific to images, not to blocking third-party domains in general.)

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Chrome is fine - am trying to teach user (Father in Law) to use that instead. Looks to be IE loading remote images... –  Dan Kelly Jul 11 '10 at 12:15
    
@Dan, or: Chrome might be using different proxy settings, if any. As far as I know IE always uses the system wide proxy settings (which some virus scanner might have changed into its own), while maybe Chrome is using something different -- or none at all. Some virus scanner might also be intercepting IE traffic some other way (without a proxy), oblivious about Chrome if that was installed after the virus scanner was installed? I am just guessing, not using Windows so I don't know really. –  Arjan Jul 11 '10 at 12:20
    
As above, Safe Mode doesn't improve anything. I've tried adding SuperUser to the trusted sites and turning those settings to "Low" - no response. Remote images certainly seems to be the cause of the issue though. (No idea when the issue arose as FiL didn't even see the problem until it was pointed out even though BBC news didn't look right!) –  Dan Kelly Jul 11 '10 at 12:40
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@Dan, aha, BBC News. That uses a different domain for its static content as well, like http://static.bbc.co.uk/frameworks/barlesque/1.2.8/newnav/style/main.css (and many more other domains). Any other examples? (If you're interested: see the SO blog for the why.) –  Arjan Jul 11 '10 at 12:57
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@Dan, right, static images for talktalk.co.uk are hosted on a different domain too, like: media.talktalk.co.uk/sites/TalkTalk/Components/Static/… And the logo for The Guardian is on a different domain too: static.guim.co.uk/static/91708/networkfront/images/… Can IE fetch it directly? –  Arjan Jul 11 '10 at 13:04
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