Internet Explorer prints & previews blank pages (IE7, IE8, IE9)

When trying to print from Internet Explorer (or print preview), all you see is blank content, and some header and footer information. The footer reads something to the effect of:

“file:///C:/Users/userprofile/AppData/Local/Temp/Low/randomfile.htm”

This problem drove me nuts for some time. I first noticed it under Windows Vista with IE8, but from reading out there on the web, it potentially effects any windows system running IE7 onwards (so XP through to 7).

Specifically, I am rolling out Windows 7 at my firm, with IE9 bundled in as part of an Image file. In my case the problem was probably occuring after I installed IE9 using the admin account on the system that the master image was based on (we don’t want users to be able to install their own apps). If I log in to Windows with the admin account directly, all prints fine.

Anyway, enough rambling, you are here because you want to know how to fix it.

Firstly, the ‘Low’ folder mentioned above is needed as a temporary working folder for the HTML pages being generated and printed from IE. Start by bringing up a command prompt (run -> cmd), making sure you DO NOT run with elevated permissions (otherwise it will do this for your local admin account, which won’t help you). At the command prompt, run the following command:

mkdir %userprofile%\AppData\Local\Temp\Low

This will create the necessary Low folder in the right place, which is almost certainly absent otherwise.

Other posts I read suggested this was enough, but it isn’t. The newly created ‘Low’ folder won’t work until you run a further command which sets the integrity level of this folder such that IE can use it (IE7 introduced a new protected mode, which you can read more about here: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb250462%28VS.85%29.aspx). So at the same prompt, run the following command:

icacls %userprofile%\AppData\Local\Temp\Low /setintegritylevel low

Having done this, restart IE, and you should find print preview and printing itself now works :) Now I just need to correct the 10 systems I already have setup with this little menace of a problem……

Good luck! :)

66 Comments


  1. I am having an issue where in older versions of IE when you do a print preview it will display every other page as being a blank page. However when I use IE9, because I am running Windows 7 (the other computer is running XP Pro), the print preview only shows 2 pages, which are the two pages that should print. Will this fix solve the issue I am having?

    Reply
  2. mutterances

    Hey Kenny.

    I’m not familiar with that specific issue (every other page being blank), so it’s hard to guess whether the above will help. The fact some pages do print suggests the temp / working folder may be there and operational, but something else isn’t right. At the end of the day, all the systems I’ve run my instructions on have not been detrimentally affected, so I don’t think it will do you a great deal of harm trying (even if it gets you nowhere). Good luck!

    Reply

  3. Thanks for your response. I will give it a whirl, and see what comes of it! Thanks again!

    Reply
  4. mutterances

    Hey Kenny, no worries! I thought I’d give it a few days and see how you got on…. any joy? I (and hopefully others) would be interested to hear whether you succeeded or not… Cheers :)

    Reply

  5. OMG! I was suspicious about this workaround on my Win7Ultimate with Latest IE9, which was giving same problem since long time.
    WORKED PERFECTLY 100% in just above two steps. THANKS A LOT FOR YOUR TIP. GOD BLESS YOU.

    Reply
  6. Tim

    Your solution worked for me so THANK YOU! I’d tried another solution with no success: disable GPU rendering in IE9.

    It’s unclear if the problem is limited to PCs built from an image. I also don’t know how to interpret your statement: “If I log in to Windows with the admin account directly, all prints fine.” Are you setting up people as Limited users or what do you mean by logging in with the admin account?

    Reply
    1. mutterances

      Hi Tim – really glad to hear that worked for you :)

      Sorry, re-reading my blog (I had to, as I couldn’t remember what I’d said!) I understand the lack of clarity you’ve raised.

      As I recall, the scenario in this instance was that any user who was part of our Windows domain would log in, and the problem would be evident. These general user accounts on the domain are pretty much ‘normal’, with [default restrictive] security policies in place, and a few custom Group Policy Objects applying too. For example, I use folder redirection to a server share for all possible folders, including the roaming app data, and this may have some relevance to the problem (I honestly can’t recall!)

