Thursday, May 22, 2008

Troubleshooting the Ancestry Image Viewer

There have been a rash of people that started having problems with the Ancestry Enhanced Image Viewer out of the blue about a month ago. One night from one search result to the next it just stopped working on me. Everytime I tried to view an image, got caught in an endless loop trying to install the viewer, even though it was already installed. Deleting my Ancestry cookies quickly solved the problem for me.

I need to ask around at work and see if the exact cause(s) has been identified. But today I noticed the Help system has a new article titled, Troubleshooting the Enhanced Image Viewer. If deleting your cookies doesn't solve your recently-surfaced viewer problems, try the different methods described in this group of articles.

If for some reason that link doesn't work, here's a posting on the Ancestry message boards giving detailed instructions on how to manually de-install and reinstall the viewer.

Ancestry Site Comments - Family History & Genealogy Message Board -


  1. Hello!

    I'm one of those folks who one day could not use the image reader. Each time I tried to open an image, the page kept loading and reloading over and over... no way to view the image.

    So I wrote for help and received instructions advising me that there might be a conflict with my Norton. Well, since I didn't have Norton, I wrote again and got basically the same answer. I wrote again, and finally I had someone that read my query and sent me the following:

    >>>>In recent days, we have been experiencing conflicts with the AOL web browser and our site. At this time the AOL web browser is not supported by our site. We strongly urge you to use either the Internet Explorer or Firefox web browser to use

    >>>>That said, there can be other issues as well that can interfere with installing the Enhanced Image Viewer. Security software (especially the Norton package) can block this, and should be disabled temporarily to install the viewer. If you find you need additional help, please give us a call at 1800ANCESTRY.

    >>>>I'm attaching links to a couple of articles that provide additional help on this problem:

    Answer Title: Troubleshooting the Enhanced Image Viewer
    Answer Link:
    Answer Title: Why the Enhanced Image Viewer may not install
    Answer Link:
    Answer Title: Manual Removal of Enhanced Imager Viewer for Windows XP
    Answer Link:
    Ok, so the first thing I did was close out of AOL and give it a try with IE - same problem. Then I followed the instructions shown in the first answer (see below). Not a quick process, but after following each of the steps, it did work - for less than 2 days. I'm back where I was originally. Loading and reloading with IE and AOL. This has been going on for the last 3 weeks and I'm certainly not getting the benefit of my paid services.

    Do you have any suggestions? It's awful to think that I'd need to do each of these steps every other day. Are other people having the save problem? Any idea when this might be fixed?

    Thank you very much!

    >>>>After clicking the 'View Original Image' link the page tries to load but it keeps reloading and reloading
    Note: If clearing the cache and cookies did not resolve this, (see the instructions above) then do the following.

    First press the ESC key top left on your keyboard to stop the page from trying to load.
    Uninstall the Enhanced Image Viewer.
    Click here to uninstall the enhanced image viewer for Windows Vista.
    Click here For uninstalling the Enhanced Image Viewer for Windows XP.

    If the reloading issue is not resolved using these instructions above then scroll down and try the instructions discussing what to do if your browser freezes when using the enhanced image viewer.

  2. Dear Anonymous,

    No, you're not the only one. It's happening again to me! This time at work. I showed it to some people who could do something about it and they developed a theory that could explain what is happening. They're developing a fix that I hope will be available by Thursday next week (26-June-2008).

    In the mean time, if the theory is correct you should be able to quickly (but perhaps temporarily) fix the problem by deleting your cookies.

    First, exit all browser windows. Next open the browser. Delete your cookies and exit the browser. The Ancestry Advanced Image Viewer should now work correctly.

    To delete cookies in Internet Explorer 7, click Tools. This produces a drop-down menu. At the bottom of the menu, click on Internet Options. This brings up a popup titled Internet Options. On the General tab, in the Browsing History section click on Delete.... This brings up a popup titled Delete Browsing History. Click on Delete cookies.... This brings up a confirmation popup titled Delete Cookies. It asks, "Are you sure you want to delete all cookies in the Temporary Internet Files folder?" Click on Yes.

    I'm paranoid, which is why I advise you exit the browser and restart it at this point. You may find you don't have to.

    If this doesn't solve the problem, write me directly at so I can keep the Ancestry development team informed.

    If the failure theory is correct, you may have to do this again until the fix rolls live next week. You can lengthen the time between failures by (get this!) *renaming your Ancestry Member Trees*! Folks, software development doesn't get any weirder than this!

    (Have you heard the story of the mechanic faced with a car that would not start if the owner bought vanilla ice cream? It's true! But I digress...)

    Since this is temporary until next week, if the problem reoccurs more quickly than you can stand, make your tree names really short. Next Thursday, change them back to the desired names.

    A clunky and obnoxious alternative to deleting cookies is to disable the Advanced Image Viewer and use the Basic Viewer until the fix rolls next week. The Advanced Image Viewer is an IE Add-On. Click on Tools > Manage Add-ons > Enable or Disable Add-ons. Select the add-on named ImageControl Class published by Inc. Click on Disable, then on OK. Now try to view an image. Don't enable the add-on. Don't download the Enhanced Image Viewer. Instead, click on "Continue without downloading the Enhanced Image Viewer." You'll be seeing that screen every time you zoom, scroll or view another image. Hey, I warned you it was obnoxious.

    -- The Ancestry Insider

  3. I've just switched computers and I'm having trouble loading the Image Viewer. I'm running the latest version of Firefox on a Windows XP system; I've tried turning off the firewall, etc, but the Viewer just won't load. Any ideas?

  4. I am having the same problem.
    I use Firefox for Ancestry as I did not want to keep deleting cookies on Explorer-due to the never ending page load. When all was well I had downloaded the enhanced viewer onto Explorer but it will not load onto Firefox-in fact I have to try several times to click the basic viewer icon as that flashes round. Once I start all is fine!

  5. Same problem here. I even manually downloaded the viewer as Ancestry suggested, deleted cookies, etc. and it still will not load with firefox 3.

  6. Same here. I tried everything and the plugin won't load into Firefox 3--doesn't even work with a manual install.


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