Hi there here are my system specifications.

Pentium D dual core cpu 3.20 ghz
2.0 Ghz of ram.
512 mb video card, nvidia. Geforce 7950 GX2
Western Digital 250 gigs sata
Creative soundblaster X-FI
Marvell Yukon PCI-E Gigabit ethernet controller.

Can't think of anything else you might need.

I've been having a problem with my computer since a fresh install of windows xp. Before anyone suggests the following I'll list what I've done and what the problems are.

I have already run two virus scanners to check for viruses, and also adware programs. Such as spybot and adaware. Seeing as this problem happened immediately after a reinstall I doubt very highly that it was due to a virus or malware. Just my two cents.

Now the problems, In outlook express and Msn messenger, when someone sends me a hyperlink such as http://www.google.ca If I click on the link within these two programs the link will take a rather long time to respond such as 1 - 10 minutes. This problem does not happen within firefox and internet explorer. For example if I have these two browsers open I can click on hyperlinks without any problems. Also I have tried other programs such as pidgin to open hyperlinks and I still experience the extended opening time of the hyperlink. One other thing that I remembered is that while the hyperlink is opening the program that the hyperlink is in, for example the hyperlink is in outlook express, outlook express will lockup while the hyperlink is being loaded in internet explorer or firefox. It doesn't matter which browser is trying to open the hyperlink. Also if I copy the link into the browser it will open instantaneously.

I do not know if these problems are related but I'll also include the other problems I'm having at the moment. When I close programs it can take anywhere from 5-10 seconds for the program to completely close and for me to be able to do anything on the computer. Sometimes it takes less time sometimes it takes more.

Also when I was reinstalling windows I briefly had a disk read error since then it hasn't reappeared I know that intermittent problems are very hard to diagnose but maybe someone has an idea bout this?

Another problem I'm having is random restarts, I suspect this is due to either a hardware conflict or a bad piece of hardware on my system, but if anyone has any ideas as to the likely culprit I'd appreciate it.

Just wanted to say thank you in advance for any help I get regarding this. So thank you.

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Wanted to also add that I periodically experience an issue with links within folders now as well. Also this is a bump to ensure that this problem gets looked at.

How fresh an install of XP? Coud the prior Registry have survived?

What's running when the hyperlink problem occurs?

Is there genuine interchange of behaviour? i.e. consistently at all times IE hyperlinks are fine, e-mail hyperlinks are not?

Which e-mail program are you using and is that perhaps hogging CPU?

Are there any COM add-ins associated with anything you're doing? The Acrobat add-in is notorious in slowing up office applciations, particularly in Office 2007.

That sort of additional inf.

Thanks for the reply from both of you. As for the fresh install, I was working off a completely formatted harddrive reinstalled windows. So completely fresh install. When the hyperlink problem occurs outlook express or msn can be the only program running, or they can be among other programs running.

As for hyperlinks running fine, when I'm inside a browser opening a hyperlink the hyperlink opens fine. If I'm trying to open the hyperlink within msn or outlook express the hyperlink will take anywhere from 1-10 minutes to open. Seems like I can kind of speed up the process sometimes by opening a new browser window, this doesn't always work.

As for adobe acrobat I actually don't have it installed right now.

Oh and caperjack I tried that unfortunately it didn't lead anywhere. Thanks but no dice :(

I know this problem is going to be a biatch to solve. I'm going to rep you guys for trying.

Thanks for the kind words. Google's got hundreds of topics on the subject and I dug this up which you may not yet have got to.

I was thinking about the tight binding between OE and IE, so when I searched I picked this up:
If clicking a hyperlink in Outlook Express appears to do nothing at all, there are likely one or more registered file associations that are configured incorrectly. To repair the associations:

Open My Computer and click Folder Options on the Tools menu.
Click the File Types tab.
Select URL:Hypertext Transfer Protocol in the list of registered file types.
Click the Advanced button (Windows XP), or the Edit button (other versions).
In the list of Actions, select open and then click the Edit button.
The Application used to perform action box should contain this, including quotation marks:
“C:\Program Files\Internet Explorer\iexplore.exe” -nohome
If instead it contains a short name version of that path, or an incorrect path, change it to the above.
Click OK, click OK.
Repeat steps 3-7 for the file type URL:Hypertext Transfer Protocol with Privacy.
Click OK to close the Folder Options window.