      My comment on logging in with the admin account, was refering to logging in to the client system with a LOCAL (I.e. non-domain) user account, that had direct administrative permission on just that PC. So for example, when logging in as the actual local ‘Administrator’ account, IE did not have any issues at all with the blank printing. I may have also tried logging in with the Domain Administrator account and found all worked ok, although my memory is hazy….

      I hope that clears that up – and thanks for taking the time to comment, it’s always a pleasure to hear my random stumblings are helping others :)

      Bobby

      Reply
  7. Bill Rowell

    When I preview/print a 3 page document on IE7/XP the second page is blank. I manually adding the AppData\Local\Temp\Low folder with Windows Explorer to my %Home% folder but couldn’t run the icalcs command against it because it is not in XP. I then cloded the browser but nothing changed. Can I use calcs instead? If so what is the equivalent command to “icacls %userprofile%\AppData\Local\Temp\Low /setintegritylevel low”?
    THanks!
    Bill
    PS I added this same comment so I could be notified by email of followup comments.

    Reply
    1. mutterances

      Hi Bill – thanks for your comment, and sorry for the delayed reply. The spam system didn’t like you for some reason!

      Frustratingly, I no longer have access to any systems running XP or Win 2003 to try this out. What I would say is for a start-off the folder location is probably different under XP, as Microsoft changed the structure in Vista and onwards. If the said IE folder does exist, the folder will probably be in %userprofile%\Application Data\Local\Temp\Low, or possibly even somewhere else (maybe %userprofile%\Local\Application Data\Temp\Low…. I just can’t recall folder branches on XP profiles…).

      As for the icacls command, according to this MS article, http://technet.microsoft.com/en-gb/magazine/2007.07.securitywatch.aspx , icacls doesn’t exist for and can’t be run under XP. To summarise from the article, it says:

      “Icacls.exe is new in Windows Vista (and also down-level in Windows Server® 2003 Service Pack 2). It will eventually replace cacls.exe, which, as you may be aware, was never completely updated to support the more granular permissions introduced with Windows® 2000, making this an update that is about seven years overdue.”

      Whether cacls.exe will help you at all is another question – although one I don’t have the recources (XP system) to check.

      As I’ve taken a while to reply to this, I hope you found your answer in the meantime. Sorry I can’t be more help :(

      Cheers,

      Bobby

      Reply
  8. Jesper Banck

    Hi!
    I have the same issue and after trying your two steps, still no print preveiw.

    Reply
    1. mutterances

      Sorry to hear that :( What version of Windows are you running, and what version of IE? Also, what architecture do you run? (32 or 64-bit?)

      Reply
  9. koenn

    Thanks

    Your 2 step fix really helped me out when I suddenly had webapps in IE print blank pages at a really inconvenient moment.

    Good job.

    Reply
    1. mutterances

      Glad it worked – many thanks for the feedback :)

      Reply
  10. Carl Marshall

    Worked perfectly. Thanks a bunch.

    Reply
    1. mutterances

      You’re most welcome – thanks for the comment :)

      Reply
  11. jyoti bhandary

    Hi my website is in asp.net 3.5. running in IE 7 and windows XP.my users have an issue while printing a webpage using print preview option.As long as its just one page evrything wrks fine.but the moment the pages exceed one,first page prints whereas rest are blank only showing header and footer.
    I tried doing changes in css however of no use.issue still exists.pls help.
    I wonder if it is an IE bug or something is messed up in the code.

    Reply
    1. mutterances

      Hi there – sorry to hear of your struggle with that. Unfortunately it’s beyond my experience to answer that – I haven’t come across that, and fix was just for overall non printing (except for headers) occuring on a lot of systems. Good luck with finding your solution :)

      Reply
  12. Chris

    Million thanks!
    Nice to find a clear and effective answer (even if it’s a bit long)!!! ;-)

    Reply
    1. mutterances

      Sorry you found it too long! Glad to help :)

      Reply
  13. KAR

    This DID NOT WORK for me, as written, for Windows 7. I couldn’t get Command Prompt to create the folder without a syntax error so instead, I put the info in the search box (if you click on the windows icon in the lower left of your screen), which eventually brought me to the temp folder (which was probably hidden since I couldn’t navigate to it another way). I created a folder called low in the temp folder (one did not exist). I couldn’t not see how to set the interigity level but I restarted Internet Explorer and now I can print out pages that don’t come up only as a header and footer! So, I’m happy!

