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Browser Tune-Up - Tips & Troubleshooting

If you are having trouble using Blackboard Learning System, there may be a problem with your browser or other software on your computer.

First, check and configure your browser using the Browser Tune-Up. Then, read the following tips and troubleshooting information.

Spyware and Deceptive Software| Top

Spyware, parasites, and other deceptive software can cause problems when using WebCT or other websites. Blackboard recommends that you check for, then uninstall or temporarily disable these types of software to eliminate problems when accessing Blackboard.

To check your browser for spyware, parasites, and other deceptive software and for more detailed information, visit the Doxdesk page on parasites: http://www.doxdesk.com/parasite

To help you control these types of Internet programs that could run on your computer, you can download and install a spyware detection and removal utility, such as:

For more information, see Microsoft's page about Spyware and Unwanted Software.

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Try Using a Different Browser| Top

Most spyware and deceptive software affects only Internet Explorer. If you have many problems with Internet Explorer, using a different web browser may be a suitable workaround.

Depending on your version of Blackboard and your client operating system, other supported browsers include: Netscape, Mozilla, Firefox, and Safari.

View the list of browsers supported for your version of Blackboard.

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Check Your Computer for Viruses | Top

Viruses can cause many problems with your computer. If your computer is infected with a virus, you may have trouble using WebCT.

Scan your computer to check for viruses. If you do not have a virus checker, it is strongly recommended that you get one and install it.

Two examples of well-known anti-virus programs are McAfee VirusScan and Symantec's Norton AntiVirus. Each of these companies also offer free scanning services:

Microsoft Support maintains a list of antivirus-software vendors.

For more information about security:

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Keep Your Microsoft Windows Software Updated | Top

If you are using Microsoft Windows operating system, to prevent malicious programs from taking advantage of known security holes, make sure you have the latest updates from Microsoft:

  1. In Internet Explorer, from the Tools menu, select Windows Update.
  2. Follow the online instructions.

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Sun Java Runtime Environment Errors | Top

Some users have reported problems using WebCT with Microsoft Windows and some versions of the Sun Java Runtime Environment (JRE).

Possible causes include using an incompatible version of Sun JRE or having multiple versions of Sun JREs installed. Some users have found that their problems are resolved after uninstalling all versions of Sun JRE from their computers, and then installing an earlier version, like Sun JRE 1.4.2_09.

  1. From the Start menu, select Settings, Control Panel.
  2. Double-click Add/Remove Programs.
  3. Locate all versions of Sun Java, JRE, or JVM.
  4. For each version, click Change/Remove and follow the onscreen instructions.
  5. Download Java.
  6. To install the JRE, accept the license agreement and follow the online and onscreen instructions.

After installing the JRE and rebooting your computer, do not download updates for the JRE. Disable automatic checking for Java updates:

  1. From the Start menu, select Settings, Control Panel.
  2. Double-click Java Plug-in.
  3. Click the Update tab.
  4. Clear the checkbox next to Check for Updates Automatically.
  5. Click Apply.
  6. Click the "x" to close the Java Plug-in Control Panel window.

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Green screen and code like "); d.writeln(" "); | Top

When trying to access a course after logging into WebCT, some users have reported getting a green screen and code like "); d.writeln(" "); displaying in their browsers instead of the WebCT course.

It has been reported that this can be caused by the RX Bar (Search Engine Bar) that can be installed when you install peer-to-peer file sharing applications like Kazaa.

Users have found that this problem can be resolved by uninstalling the RX Bar.

  1. In Microsoft Windows, open the Control Panel.
  2. Open Add or Remove Programs.
  3. Find the entry for RX Bar, then click Change/Remove.
  4. If prompted, confirm that you want to remove the program.
  5. Restart your computer.

See also:

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HTTP 403 Forbidden or Access Denied Errors | Top

When trying to log into WebCT, some users have reported getting "403 Forbidden" or "Access Denied" error messages.

One possible cause is an Internet Explorer 6 update installed by Windows Update. Some users found that this problem could be resolved by changing an Internet Explorer setting:

  1. In Internet Explorer, from the Tools menu, select Internet Options.
  2. Click the Advanced tab.
  3. Under Browsing, clear the checkbox for Show friendly HTTP error messages.
  4. Click OK.
  5. Restart the Internet Explorer browser.

