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Fix: IE7 with Sitemeter: Operation aborted

Update: Sitemeter has fixed the bug (click). Now, you may return the Sitemeter script wherever you like. The text below therefore becomes interesting for curious minds only.
This posting is primarily addressed to those webmasters who experience a similar problem.



If your web page contains a Sitemeter counter, Internet Explorer users eventually see an "Operation aborted" error message. Once they click OK, the whole page disappears and is replaced by a blank page.
Quick fix: If you don't need Sitemeter so much and you want to simplify the life of 1/2 of your visitors, just remove the Sitemeter portion of your HTML code. Otherwise, continue to read.
The behavior began yesterday because Sitemeter updated their scripts. Unfortunately, they forgot about a bug of the Internet Explorer that has been causing a similar "Operation aborted" error with many scripts (for example, this blog used to have a "welcome message" that identified your place: it used to crash MSIE, too). See a technical explanation of the bug at
Microsoft Knowledge Base 927917.
If a Javascript tries to append a body element to an object that is not directly embedded below <body>, but it is within an internal table or a similar hierarchy instead, the operation will fail. In other words, all Javascripts that appear inside tables and other modules are at risk.




This bug should be fixed in Internet Explorer 8. (You may download IE8 beta 1 now.) It is also absent in Firefox 3.0.1 and Opera 9.51 which are also faster than MSIE 7 and which are recommended to the visitors.

Meanwhile, there are several methods to fix the problem on the webmaster's side. One of them is to use the simplified, script-free counter:
<a href="http://s24.sitemeter.com/stats.asp?site=s24lumidek" target="_top">
<img src="http://s24.sitemeter.com/meter.asp?site=s24lumidek" alt="Site Meter" border="0"/></a>
Obviously, s24 and s24lumidek must be replaced by your identifiers. The disadvantage is that the icon is actually not displayed now, due to another bug. But you will see all the information about your visitors, except for the referring URL. They are counted.

Alternatively, you may study the Microsoft pages above and try to modify your script (learn Javascript e.g. from the book on the left side). For example, you can insert a condition that identifies the browser and if it is MSIE, you will run no script - or the simplified one without Javascript.

If you can move your Sitemeter Javascript out of all the tables etc., good for you. What I personally did on my blogger.com blog - hopefully temporarily - is a rather extreme version of this solution:
Go to the dashboard, choose "Layout", "Edit HTML", scroll to the bottom, and include the ordinary full Sitemeter Javascript (with the counter.js source from the Sitemeter website) right before </body> at the end of the HTML template. Preview and save the template. The counter will appear at the very bottom of your blog. Don't forget to remove (or uncomment) the old copy of the Sitemeter from the bulk of your web page.
Sitemeter will hopefully fix this bug soon and we will be able to move the counter wherever we like. Moreover, I hope that Microsoft will fix this general bug of MSIE browsers.

And finally, one more advise for the visitors of the Internet who encounter important crashing websites with the Sitemeter (whose webmasters haven't yet fixed the problem) and who can't or don't want to change their IE7 browser: Add Sitemeter among the restricted sites.
1. Open "Tools" / "Options" in the menu
2. Click "Security" tab
3. Select "Restricted Sites"
4. Click "Sites" button
5. Under "Add this website to this zone", enter "*.sitemeter.com" without the quotes
6. Click "Add" button
7. Close windows using "Close" or "OK", not "Cancel".

After that, and without a restart, Sitemeter's thwartage is thwarted!
Thanks to papertiger for reporting the error.

Summary

Many alternative solutions are written above. Because they may look somewhat chaotic, let's summarize them. IE7 users may
  1. download IE8 beta 1 (beta 2 will be released next week)
  2. download Firefox
  3. download Opera
  4. add Sitemeter.com among restricted sites
The owners of the affected blogs may
  1. remove the Sitemeter Javascript completely
  2. replace the Sitemeter Javascript by the script-free HTML code
  3. move the Sitemeter Javascript out of the tables, e.g. at the end of the document
  4. write down an extra script that blocks the Sitemeter Javascript from IE users (please post details as a comment if you can do it)
Virtually all these recipes are described in this article (read it again!). ;-)

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snail feedback (15) :


reader Hypespotter said...