    Reply
    1. mutterances

      Hi there. I assure you it does work – I partly blogged the method as a reminder to myself on how to do this when it occured (and referenced it only last week at work). What method have you used to copy the commands I’ve quoted to the command line? It may be that you didn’t copy the exact info or there is something else in your particular set up that is different (always scope for anomolies in any Windows install). You’ll see from the other comments it has worked for other’s – glad to hear you found an alternative method for your set up though.

      Reply
  14. KAR

    P.S. You have to use forward slashes to search for it.

    Reply
  15. Matthew

    Thanks, great tip.

    This was close to right for me on Windows 2008R2. However the migrated user profiles (from Windows 2003R2) had a slightly different temp directory structure.
    So instead I ran
    mkdir %temp%\Low
    then
    icacls %temp%Low /setintegritylevel low

    This picked the correct directory and it worked like a charm. Happy users!

    Reply
  16. Matthew

    Oops! Typo on previous post. Sorry. Missed backslash between %tem% and Low. Anyhow…

    Thanks, great tip.

    This was close to right for me on Windows 2008R2. However the migrated user profiles (from Windows 2003R2) had a slightly different temp directory structure.
    So instead I ran
    mkdir %temp%\Low
    then
    icacls %temp%\Low /setintegritylevel low

    This picked the correct directory and it worked like a charm. Happy users!

    Reply
    1. datagutten

      I got the same issue. The temp folder is not located at %userprofile%\AppData\Local\Temp but at %userprofile%\AppData\Local\Temp\[Number].

      Using %temp% instead works well.

      Reply
      1. mutterances

        Hi there. The folder I propose for altering in blog entry is %userprofile%\AppData\Local\Temp\Low, not %userprofile%\AppData\Local\Temp (the ‘Low’ is missing from your quoted path). From the times I’ve used (and still occasionally use) this solution, it does work, although some have found that in certain scenarios (such as a Terminal Server / RDS Server) there are modifications needed. thanks :)

        Reply
        1. mutterances

          Sorry – just realised this was in the context of a previous comment, not the core post – WordPress failed to inform me of that! :) Yep it looks like with certain server versions and setups, there is some variability. Thanks for your contribution… :)

          Reply
  17. Computer Superheroes

    We had a similarly unruly issue. Problem is that in the site that was the problem child, we have a combination of strict policies that no user should have admin access so the icacls command will not run under their local account. Running icacls using the domain admin account, touching the user’s exclusive path to the Low folder also worked, however, the Low folder is quickly deleted by cleanup utilities, leaving the same issue apparent. The only solution is to disable protected mode in IE for the Internet Zone. Alternatively, one can also add sites to their trusted site settings.

    From : http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/ie/forum/ie8-windows_7/ie-8-prints-blank-pages-and-blank-previews/e2e18b6c-83af-46a2-a4f5-b4fe85fbc6f8

    The Low folder is only used if Internet Explorer has Protected Mode: On. You can check to see if Protected Mode is On by:
    · Click Tools
    · Click Internet Options
    · Click the Security tab

    ‘Enable Protected Mode’ should be checked in the Security tab under the Internet security zone. It is worth noting that the Trusted Sites security zone doesn’t enabled Protected Mode by default. If you are printing something from a website that is included in your Trusted Sites zone, Protected Mode will be off by default.

    Reply
    1. mutterances

      Thanks for that feedback. The info I’m getting from a lot of people is that, in some scenarios like yours, only disabling protected mode fully ‘fixes’ the situation. It is a sad state of affair that Microsoft can’t produce a better fix, although perhaps things will improve with IE10. Thanks for sharing! :)

      Reply
  18. Mike

    Hi Bobby,

    I’m hoping you can help me as I’ve had no luck with the above solution :( Clearly that makes me the odd one out given the rave reviews you’ve had…but I hope you can help me none the less!!

