Monday 11 May 2015

Windows woes

Confession - I run a Windows box. It's not because I want to, it's because I have to. I use GSAK to organise my geocache data, and although that can run under Wine (a Windows emulator) in Linux, there are a few problems. So I have a Windows XP box that I've had for donkeys years, to run GSAK.

But recently, I had a problem. I wanted to make a change to the GSAK configuration, and to do that, GSAK has to contact using the browser, and it wouldn't work. After quite a lot of messing around, I realised that the problem wasn't GSAK, the problem was that Internet Explorer (IE) could no longer access

That's IE version 6. Which is pretty old. So, ok, let's try to update it. No joy; Microsoft no longer support XP. OK, then, let's install Firefox. No joy, Firefox wants XP Service Pack 2, which I hadn't installed. So, visit the MS web site to get Service Pack 2, and, of course, no joy, Microsoft no longer support XP.

Um. At this point, it's not looking good.

But a Google search found me a site that let me download and install  Service Pack 2, and then the Firefox web site let me download and install Firefox.

Meanwhile - another confession - I have another Windows box, running Windows 7. I got that so that I could play Civilisation, which needed high end graphics. So I put GSAK on that, transferred the database, and now I can use that for my geocaching database. But I'd really  prefer to use the XP machine.

So, with Firefox installed and set as my default browser, I'm all set ... or rather I'm not. GSAK is still using IE. I'd half expected that. Some programs are hard-wired to use IE.

So, plan B. Let's try to upgreade IE. I downloaded IE7 (not so simple, you can't get it from MS because they don't support XP any more. But I found a place I could get it, and I installed it.
And when I ran IE, I was able to verify that it was indeed IE7. So I fired up GSAK again, and ... no joy. So I tried to access using IE7. No joy. Grrr.... BUT! At least, it failed using IE7, so maybe I'm making a tiny amount of progress.

OK, I'm not entirely surprised that this failed, but at least I am actually able to update IE. So let's try IE8. Another google search, another download, Download failed with IE7, so switch to Firefox to download IE8. One step forward, one step back. So, with IE8 installed, it then wants me to reboot. That's one of the things about Windows, any change you make, it wants you to reboot. So, I rebooted.

After the reboot, I ran IE. It said "Welcome to IE8", hurrah. Try to access No joy. So I started up Firefox, and tried to access the same page - no problem. So the problem is this.

GSAK can only use IE to use "get another access token", because it's using the API which can only use the internal version of IE on the Windows box, irrespective whether I make Firefox my "default browser". IE (versions 6, 7 and 8) can't access, I don't know why.


You can guess what comes next. Internet Explorer 9.

Well, you're wrong. IE9 can only be installed on Windows Vista or Windows 7.

Looks like I'm stuck. My XP machine cannot access using Internet Explorer, and GSAK can only use IE in it's internal functions, it can't use Firefox.

Time to ask around for help ...

Update ...

I installed Service Pack 3, no joy. then I tried a suggestion made by Mark Sreeves." Try Tools -> Internet Options -> Advanced Tab   Scroll down to Security and tick use TLS 1.0"

And that worked! 


  1. For info: I fired up my old XP (SP3) box using IE8 and had no problems connecting to, although I did get a bar at the top of the webpage stating they were phasing out support for old (pre-IE9) browsers. I don't have GSAK on that machine, but if you think it might help for me to test it drop me an email: simplysup [at] gmail [dot] com. You don't have a proxy server set up in IE that isn't connecting, do you? I know you've been playing with firewalls. Also, check that IE isn't simply set to "Work Offline".

  2. I checked, I can connect to the BBC web site. Maybe SP3 will help.

  3. I'd try IBM PCUser group, Doc., they have some really clever people on it ! :)

  4. Do you have contact details for them?