Thanks for the explanation. I was looking for a solution all day.


reader Stacy said...

Thank you. I just encountered this today. I am a lowly over-informed user of computerabilia. I guess there is nothing I can do until IE 8 fixes it or Sitemeter does their bit?

Thank you


reader Steven said...

thanks dude. I did the same thing and everything's up and running now ;)

also, I updated the blog post with the solution with a link to this post.

Cheers!!


reader Felipe said...

Ouch! That's why I developed my own web analyitcs app: http://www.i-stats.com and Google Analytics is NOT real-time (I have no idea how they can get away with that), so if you use Google Analytics and your site is mentioned on a high traffic blog, you won't know until a day or so later...


reader Greg said...

Thank you for confirming this... I was pulling out my hair yesterday afternoon wondering why I couldn't view my blog with IE.

Via trial and error I narrowed it down to Site Meter too. Man, what a pain.

I took the initial nuke it from my site approach, which worked but didn't make me happy (as I'm just 4k away from hitting 500K visits! :)

THANK YOU for the Blogger fix suggestions. I took the "edit template" approach and now have my Site Meter back on my page.

Thanks again,
Greg


reader Scottitude said...

From SiteMeter:
(http://weblog.sitemeter.com/2008/08/02/sitemeter-ie-issues-resolved/)

"We’ve identified and resolved two separate but related issues -

1 - IE Users viewing pages - There was a problem with users who placed their SiteMeter tracking code outside of their HTML Body Tag. Because of the changes we made this created a failure for visitors viewing sites using Internet Explorer 7.

2 - Accessing SiteMeter and Stats - Individuals trying to access or view their SiteMeter stats by clicking on their SiteMeter logo/icons were unable to gain access. This again appears to have affected only individuals using IE7.

At this time both problems have been fixed and our services are fully operational.

For those who removed the SiteMeter code from your pages please be assured that the problem has been resolved and we sincerely apologize for the inconvenience."


reader Richard D said...

Thank you so much for this information. I'm going to update my blog with a link to this post. I appreciate the information.


reader Lauren said...

Wow. I love you.


reader Devin said...

I'm with Lauren, I think I love you too. Thank you!


reader Babette said...

Thanks for this post. I took out the script the other day when I read from the Google webmaster forum about it. I will do what you suggested and place the script at the bottom of the page.


reader Dhemz said...

The sitemeter isn't the issue. I thought it was, but when I removed it, my website still had the issue. By the way, your blog has the issue as well. When I visit your blog, I get the same error.


reader Lumo said...

Hi! SiteMeter was "an" issue because for some websites, it was the only source of the error, and when removed, it was fixed.

That was the case of my blog, too. However, I unfortunately noticed a week ago that you're right and there is another JavaScript on this blog that generates the error, even with MSIE 8.0.

I don't want to search for the JavaScript and remove it, and prefer to expect the people to use a different browser or a Newsreader to get to this blog.


reader Lumo said...

Google Friend Connect - the list of followers in the right side bar - is the most recent culprit of the error here, according to many websites. Blogger.com is working on a fix.


reader Floyd said...

I know this is a post about IE-7 but, IE-8 does the same thing it is hard to believe that Microsoft making all this money can't come up with a way to make their browser run without crashing and it is sad that you can get a better web experience with freeware than with Microsoft.

IE-8 ran pretty good for me for a while but right out of the blue it started crashing and giving the operation aborted error, to tell you the truth when I downgrade to IE-7 it cures it,lol.

Just had to say that, Firefox cures the problem permanently,,lol.


reader Ayesha Sadiq said...

You have done a marvelous job! I am really inspired with your work.