The official home of It's Geek to Me on the web!

Issue #572: July 8-14, 2018

Q: A few months ago, I began to get the following error from Microsoft Outlook and Word whenever I click on a link: “This operation has been canceled due to restrictions in effect on this computer. Please contact your system administrator.” Quite annoying when I can’t unsubscribe from emails and once my bank sent me a link to verify a procedure. Had to call them to explain. I’ve searched all the settings I could find but haven’t found it. How do I get rid of this – BTW I’m always very careful about clicking links, just sometimes I need to!

– Donna P.
Navarre, Florida

A: I can see where this would be frustrating for you, Donna, especially if it’s all hyperlinks, and not just some hyperlinks. This condition would make your computer pretty much useless for any kind of serious web surfing, or even, as you implied, clicking on hyperlinks embedded within Word documents.

This error is usually only seen on business computers that are managed by a company’s IT department. In response to corporate rules about the approved use of company-owned PCs, certain functions are blocked from non-privileged accounts. This is done through a Windows configuration tool called the Policy Editor, which most users never see, are unaware exists, and probably isn’t even present on their computer. The blocked functions typically include things that alter the way the computer operates, such as installing/uninstalling software, or accessing the computer’s security settings or other configuration data. If the system’s end-user wants a change made, they must request someone in the IT department – what Windows is calling “your System Administrator” – to make the change. It is assumed that such an individual has all the necessary credentials to access and configure the system, including using Policy Editor to engage and disengage restrictions. Now, having offered an explanation for how such behavior can occur, we still have two problems. First, I’ve never heard of any company having a policy that would forbid a user from clicking hyperlinks, as that would seem to ultimately defeat the basic use of the computer. Second, yours isn’t a company-owned PC (or if it is, you didn’t mention that). I’m going to go ahead and answer under the assumption this is your home PC. That being the case, you don’t have an IT department at your disposal, and the person who is “your System Administrator” is, well, you.

So, it turns out that this is a known problem, although how your system actually got into this state, I cannot say. What I can say is that the problem is in the Windows registry, which, as we all know, uses various kinds of voodoo and other dark magic to control most aspects of Windows, apparently including whether you’re allowed to click hyperlinks. The exact fix for the problem varies with the version of Internet Explorer that you have installed. Fortunately, Microsoft has provided a handy little Fix-It which will make the necessary changes quickly and painlessly for you. Simply follow the instructions on the Microsoft Support page at and it should fix your system right up. Look for the blue “Download” button under “Method 1”.

• • •

Geek Tip: How to perform screen captures – The form on my website that allows readers to submit questions includes a place to upload a screenshot that is supposed to help me understand the issue you’re asking about. Almost as often as not, instead of getting a capture of someone’s screen that helps to clarify or demonstrate the problem, the person includes something in the problem description like “I would have sent you a screen capture, but I don’t know how to do that.” Well keep reading, and you’ll learn.

There is a shockingly simple way to capture the contents of the Windows screen. It’s called Snipping Tool, and you can find it on the Start menu by typing “Snip” into the Search box. Once it is running, Snipping Tool offers you four different types of snip, accessible through the drop-down arrow attached to the “New” button. Once you’ve selected the type you want, click “New” and then use your mouse cursor to select the area or window that you want to capture. Snipping Tool grabs a copy, and pops the image up in a window where you can use annotation tools to point out the problem if necessary. When you’re happy with your snip, save it to your local disk, making sure to note where you store the file. Then, when you’re on my site, use the “Browse…” button under “Upload a screen capture or other image” and navigate to your snipped image. Select it, and click “Ok” and your question now contains a screen capture. You won’t actually see the image on the web form, just the name of the file that will be sent. Submit the form, and I’ll be able to have a nice visual depiction of your problem.

Leave a Reply

June 2024

Search the site


Copyright Notice

All content on this site is Copyright © 2007-2024 by Jeff Werner – All rights reserved.