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April 25, 2006

Something Mysterious That My Computer Does

Here's something I don't understand. When I run Firefox and click on a mailto link, what happens is:

  1. The Firefox app (all windows) freezes completely for about a minute, while the rest of Windows works fine.
  2. Then it launches between 58 and 63 (from my counts so far) Internet Explorer windows, each with the bogus mailto link as the URL and an error message in the main window.
  3. Firefox then unfreezes, and once I close all the IE windows, the system is fine.

There is something so delightful about this, the way it launches a random number of windows, and such a strange number...it's one of those cases where I can't understand why the code would do that. One window, or an infinite number, I could see, but why such a random (and slightly variable) number? It almost makes the computer seem human. As a result, I have no desire to try to fix it.

Posted by AdamBa at April 25, 2006 07:09 PM

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Odd. Have you got any extensions to handle mailto links, or have you done anything odd with the URL:MailTo Protocol entry in Folder Options/File Types? What app do you use for email? (I know you don't want to solve the problem, but I'm still curious as to the cause. :)

Posted by: Mat Hall at April 26, 2006 03:31 AM

Are you using "dog food" outlook?

Posted by: Ivan at April 26, 2006 04:23 AM

The random and variable number of IE windows makes perfect sense. I would bet a penny that it really is trying to open an infinite number of windows, but it stops when you run out of desktop heap. That is the limit you usually run into when opening a large number of IE windows.

I don't know what is causing the original problem, but if you are enjoying it, that's one less thing to worry about! If you ever do want to fix it, in addition to the URL:MailTo that Matt suggested, you could also take a look at the Programs tab in the Internet Options control panel.

Posted by: Michael Geary at April 26, 2006 09:57 AM

I'm not using dogfood, this is on my home machine running Outlook 2003.

I don't have a URL:mailto setting at all. I tried changing the Programs tab to point to Outlook Express (it was Outlook), but that didn't change anything.

- adam

Posted by: Adam Barr at May 1, 2006 08:55 PM