Internet Explorer balks at Firefox download link

Edit: Unfortunately, the images originally included in this post are gone, because of hosting problems in late 2009. My apologies.

This is amusing to me; I’m sure there’s a very good, very rational reason for this issue and I’m probably just not sharp enough to catch it.

But on a clean installation of Windows XP (don’t ask; it’s a long story), Internet Explorer 6 claims there’s an error on the download page, and refuses to allow a click on the download button.

A screenshot is the best I can do here, since I don’t really have any other way of proving it won’t work. I restarted IE and tried twice, but both times I get a supposed “error report” for that page (see the bottom left of the IE status bar) and double-clicking that gives the error report on the upper right. The pointer does not turn into a “hand” anywhere near the giant green download button.

I’ve highlighted and put a red oval around the offending “line 190” from the page source.

If there’s an error in that line, I don’t know enough Web code to see it. Somebody smarter please clue me in.

For the record, that’s a fresh SP2 installation from a legitimate disc, and I haven’t done any upgrades except for the first round, as was suggested by the update notifier … or whatever Microsoft is calling it these days. It would be ironic if the first thing that little yellow shield did was hard-code IE to ignore the GetFirefox page. Of course, I wouldn’t put it past them.

I could still follow the links to the interior of the site and download it from the list of language selections. And yes, the same page with the same code at the same line works fine in Firefox, of course.

I will admit it gave me a laugh for a second though.


16 thoughts on “Internet Explorer balks at Firefox download link

  1. Robert Currie

    I imagine that it’s probably a case of a syntax thing such as eXPecting there to be a space between // and –> as it could be misinterpreting //–> as a bad statement…

    Never liked the ‘glitches’ required to get things to work in explorer so don’t use it as long as I can help it so don’t know.

    (I’m probably completely wrong so I wouldn’t listen to me… all I can say is put SP3 on the install and try again)

  2. K.Mandla Post author

    I’ll try it again, if I reinstall XP for whatever reason. I wish I could have thought of a way to show that, but aside from a screenshot, I didn’t have the means.

  3. zmjjmz

    That’s Internet Explorer being retarded. When it sees ‘”
    But no, it’s clearly retarded. Put FF on a USB stick or something and install it there.

  4. johnraff

    The “//” starts a Javascript comment I think, and the “–>” closes the html comment which began with “” for a start. I don’t really think the “//” should be needed at all so you could also try just removing it.

    Or try it with javascript disabled.

    Or just copy the download url out of the source code and paste it in IE’s address bar!
    (This might be it:
    “href=”” )

  5. johnraff

    Yeah WordPress cut a whole chunk out of my last post probably confused by the html comment. Let it be- the last 2 ideas were probably better anyway…

  6. davis

    I just ran across this very issue today after building a new Media Center 2005 PC.

    I had to download Firefox Portable (from just to download the real FF.

    After I finished patching the computer (in which I also installed IE7) I was able to click the download link with no problems.

    Funny how I came across your blog posting of the exact same issue I had to deal with today.

  7. L4Linux

    Who uses IE anymore?? According to w3counter, in my blog 38% of visitors are using windows. The same time only 10% of visitors used IE, which means that 75% of windows users did not use IE.
    IE usage is going down for years and won’t stop.

  8. Liam

    Similar thing happened to me just the other day after re-installing Windows XP.

    However while I had no problems downloading Firefox (from not every time I tried to run the .exe Windows would inform me the file was corrupt.

    I tried this many, many times, before downloading Google’s Chrome and using Chrome to download Firefox… which of course installed it first time fine!

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  10. johnraff

    As to IE usage, I’m afraid a Linux-oriented blog might give you a somewhat unrepresentative user sample. My restaurant’s site ( , in Japan) for example, reports 88.7% of visitors using Windows, 6.2% Mac, 4.3% “unknown” and a tiny 0.7% for Linux! Browsers: 84.9% IE, 5.4% Firefox, 3.8% Safari… It’s true that Firefox is eating into IE’s share but there’s still a long way to go.

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  12. Sean

    mearly ends it. It’s good practice when coding in Javascript to wrap your code in HTML comments to ensure that old browsers skip over the code when they don’t know how to handel the script. But that’s for anchent browsers. IE 6 there should have no problem with it.

  13. boy

    This just proves that when you have a big website, you are supposed to check for browser compatibility with MSIE6

    This is sad.

  14. scrooge_74

    Maybe is just me, but a few months ago I was trying to help a friend figure out some stuff about moving his data from an old Palm using Palm OS to a new one using WM6 (not a pretty sight). But the only PC I had for researching was his (which uses Vista and had no Firefox). It took me ages to find stuff using IE and that damn Vista, using Firefox manage to get info in under 10 mins.

    I was intrigue and another day I tried searches related to Linux and turns out the searches went well off the mark (lots of adds and few valuable info) if you tried the search feature it has built in and then you compare the results to using Google under Firefox

    Makes you wonder..


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