    I have a farm of 4 x 2008R2 terminal servers that all got IE9 last week (I thought getting on the band wagon this late, all the issues would be resolved…haha!)

    Lo and behold, the print functions are now as described in your post…blank docs, file string pointing at %temp%\low.

    Before trying your fix, 3 of the servers I run were affected but oddly enough, and for no discernible reason, the 4th server was unaffected and it prints all web docs fine.

    After trying your fix, I am unfortunately in the same position…3 servers aren’t working, 1 is.

    Would appreciate any guidance you could offer as roll back looks to by my only (and least preferred) option at the moment.

    Thanks!
    Mike.

    Reply
    1. mutterances

      Hi Mike.

      Thanks for your comment, and sorry for the time it has taken for me to reply. We have just moved house, and are telephone / broadband can’t be activated till December! I’m relying on a rather intermittent Bt-Wifi public connection now. But enough of my woes, that’s get down to the task in hand.

      The only thing I can immediately think is that I found the fix only worked on a user by user basis. When I first published the solution, it was the result of discovering the fault after rolling out a Windows 7 disk image to all the workstations at my place of work. To this day, the fix works but only on the user accounts it has been applied on. So when a new member of staff joined the firm the other week, having setup up their Active Directory based login, and them having logged in to a Windows 7 workstation, the problem was immediately there. I had to run the fix for their account from a non-elevated command line.

      Moving this concept across to your Terminal Servers, if the same issue is occuring then the fix will only work for whatever user you are logged in as. For example, if you’re running the commands as the AD admin account, but then connecting to a TS session as ‘user1′, then this user will still have the blank printing issue. Until you run the commands as user1 from a non-elevated command prompt, my experience is that the problem persists.

      Obviously I don’t how many users you have – it might be a select number, it might be many more – and I know this isn’t a full solution to fix the whole server. As depressing as it is, I would probably personally look to reimplement the Terminal Servers that are troublesome, or see if anyone else out there has found a better way of dealing with this. Another solution is to write a script to run at user login that runs these commands, and incorporate it in to a Group Policy Object that was linked to a container / OU that the TSs are placed in within the AD domain.

      I hope that might be of some help – it may be the problem is running deeper than this, and apologies if this is useless info. If I can help with anything else or you found a better solution from someone wiser than me, I’d be interested to hear back! :)

      Good luck :)

      Reply
      1. Mike

        Thanks for your reply Bobby, very much appreciated.

        I can sympathise with broadband position…anything involving BT tends to produce unexpected (and incomprehensible!) results!

        Since my post, I did indeed try and apply the fix via a user level login script but unfortunately to no avail. I tried applying the fix in a variety of other manners (desktop batch files etc), but still no joy.

        I did then try addressing another possible cause that MS detail in their KB article (the number of which escapes me), but it is essentially your resolution applied in a much less safe, less convenient and more wide ranging manner…and that was to disable protected mode entirely.

        I applied the change via group policy and scripted a regedit to hide the Turn on Protect Mode banner in IE and viola…a much less secure browser, but at least one that can print!!

        I can’t say that this fix has left me happy, but it was a calculated risk given that we have a good firewall appliance, and at least my users can do more now.

        I think in time, my ideal scenario would be to deploy Chrome on the farm…but their ADMX files aren’t really up to the task yet.

        Thanks again for your help Bobby, and for coming back to me. I hope all goes well in the new house!

        Mike.

        Reply
        1. mutterances

          Hi Mike.

          Apologies again for delayed response – the Internet has been so bad here (until this weekend) that I have used it only for the essentials. I concur with your view on BT – glad to have some kind of connection, but at the extreme we had no connection for 48 hours!

          It sounds like you’ve approached this issue very comprehensively, and I’m sorry the scripting method didn’t bring joy :( I share your thoughts that if you have a good firewall and traffic filtering of some sort, hopefully you’ll be ok. And let’s hope that Microsoft fix the wider causes of this issue when IE10 makes it to Windows 7 / 2008 R2 (assuming you’re running that – I think MS have well and truly told Vista / 2008 to leave the party, I recall with no IE10 compatibility coming…).

