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  1. #1
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    Error Messages with HTTPS Links (Word 2000 SR3)

    (Edited by HansV to activate links to MSKB)

    Greetings All ---

    I've searched for this topic in the previously addressed issues here, but if it appears there, I haven't seen it. Anyway....

    I'm supporting a user who's creating a reference document for a client, loaded with linked HTTPS URLs. However, many of these links are producing an error message when clicked on, along the lines of "Unable to Open <URL>. A Security Problem Has Occurred." Copying the URL text from the Word document and simply pasting it into a browser's address bar loads the same sites and pages without problems. My efforts to eliminate these messages have not been effective. Multiple machines with O2000 installed have produced the same result. These machines were running Win 98 or Win 2K, and IE 6 SP1. I've tried various changes in the IE security settings, but these seem to have no effect. I've also tried switching the default web browser from IE to Mozilla, but again without success.

    At this point, we either need to come up with a workaround that will allow these links to work normally, or we need to pen some sort of boilerplate disclaimer for the document's users explaining that these links may not work as expected. Needless to say, if possible we'd like to avoid the second approach!

    I've checked in the MS knowledgebase for this, and found articles <!mskb=271511>Microsoft Knowledge Base Article 271511<!/mskb> and <!mskb=230881>Microsoft Knowledge Base Article 230881<!/mskb> which describe identical symptoms. However, the suggested solution there --- accessing the site directly with IE before clicking on the link in Word --- don't seem to have any effect in these cases. A lot of the URLs in question lead to military sites with rather odd SSL certificate authorities and so on, which may be a part of the problem. However, it's not hard to recreate the problem with public sites, too. I've attached a Word document called https-error.doc which uses a couple of Yahoo URLs to demonstrate the issue.

    Any information that anyone can provide on this vexing problem would be most appreciated. Thanks!


    Ken
    Puzzled IT Coordinator
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  2. #2
    Plutonium Lounger
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    Re: Error Messages with HTTPS Links (Word 2000 SR3)

    If I paste the second address into the address bar of Internet Explorer 6, I get a message that the name in the certificate does not match that in the website. So it's not just Word that has a problem with the link.

  3. #3
    Uranium Lounger
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    Re: Error Messages with HTTPS Links (Word 2000 SR3)

    I get the error message with the second link, but not the first. With the first hyperlink, I can open it either in Word or in a browser. Either way, because of my settings, I'm asked if I will run Active X controls. When I answer, "yes, the site loads. I can open the second link in a browser window, after answering "yes" to the warning about the certificate & the Active X controls. Word, however, will not open it. If I change the https to http, Word will load it. Of course, the site isn't secure, so that's not a real solution. I'd contact the webmaster.

  4. #4
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    Re: Error Messages with HTTPS Links (Word 2000 SR3

    Hans ---

    You're quite correct. Of course, the difference is that IE itself will tell
    me about the certificate problem and ask if I'd like to override it, while
    Word just slaps me with that generic "Security Problem Has Occurred"
    message and then stops trying. From the perspective of the end user,
    the first one isn't so bad --- especially with an added disclaimer that
    says, "If you are prompted with a security alert, press YES to proceed" ---
    but the second is much more hostile and inconvenient.

    So, I guess the real question is, can this Word behavior be worked
    around, so that we can at least get the user to those semi-friendly
    prompts instead of what we're seeing now....


    Ken
    (Still) Puzzled IT Coordinator

  5. #5
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    Re: Error Messages with HTTPS Links (Word 2000 SR3

    Phil ---

    Thanks for your observations. My browsers are not set up to
    prompt before running Active X controls, but otherwise, your
    results do match my own. (Confirmation is good, at least.)

    Unfortunately, the URLs in question (not the examples I posted,
    but the originals) belong to a number of military web sites, and I
    seriously doubt I'll have any luck convincing them to change their
    certificate situations in order to solve my piddling little problem.
    (Even if they did, in my experience it would take them months to
    do so.)

    So, I guess I'm really looking for any workaround that would get
    us past the dead-end roadblock of the "A Security Problem
    Has Occurred" message. I don't mind the user being prompted
    to accept the security situation, but I'd like to avoid somehow the
    embarrassment of having to tell them that the only way to view
    the resource is to cut and paste the URL into their browser 's
    address bar....

    Well, maybe I'm asking the impossible. Still, thanks for your
    attempt to help with this!


    Ken
    (Philosophical) IT Coordinator

  6. #6
    Super Moderator jscher2000's Avatar
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    Re: Error Messages with HTTPS Links (Word 2000 SR3

    As far as I can tell, there's no application or document event that can be intercepted when a user clicks a hyperlink. But... what if you were to change the actual link behind the link on the screen to load the URL into IE through the shell? I can't seem to make it work, but maybe there's a trick documented somewhere on the web?

  7. #7
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    Re: Error Messages with HTTPS Links (Word 2000 SR3

    Hi Jefferson,

    I wonder whether this might be solved using a macrobuton field with a prompt to "Click here to access the web page" or something such, to fire a macro that does the actual linking (through IE)?

    Cheers
    Cheers,

    Paul Edstein
    [MS MVP - Word]

  8. #8
    Super Moderator jscher2000's Avatar
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    Re: Error Messages with HTTPS Links (Word 2000 SR3

    I think a macrobutton, perhaps even a little lock icon to the right of the secure links rather than a text button, would be great. What I can't remember is whether there was a way to pass a parameter to a macro using a MACROBUTTON field, or whether you need a separate macro for each one link. Or maybe if the macrobutton becomes selected (which doesn't happen in a protected form where I had stuggled with this) you could work backwords from there in the text to find the URL. Lots of interesting possibilities. <img src=/S/grin.gif border=0 alt=grin width=15 height=15>

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