You might point out (again) that the problem occurs with Firefox too. But, when setting up your windows, the Hyperlink behaviour is configured as if IE is to be used.

The web also mentioned there is a mismatch between OE and IE7 - I don't know if IE7 is what you set up.

Let us know.

Well I tried the fix, what was in there originally was, well prior to me changing it to “C:\Program Files\Internet Explorer\iexplore.exe” -nohome was C:\PROGRA~1\MOZILL~1\FIREFOX.EXE -requestPending -osint -url "%1" unfortunately even with the change on both URL:Hypertext Transfer Protocol and URL:Hypertext Transfer Protocol with Privacy there was no change in the behavior of hyperlinks opening within outlook express they still took a long time to open. However one thing that seems a bit weird to me is that C:\PROGRA~1\MOZILL~1\FIREFOX.EXE -requestPending -osint -url "%1" includes request pending? I'm going to try searching google for that and see if I come up with anything.

Oh and also I am running internet explorer 7, my computer has the latest updates from windows update. I'm not sure what the mismatch between outlook express and internet explorer 7 would be, but that would probably be taken care of with me using firefox I would think. Also just because this problem is such a nice one, it also happens with msn messenger, so even if it was an outlook express problem I don't think that's the case in this scenario. It seems everytime I think i've found a solution I can pretty much discount it because more than one program is having the problem. Sucks for me, but thanks for helping.

I look forward to seeing more responses from you guys on this.

Alrighty boys, looks like I'm a few steps away from marking this as solved.

You got me on the right track though suspicio it turns out that under the tools -> folder options -> file types -> advanced -> There was an option called use dde checked, for some reason, this will horribly slow down processes because it's years old already, and only one dde process can work at a time. So here's a big thank you for solving this, I noticed that use dde was checked for other things so I'm going to go and disable use dde.

Well it turns out use dde is checked for almost everything under file types, and there's way too many file types to uncheck use dde for them all. Now I'm wondering how it got checked, anyone have any ideas about this, this is probably a shot in the dark but I figured I'd try..

According to my research, Use DDE should be checked for the theoretical reason that a mechanism to bridge from OE to the browser must be defined.

It certainly is on my system and I have no delays when opening a URL. The DDE message string on my system is


Anyway, I found this in my research which confuses the hell out of me (because I don't understand what OE would use instead of DDE) but will raise your eyebrows a little and cause you to experiment further:

On your earlier point about Messenger, its set up is bound into OE and then into IE. The change in the File Types to FireFox occurs, as you know, when you register FireFox as your default browser. I wonder what other registry or system changes Firefox made.

But then you did a fresh install. Did you test it all in that clean environment with only IE7 and no FireFox present?


Well from what I read about dde, is it's an older process and will only run one process at a time, causing it to take quite a bit, which is why I initially unchecked dde thinking that it might help which it did. Now the confusing thing is if it's supposed to be the bridge between oe and ie.. Then what's the bridge with it unchecked? Hrmm fascinating indeed ;) Oh well I'll mark this as solved now because the rest of it's really just theoretical and possibility's that you guys can give me.

I have to add to this. I had a day which I did a bunch of updates to my XP x64 install- Windows updates, defrag, registry clean, and spyware sweep. A day or two later my Office suite (Word and Excel in particular) were running extremely slow. The apps would take sometimes minutes before they would pull open.

The other thing I started noticing was that links from Windows Live Messenger as well as Outlook also started experiencing these painful slowdowns.

My system specs are pretty high currently.

I have a custom built:
8 gigs DDR RAM
Dual Quad Core Core 5160s

So, there's really no reason why any of this should be running slow.

My first instinct was that it was a virus so I scanned for that several times. Then secondly, I thought it may have been the new AVG causing this - I uninstalled and still had these issues.

Over time, I realized that if opened up the process manager, it would often kick in/start up these applications. It was weird, but it worked some of the time.

Finally, I came across this thread. The problem is such a generic term that it is almost like finding a needle in a haystack.

I disabled DDE for this and suddenly my computer is back to normal again regarding the links. It actually seems better (and much faster) than ever.

I will have to wait a few days and see how the rest of the Office suite performs.

Thanks again for the help here. I thought it was my imagination or something which I screwed up somehow.

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