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Error message when clicking hyperlink in Office: "Cannot locate the Internet server or proxy server"

Support for Office 2003 has ended

Microsoft ended support for Office 2003 on April 8, 2014. This change has affected your software updates and security options. Learn what this means for you and how to stay protected.

When you create a hyperlink in an Office document and then click the link, you may receive one of these error messages:

Unable to open <URL>. Cannot locate the Internet server or proxy server.

Unable to open <URL>. Cannot open the specified file.

<URL> = the hyperlink you inserted.

NOTE: The hyperlink does work if you type it directly in the browser or in the Open box of the Run dialog box (click Start, and then click Run).
This problem occurs when the following conditions are true:

  • You are using Microsoft Internet Explorer:

    • A proxy server -or-

    • A firewall that does not allow HTTP requests to be placed on your local network

  • Internet Explorer is not your default browser.


  • The ForceShellExecute registry key is not present in the following location or is not set to 1:

    For 32 bit Office Versions installed on 64 bit OperatingSystems


    For 32 Bit Office Versions installed on 32 bit Operating Systems or 64 Bit Office Versions installed on 64 bit Operating Systems

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \Software\Microsoft\Office\9.0\Common\Internet
Important This section, method, or task contains steps that tell you how to modify the registry. However, serious problems might occur if you modify the registry incorrectly. Therefore, make sure that you follow these steps carefully. For added protection, back up the registry before you modify it. Then, you can restore the registry if a problem occurs. For more information about how to back up and restore the registry, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
322756 How to back up and restore the registry in Windows

To have us work around this problem for you, go to the "Here's an easy fix" section. If you prefer to fix this problem manually, go to the "Let me fix it myself" section.

Here's an easy fix

To fix this problem automatically, click the Download button. In the File Download dialog box, click Run or Open, and then follow the steps in the easy fix wizard.
  • This wizard may be in English only. However, the automatic fix also works for other language versions of Windows.
  • If you’re not on the computer that has the problem, save the easy fix solution to a flash drive or a CD, and then run it on the computer that has the problem.

Let me fix it myself

Easy fix 50655

To work around this issue, either add the ForceShellExecute subkey, if it is not present, and set the Value data, or if it is present, set the Value data of the ForceShellExecute subkey.

Adding the Internet Subkey to the Registry and Setting the Value Data

  1. Quit any programs that are running.
  2. Click Start, and then click Run. Type regedit in the Open box, and then click OK.
  3. In Registry Editor, browse to one of the following subkey (create the keys when they do not exist):
    For a 32 Bit version of Office on 64 bit version of Windows


    For a 32 Bit version of Office on 32 bit version of Windows


    For a 64 Bit version of Office on 64 bit version of Windows


  4. Make sure the Internet subkey is selected. On the Edit menu, point to New, and then click DWORD Value. Add the following registry value:
    Value Name: ForceShellExecute
  5. Double-click ForceShellExecute, and then set the Value data to 1. Click OK.
  6. On the Registry menu, click Exit.

Did this fix the problem?

Check whether the problem is fixed. If the problem is fixed, you are finished with this section. If the problem is not fixed, you can contact support.
More information
A hyperlink may not go to a Microsoft Word document or a Microsoft Excel worksheet after you use this workaround. For more information, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
280680 Cannot follow hyperlink to Office document
OFF2000 hyperlink proxy ie error fixit fix it fixme

Article ID: 218153 - Last Review: 09/25/2015 08:43:00 - Revision: 10.0

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