Monday, June 06, 2011

Fix for IE9 customers using the Connect to Local Database feature

We've recently been getting reports from our users who are unable to use JangoMail's Connect to Local Database feature after upgrading to Internet Explorer 9. The browser would freeze after clicking the Connect button, and would have to be shut down using Task Manager. After some exhaustive research, we've finally found a fix.

The Fix:

The fix involves adding a registry key to the Windows registry. You can download the reg file directly from us as a text file:
  1. Click here to download the registry entry as a text file.
  2. Rename the .txt file to a .reg file, and then double-click the .reg file to run it. This will add the necessary key to your Windows registry.
If you examine the .reg file in Notepad, you'll see that the specific key added to the Windows registry is:

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\New Windows]

Interested in learning more?

This issue is caused by an esoteric bug in Internet Explorer 9 involving ActiveX controls and modal dialog boxes. You can read about the bug here. We hope that Microsoft releases a fix to this in the next IE9 release, in which case, adding the above-mentioned registry key won't be necessary. Until then, please use the registry key as a workaround.


The Connect to Local Database feature is based on an ActiveX control. ActiveX technology is Microsoft-specific, and therefore this feature only works in Internet Explorer. It allows a user to connect to a local data source, like an Excel file, Access file, text file, or any ODBC data source (even SQL Server and Oracle), without having to upload the entire data file, and without having to export and import data. It's one of JangoMail's standout features, and one that separates us from our competitors. When we first launched this feature in 2004, Internet Explorer was the dominant browser. As the years went on, and Safari, Firefox, and Chrome chipped away at IE's market share, the number of users able to use the Connect to Local Database feature shrank. Unfortunately the functionality provided by this ActiveX control is extremely difficult to duplicate in a browser-universal technology like Flash, Java, or Silverlight. For now, we'll continue supporting our IE users taking advantage of this feature, but we hope that in the future, we'll be able to port this feature to a browser-agnostic technology.