          I’m not personally a massive fan of Chrome, although I have to say, in the corporate sphere I’ve found some real advantages to it. My employers are patent attorneys, and an online filing system we use with the European Patent Office (which makes use of modern Smart Cards) never worked in IE9 (worked fine in IE8), but has always worked a charm in Chrome. So for this, I was grateful for Google’s efforts.

          I wasn’t even aware anyone had the ADMX templates in the works for Group Policy control of Chrome, so glad to hear someone is giving it a shot, even if isn’t quite there yet.

          Best of luck with whatever direction you take things – if you ever do find something that fixes the IE issue (or you need any further input) in a cleaner way I’d love to hear back :)

          Cheers,

          Bobby

          Reply
  19. ken

    Well, I’ve not had any luck with this. I have 2 user accounts on the machine & neither of them can print successfully, they just get the blank file. I did exactly as your suggestions outlines, but no luck. I looked @ the security on those dirs too, & even gave everyone full control as a test, but it didn’t help. This is on a Win7, 64 machine w/IE8.
    I’ve also noticed that now when I receive an .htm file via email, IE won’t allow it to open, only to save it. Even after its saved, Windows won’t allow the open.
    Sigh. Still looking.

    Reply
    1. mutterances

      Hi Ken.

      Sorry that didn’t work for you :( Just to check, did you try running the commands as the user account needing fixing, and not with elevated permissions? The only other thing I can think is to make sure you have deleted the ‘Low’ folder fully first, before then regenerating it with the commands…

      Truth is, I suspect that (presumably with recent security patches or in certain environments) Microsoft have inadvertently negatively evolved this issue, such that this fix no longer works. In recent times, I have had a few comments on here saying it doesn’t fix the problem, so perhaps MS have messed things up a stage further. That said, some people say the fix still works, so the real issue could be very abstract…

      Cheers,

      Bobby

      Reply
  20. mutterances

    Sorry Mike, just recalled your previous comment as I hit reply – my comments on Vista / 2008 are of course irrelevant, as you are running 2008 R2 in RDS mode. Let’s hope IE10 lands soon, and miraculously fixes everything! :)

    Reply
  21. Kieran

    Thanks for this post, the two step fix worked a treat.

    Reply
    1. mutterances

      Great stuff – thanks for feedback :)

      Reply
  22. Ralph

    Hi There,

    Thanks for this fix. Works excellent for me.
    One note: by default, in an 2008R2-based RDS-environment, MS will use temporary folders per session. Als the ‘low’ folder will be inside this temp folder (i.e. \appdata\local\temp\24\low), the fix will not work because the wrong folder is being touched.
    You can turn off this behaviour via GPO: Administrative Templates\Windows Components\Remote Desktop Services\RDS Session Host\Termporary Folders. There will be a policy ‘Do not use temporary folders per session’ wich you will need to enable to disable the segregation of temp folders (get it? ;))
    Once this is done, the fix will work flawlessly.

    Reply
    1. mutterances

      Ralph / Patrick – Many thanks for that helpful feedback. I have not tested your suggestion, but I’m sure what you’ve said is the case, and no doubt that will help other’s Googling this issue! Thanks for the effort in sharing your findings :)

      Reply

  23. Just implemented this in a Windows 2008R2 Terminal Server environment. I had to adjust the path to %temp%\Low because the Terminal Servers are using an ID as the temp folder that can/will change with every login. Anyway, it works like a charm, thanks for the info!

    Reply
    1. mutterances

      Ralph / Patrick – Many thanks for that helpful feedback. I have not tested your suggestion, but I’m sure what you’ve said is the case, and no doubt that will help other’s Googling this issue! Thanks for the effort in sharing your findings :)

      Reply
    1. mutterances

      Excellent – thanks for the feedback

      Reply
  24. Parkash Kumar

    I am also getting the same Empty Page in Print and Preview. I followed the steps you mentioned but I get the following message.

    C:\>mkdir %userprofile%\AppData\Local\Temp\Low
    A subdirectory or file C:\Users\Administrator\AppData\Local\Temp\Low already exi
    sts.

