Internet Explorer Freezes When Printing

Came across a bit of a weird issue today I thought was worth repeating here.

I took a support call where the end user could print documents in Word, Excel, Outlook without issue but as soon as she tried to print something via Internet Explorer no document appeared and Internet Explorer was non-responsive.

What struck as weird first of was how Internet Explorer was “non-responsive”.

Normally when a program locks up in Windows it’s pretty obvious. The program visibly changes and Task Manager reports the program as not responding and Windows will give you the option to end the task. In this case it was as thought there was a dialog box hidden somewhere so the rest of the application was off limits.

After quite an amount of time trying various things I managed to find the problem

Internet Explorer Protected Mode 

Protected Mode for Internet Explorer is a Windows 7 feature there to prevent webpages running applications it’s not supposed to. If it attempts to run a program you get a warning.


In this case the print driver itself was kicking off one of those warnings (this is something I’ve never seen before and I’m still looking into why).

At some point the user must have click “Don’t Allow” and put the tick in the box for “Do not show me the warning for this program again”. This meant the printer driver was waiting for input, permission to run and never getting it. 

Unfortunately you can’t re-allow a single application (as far as I’m aware anyway) so you have to reset Internet Explorer to defaults.

To do this click, Tools, Internet Options, Click the Advanced Tab, click Reset and then in the dialog box that pops up click rest. (Instructions from the Microsoft site are here)


Once that was done I was able to click “Allow” and put the tick in the box for “Do not show me the warning for this program again”.

Alternatively if there is a new browser to upgrade to (IE 8 to IE 9 for example) you can do that and it’ll have the same effect as part of the upgrade.  

After that everything started to print ok!

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Andy Parkes is Technical Director at Coventry based IT support company IBIT Solutions. Formerly, coordinator of AMITPRO and Microsoft Partner Area Lead for 2012-2013. He also isn't a fan of describing himself in the third person.

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