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Multiple windows open unexpectedly

Check your file type associations are correct. If the default browser controls (for want of a better word) are incorrectly set, or damaged, the ability to open IE windows via hyperlinks or Ctrl+n will not work at all, or it may work, but multiple, identical windows will appear.

If the windows are not identical - for example, if they are pop-up windows / advertisements, then you must examine your system for malware.

If your system is clean of malware, try resetting IE5 as your default browser. From within Internet Explorer, go to Tools, Internet Options, Programs and turn on the check box for IE to check if it is the default browser. Shut down and restart IE. When it asks to be default browser, say yes.

If that doesn't work, go to My Computer, View, Folder Options, File Types (or Control Panel, Folder Options depending on your operating system)

Scroll down to the URL:Hypertext Transfer Protocols, click Edit twice and make sure the following is in the application used to perform action box:


The same applies for URL:Gopher

DDE should be set to: "%1",,-1,0,,,,
Application should say: IExplore
DDE application not running should be blank
Topic should be: WWW_OpenURL

Also have a look at these links:

Internet Shortcuts in Outlook Express Don't Start Browser (Q177054)

New window is blank or nothing happens when you click on a link - Q281679;EN-US;Q281679

Incorrect Settings in the Dcomcnfg.exe Tool [Q274696] 

Internet Explorer Home Page Opens When You Click a Link That Is Pasted into an E-mail Message (Q291859);EN-US;Q291859 

You cannot open an MHTML URL after you install the April 2003 cumulative patch for OE

Also see 'open in new window doesn't work' and 'IE opens blank (empty) windows'.