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How to run findinsite-cd in Windows XP SP2, Vista and 7


Introduction

Before buying a findinsite-cd license, please check carefully for any problems running findinsite-cd using Internet Explorer under Windows XP SP2+, Windows Vista, Windows 7 (and equivalent). These versions of Windows have a serious effect on locally-served active content.

In the following text, SP2 refers to Microsoft Windows XP with Service Pack 2+, Windows Vista, Windows 7 and equivalent.

Microsoft's Service Pack 2 (SP2) for Windows XP, Windows Vista. Windows 7 and equivalent include security changes to protect your computer from "active content" running locally in Internet Explorer.

We understand that the main problem is online web sites that find security holes to run code locally. Code that runs locally may be able damage your system. So - rather than block up the security holes - Microsoft have decided to clamp down on all local web page active content so that the user has to agree to various dire warnings before letting it run.

All local web pages (including that on CD) are currently affected. There are ways to turn off this security feature (as described below). However if turned off to make ordinary local content run, then users are susceptible to the same security holes as before.

More details of our serious concerns about SP2. We did try to persuade Microsoft to accommodate such uses in a more friendly way.

Anyway, FindinSite-CD is affected, along with a vast amount of other local code. We have made changes to FindinSite-CD to ensure that your CDs run as best as possible.

A CD-based server gets round most of these problems. Our Dynamic-CD Windows software serves CD content from a "localhost" URL, eg http://127.0.0.1:8080/. We may be able to offer a cut down version of Dynamic-CD that just serves CD content - email sales/support if interested.

Legalities


Information Bar

In Windows XP SP2, Internet Explorer uses the new yellow Information Bar to inform you of any preventative actions it has taken:
Information Bar introduction box

Existing CDs using FindinSite-CD prior to version 5.04

If your FindinSite-CD CDs use a popup highlighting window then FindinSite-CD will not work with the default Internet Explorer settings.

To make FindinSite-CD work, you must tell your users to change a security setting in Internet Explorer:

  • Open menu Tools+Internet Options+Advanced tab
  • Scroll down to the Security section.
  • Make sure that "Allow active content from CDs to run on My Computer" is checked.

FindinSite-CD should now run satisfactorily from CD.

If a user copies the CD to hard disk or similar, then they need to make sure that "Allow active content to run in files on My Computer" is checked.

The Internet Explorer Internet Options Advanced options settings needed to run FindinSite-CD

New CDs using FindinSite-CD

If you are creating new CDs then we recommend that you use version 5.04 or later of FindinSite-CD - available here.

Even with this version of FindinSite-CD, end users will still get "active content" warnings when they try to display the FindinSite-CD search page - unless they change the "Allow active content from CDs" security setting as described above.

Our best current advice for new CDs is therefore to advise your end users to change this security setting to run FindinSite-CD.

If your end users do not change this security setting, then they will be able to run FindinSite-CD after they have allowed active content (see example below). If you have set up FindinSite-CD to show results in the same window with word highlighting, then the word highlighting will not work - FindinSite-CD will show the result page without highlighting.

The default search page generated by FindinSite-CD-Wizard now shows the results in a new window - this ensures that a hit page is shown with search words highlighted. You can change this back to show results in the same window if you want.

The default search page also includes instructions for SP2 users.

Word highlighting

Word highlighting of search words in the results pages is a useful feature of FindinSite-CD. If you want to be sure that this is available, then you must highlight to a different page - this is now the default for search pages generated by FindinSite-CD-Wizard.

(If your users have changed the security setting then the best option - word highlighting to the same window - will work. If your users choose not to change the security setting, then word highlighting to the same window will not work - FindinSite-CD will show the result page without highlighting.

Two FindinSite-CD parameters are involved:

The default behaviour is to highlight search words to a new window, with this setting for "target":
<PARAM NAME='target' VALUE='_blank'>

If you want to highlight to the same window, then either remove this line, or change to:
<PARAM NAME='target' VALUE='_self'>

Note: this parameter is set in the search page search.htm. When viewed in Notepad or similar, you will find the parameter between the <APPLET...> and </APPLET> tags.

CD Development

The FindinSite-CD development kit works with CD images held in files stored on your computer. For FindinSite-CD to run smoothly in this environment (as opposed to on CD) you must also make a change to the security settings - on your computer only.