If this problem persists after changing this setting and restarting your browser, it may be caused by spyware or deceptive software on your computer. Read more about spyware and WebCT.

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Search Toolbars and Session Already Running Errors | Top

When trying to access WebCT Vista, some users have reported getting "Session Already Running" error messages.

Some users found that this problem could be resolved by changing an Internet Explorer setting:

  1. In Internet Explorer, from the Tools menu, select Internet Options.
  2. Click the Advanced tab.
  3. Under Browsing, clear the checkbox for Show friendly HTTP error messages.
  4. Click OK.
  5. Restart the Internet Explorer browser.

Search toolbars may cause this problem. Users have reported that this problem could be resolved by uninstalling search toolbars from Yahoo!, mySearch, AltaVista, Google, and other sites.

You may be able to uninstall a toolbar through the Windows Control Panel:

  1. From the Start menu, select Settings, Control Panel
  2. Double-click Add/Remove Programs
  3. Locate the search toolbar, and click Change/Remove
  4. Follow the onscreen instructions.

For more information on uninstalling a program, refer to its documentation.

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WebDAV and Folder is Invalid Errors | Top

When trying to access a folder in WebCT Vista using the WebDAV client in Microsoft Windows 2000 or XP, some users have reported getting an error message saying that the "folder is invalid".

This can be caused by some Microsoft Windows WebDAV clients that encode the path that the user enters, including changing the plus sign (+) to %2B. These WebDAV clients may have been updated by installing Microsoft Office XP/2003. The original WebDAV client that shipped with Windows 2000 and XP does not encode the plus sign (+) in the path, so it works with WebDAV paths in WebCT Vista.

Example of Path Encoding

The WebDAV path supplied to the user is:

http://server.webct.com:8900/webct/webdav/10.1.6.95-1084809904923-2001072000.2001073000/Domain+Name/Institution+A

However, the Windows WebDAV client encodes it to the following, which does not work:

http://server.webct.com:8900/webct/webdav/10.1.6.95-1084809904923-2001072000.2001073000/Domain%2BName/Institution%2BA
 

Workaround 1

In the WebDAV path, use spaces where the plus sign (+) was.

Example:
http://server.webct.com:8900/webct/webdav/10.1.6.95-1084809904923-2001072000.2001073000/Domain Name/Institution A
 

Workaround 2

On the affected client computer, re-install the original WebDAV client for Microsoft Windows.

  1. Find the file: webfldrs.msi
    The location of the file depends on the version of Windows that you are using.

    For example, on Microsoft Windows XP:
    - This file is normally found under \WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\webfldrs.msi
    - If you installed Windows XP Servicepack 1 you will find it under \WINDOWS\ServicePackFiles\i386\webfldrs.msi

    For example, on Microsoft Windows 2000:
    - This file is normally found under \WINNT\system32\webfldrs.msi
     
  2. To start the installation, double-click webfldrs.msi
     
  3. Click "Select reinstall mode".
     
  4. Uncheck "Repair all detected reinstall problems".
    Check "Force all files to be reinstalled, regardless of checksum or version".
    Check "Verify that required user registry entries are present".
    Check "Verify that required machine registry entries are present".
    Check "Validate shortcuts".
     
  5. Click OK and REINSTALL.
     
  6. Reboot your computer.

Workaround 2 based on:
http://lists.suse.com/archive/suse-slox-e/2003-Nov/0935.html

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"Error on Page" when attempting to add an attachment in WebCT Vista or CE 6 | Top

When trying to add an attachment to an assignment or discussion message in WebCT Vista or CE 6, some users have reported seeing an "Error on Page" message in their browser.

There are a number of possible causes for this error; most can be resolved by following WebCT's Browser Tune-Up instructions.

If you have already completed the Browser Tune-up, and you still experience this problem, the following suggestions from the Ask Dr. C forums may help:

For more information on these and other suggested solutions, please see the Ask Dr. C forum for students using WebCT Vista. You will find discussions about this issue in the following message threads, among others:

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