    In the result, no change occur :( Please help me out…

    Reply
    1. mutterances

      Hi – have you also tried running icacls %userprofile%\AppData\Local\Temp\Low /setintegritylevel low as per my post? Additionally, if this doesn’t work outright, I would delete the folder mentioned above, then go through my instructions in full. Hope that helps…

      Reply
  25. Luke

    I think this problem started for me after I redirected folders. Very happy your solution worked for me. It also solved another problem I was having (either IE9 or IE10) – whenever I clicked on a link to a pdf it would display “There is a problem with Adobe Acrobat /Reader. If it is running ,please exit and try again.(0:104)”

    Reply
    1. mutterances

      Glad to help, and thanks for feedback on redirected folders. I use those in my organisations too, so there could be something related to that – who knows! Cheers :-)

      Reply
  26. Jorge

    Hey, I’m running IE10 on Windows 8 and did exactly as you posted and IT WORKED.

    THANK YOU FOR TAKING YOUR TIME TO DO THIS!

    Reply
  27. Braulio

    Thanks for this!
    It helped me a lot.

    Worked fine here.
    IE9 with Windows 7 Professional 64

    Reply
  28. TRog

    We have a xendesktop environment, so citrix profile manager copies the users folders from the C drive at log off to a file server location. We have three users where this same issue is happening. We could run the fix, but the next time they logon, the blank page is back. I thought that the folder on the file server might need the integrity level set, so I did that for all three users. It still would not stick. When they first brought it up, the low folder wasn’t even being created in their profile. We manually created it. The low folder is sticking, but the contents are not. It is a temp folder, so them not sticking is fine, but the user should still be able to create the file without having to re-run the integrity, I would think. Is there a way to run the integrity for all users who logon? I guess I could do a startup script, but I don’t want to do that for three effected users. I followed the other advice about creating the trusted sites, and the user still gets a blank screen. I’m unsure if this is a roaming profile issue or an internet explorer issue. Any advice would be appreciated.

    Reply
      1. mutterances

        Sorry – just seen you followed up – that’s great, have no means to test out the scenario myself, but indeed looks a feasible solution. Did it work for you? Cheers :-)

        Reply
    1. mutterances

      Hi TRog.

      That indeed sounds like a frustrating problem. Could indeed be something in the mechanism of the likes of Roaming Profiles (which I always found to be a nightmare tbh, and use Redirected Folders instead – these cover pretty much everything important nowadays on modern Win Clients) or something the Citrix Profile Manager is failing to generate, perhaps folders or permissions, correctly. Honestly, I don’t know the solution to that…. Sorry to take a while to reply, and I hope you’ve found your answer in the interim :-)

      Reply
  29. Bill Sedlak

    I am running Win 7 Pro SP1, on 3 computers, with IE10. 2 of them accepted the commands and printing worked, although the temp file apparently disappears somehow, unexpectedly. I don’t know what program is removing it, but I can at least add it again.
    3rd machine however tells me that “icacis is not a recognized as an internal or external command.” With identical installations of Windows 7 and SP1 it is bizarre that one install would be different like that. However, it appears to be allowing internet pages to print, so something changed.
    Many thanks for the insights on this issue. Even if it requires periodically rerunning the fix it is worth it!

    Reply


    1. mutterances

      You’re welcome – glad it helped :-)

      Reply
  30. Raj

    Yeah, it worked 64bit, IE9
    Great…many thanks to you…..

    Reply
    1. mutterances

      That’s great – you’re welcome :-)

      Reply
  31. houmadi

    Hi there,

    Just wanted to thank you for posting this – I’ve been wrestling with this issue for months and came across your blog today. Your suggestion fixed my issue and I’m very grateful.

    Thanks again!!!

    Reply
    1. mutterances

      That’s awesome to hear – really glad to help, and many thanks for the feedback! :-)

      Reply
    1. mutterances

      That’s great – glad to help :-)

      Reply
  32. Raj

    For XP users following command should work
    cacls %temp% /t /e /g Everyone:f

    I was able to do by this command.
    Thanks.

    Reply
    1. mutterances

      Hi Raj – thanks for sharing. I have no way of testing that, so will take your word for it! Hopefully that will work for someone out there still grapling with XP – Cheers :-)

      Reply

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