Gibberish characters displayed in Internet Explorer?

Dennis Faas's picture

Infopackets Reader John S. writes:

" Quite often, my web browser displays gibberish characters throughout the entire web page, instead of the web page itself.

I have to refresh the screen (sometimes repeatedly) to get the page to display correctly. This also sometimes happens to my emails, too. I did a clean reinstall of Windows, but it didn't help. Any suggestions? "

My response:

I was plagued with a similar problem for quite some time.

After upgrading to Windows XP, my old firewall program (Black Ice) didn't work properly. I decided to replace Black Ice with Zone Alarm ... which was about the same time that my web browser started acting goofy.

I did some digging and found a setting in Zone Alarm which allows me to disable / enable ads and browser cookies. Once this feature was turned down all the way, the problem went away.

When John originally emailed me, he included a screen capture of his Desktop. I noticed he also had Zone Alarm installed on his machine, so I told him to try disabling the ad-blocking feature. He responded shortly after and informed me that the problem went away.

To disable ad-blocking in Zone Alarm:

  • Double left-click the Zone Alarm icon in the Tray Bar
  • Click the Privacy Label on the far left of the screen
  • Click the 'Main' Tab at the top of the window
  • Slide the Ad Blocking bar all the way down (disabled)
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