As shown in the screenshot above, make sure that "Allow active content to run in files on My Computer" is checked.


Running Java applets

To run a Java applet in a browser you will first need a Java Virtual Machine on your computer. Please see our How to get a Java VM instructions.

Running Java applets in SP2 from a web site

Under SP2, running a page with a Java applet on a web site seems to be straight forward and requires no extra intervention.

For FindinSite-CD running on a web site using a popup window for highlighting, you will probably have to allow popups - see here for details.

Running Java applets in SP2 from CD

Unless you change the security setting as described above, you have to go through several worrying-looking hoops to run a Java applet from a CD:
  1. At the top of the page in the Information Bar you will see this warning:
    To help protect your security, Internet Explorer has restricted this file from showing active content that could access your computer. Click here for options...
    To enable a Java applet, click on this message and then select:
    Allow Blocked Content...

    Active content warning for a local web page containing a Java applet

  2. You will also be asked to OK this message:
    Allowing active content such as script and ActiveX controls can be useful, but active content might also harm your computer.

    Are you sure that you want to let this file run active content?


    Enabling active content on Local Machine warning
After all this, the Java applet should run. Note that the Java applet is only enabled for this Internet Explorer window. If you close this window and come back again you will have to go through the same process again. However, all further active content in this window is enabled.

You can start FindinSite-CD in this way. However as described below if FindinSite-CD 5.03 is set up do word highlighting to the same window using a popup window then it will fail unless you change the security setting.


Problems running FindinSite-CD 5.03 or earlier from a CD

Introduction:

The FindinSite-CD Java applet is a search engine for CDs. Its main display is a window within a browser page. The user enters some search text - the list of results is displayed in the FindinSite-CD window. To see a result page, the user clicks on a link in the FindinSite-CD window.

The CD developer can set up FindinSite-CD to show the result page in different ways. The default 5.03 method is to show the result page in the same browser window with the search words highlighted. FindinSite-CD does this using a small popup window containing another Java applet that does the page display and highlighting.

The problem:

In SP2 once FindinSite-CD 5.03 has started, a search can be entered and a list of results shown. (If the security settings are unchanged) the result page cannot be shown if using the old default popup highlight technique.

Here's a screenshot of the FindinSite-CD 5.03 word highlighter asking for permission to run:

FindinSite-CD word highlighter asking for permission to run

Here's a screenshot of FindinSite-CD 5.03 failing:

FindinSite-CD 5.03 failing

Solution:

The solution for existing CDs is to ask your users to change a security setting, as described above.

Our recommendations for new CDs are also described earlier.

Technical explanation:

The FindinSite-CD popup window requires a user to go through the same "active content" warning hoops as the initial Java applet page. By the time that a user has given the OK, the FindinSite-CD code has given up.


Problems running FindinSite-CD from a web site

FindinSite-CD usually runs fine from a web site under SP2. However Internet Explorer may block the FindinSite-CD highlighting popup window. If this happens, click on the Information bar and select "Allow Pop-ups from This Site..." Then retry showing the result page.

Screenshot showing a blocked popup:

Screenshot showing a blocked popup

If pop-ups are blocked then FindinSite-CD fails as follows - this is fixed in FindinSite-CD version 5.1.

If pop-ups are blocked then FindinSite-CD fails as follows - this is fixed in FindinSite-CD version 5.1.

Legalities

FindinSite-CD developers and users: Sorry.
Unfortunately this problem is due to circumstances beyond our control. We tried to highlight the issue with Microsoft in the SP2 preview forums - to no avail: the attitude seemed to be that problems running web pages locally were a "price worth paying" to make online surfing safe.

For new CDs, please see above for your options. We have already made some changes to accommodate SP2 - the forthcoming version 5.1 will work around the problem of FindinSite-CD failing when its pop-up is blocked online.

The FindinSite-CD licence text disclaims any responsibility for circumstances beyond our control such as changes to Microsoft Windows:

PHD assumes no responsibility for any limitations to the functionality provided by the software or any medium containing the software due to circumstances beyond our control: including any future upgrades or changes to the Java runtime, browsers or the Microsoft Windows operating system.
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Last modified: 24 November 2009.

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