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The Internet Explorer error “The webpage cannot be displayed”

This Internet Explorer error message usually occurs when you try to access something with an address that begins with a protocol1 that Internet Explorer does not support. The protocol is defined by the characters before the colon, where you would usually see http:, and permissible protocols include http:, https:, file:, mailto:, about:, etc, but this error can arise if you (or a link that you followed) specified a different method, e.g. shortcut:

Symptoms

Internet Explorer: The webpage cannot be displayed

How to fix it

You can specify which program handles a particular protocol from the Internet Options control panel:
  1. Select the “Programs” tab
  2. Click on the “Set Programs” button
  3. Click on “Associate a file type or protocol with a program”
  4. Scroll to the bottom of the listing to see which protocols are bound to which programs
  5. After selecting a protocol, click on the “Change program...” button to specify the program to use

Extra information

For information about the very similar “Webpage cannot be displayed” errors that can occur in Internet Explorer version 7, see:

Some other error messages are subtly different:

Footnotes

1 Technically speaking, the proper term is “scheme” instead of “protocol”, and Wikipedia provides a list of standardized schemes (not all of which are supported by Internet Explorer).
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