What Is a Script Error?

What script errors are, why they occur, and what to do to stop them

A script error is an error that occurs when the instructions from a script can't be executed correctly for some reason.

Most computer users will encounter script errors most often in the browser when it can't execute JavaScript or VBScript (or other scripting language) instructions from a web page, but they can happen in desktop applications, too.

Picture of multi-colored programming text

Markus Spiske / Unsplash

Script Error Examples

Here are some example script error messages:

  • Errors on this webpage might cause it to work incorrectly.
  • A Runtime Error has occurred. Do you wish to debug?
  • Internet Explorer Script Error. An error has occurred in the script on line 1. Do you wish to continue running scripts on this page?
  • A script on this page is causing Internet Explorer to run slowly. If it continues to run, your computer may become unresponsive. Do you want to abort the script?
  • An error has occurred in the script on this page.

Why You're Getting Script Errors

A common reason for scripting errors is that an error has occurred behind the scenes, either on the web server for errors in a web browser or on the programming end of a software program.

Incorrect code implementation or some other bad configuration on the software side isn't your problem to fix. The best thing to do in that situation is to wait for an update from the developer.

However, scripting errors can also be due to something happening on your end, like with your own software program or operating system that's unable to load the script correctly. For example, there might be a setting in your web browser that's blocking scripts, or your security software might be treating a harmless script as if it's a threat that needs to be deleted.

How to Fix Script Errors

Script errors are most commonly seen in Internet Explorer or in an application that uses IE to access the internet or run local scripts, so most of these troubleshooting steps are with regard to IE.

While Microsoft Edge has replaced IE, some of the same problems can crop up. The fixes are also the same or very similar.

So, the quickest way to stop getting script errors is to simply switch browsers! Use something like Edge, Chrome, Firefox, or Opera. However, doing that doesn't actually solve the script error.

Follow these steps in order, checking after each one to see if you still get the error:

Turn Off Scripting Errors in IE

The average user doesn't actually need to see script errors, since they only serve as an annoyance. This is especially true if the error doesn't prevent you from using the website or program normally.

You can safely turn off script errors in Internet Explorer, as well as programs that use IE on the backend, like this:

  1. Open the Run dialog box by pressing the Windows Key and then the key.

  2. Enter the inetcpl.cpl command to launch Internet Properties.

  3. Open the tab called Advanced.

  4. Scroll down until you find the Browsing section, and then look for these three settings (what you see will depend on the OS you're using):

    • Make sure both Disable script debugging (Internet Explorer) and Disable script debugging (Other) have a check next to them.
    • Just below those options, double-check that Display a notification about every script error is not checked (so that you won't see notifications about script errors.)
    Internet Properties advanced options

    These are the default settings for Windows 11 and Windows 10.

  5. Press OK to save the changes.

Make Sure IE Isn't Blocking Important Scripting Features

Turning off scripting errors will stop you from seeing them, but doesn't necessarily mean that the scripts themselves will work properly just because their related errors are no longer seen.

Make sure you haven't disabled ActiveX scripting and that Internet Explorer isn't blocking Java or ActiveX. Certain security settings in IE will prevent ActiveX and Java from running properly, which can affect the usability of the web page that's running the script.

The quickest way to get these features working again (if they aren't already) is to reset the security settings in Internet Explorer.

Delete Temporary Internet Files

Temporary files are cached on your computer by Internet Explorer so that you can revisit websites quicker, but a cache that's too large or one that's storing corrupted data can result in script errors. You should periodically delete these cache files in Internet Explorer.

Allow for Pop-ups in Your Browser

A pop-up blocker is extremely useful most of the time, but might actually be causing script errors if the script isn't given enough time to run because the browser is preventing pop-ups.

All web browsers let you control the pop-up blocker settings. If you disable the blocker, then pop-ups will be allowed to run again.

Update Your Software

Outdated software might be what's causing the specific script error that you're seeing. This might be because the website or program showing the error, has a minimum requirement that your computer doesn't meet, or because a script error was corrected through an update that you never received.

You should always keep Windows up to date.

Update your third-party programs if they're getting script errors. A free software updater tool is one easy way to do this.

Check Your Security Software

It's possible that your antivirus program or firewall application is blocking scripts or ActiveX controls from running normally. Temporarily disable both to see if you still get the script error.

You should never leave your computer open to attacks, but in this case, the security software might be to blame, so temporarily disabling them just for a few minutes won't do any harm.

The procedure is different for every program, but you should be able to right-click the software running on the Windows taskbar, next to the clock, to turn off the AV shields or disable the firewall. If not, try opening the program—there's most definitely an option there to disable the application.

Something else to look for with your antivirus scanner is whether it's configured to check for viruses in folders that your web browser uses to keep temporary files. If so, the scanner might incorrectly identify scripts as malware, and quarantine or delete them before they can run. Add a folder exclusion if your app allows it.

Internet Explorer uses this folder by default:


Google Chrome caches data here:

C:\Users\[username]\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Cache

Reset All of Internet Explorer's Settings

There could be a number of settings or add-ons causing scripting errors in Internet Explorer. The easiest way to return all of those settings to their defaults is to reset Internet Explorer.

Resetting IE will disable all the toolbars and add-ons, as well as reset every privacy, security, pop-up, tabbed browsing, default web browser, and advanced option.

An alternative method is to see if just a single add-on is causing the script error, which you can do through Tools > Manage add-ons. Disable add-ons one at a time and test for the script error after each one.

Otherwise, here's how to completely reset Internet Explorer:

  1. Open the Run dialog box with the WIN + R hotkey.

  2. Enter inetcpl.cpl to open Internet Properties.

  3. From the Advanced tab, choose Reset at the bottom, and then again on the Reset Internet Explorer Settings screen.

    The only option for Windows 11 users from this screen is Restore advanced settings.

  4. Select Close when all the settings have been reset.

  5. Restart your computer.

Disable Smooth Scrolling

This is at the bottom because it's the least likely cause of a script error. However, if you're getting an error when viewing videos in Internet Explorer, or the video just doesn't display correctly, the Smooth Scrolling option in IE could be causing issues with scripts that are trying to run on the page.

Here's how to turn off Smooth Scrolling in Internet Explorer:

  1. Use the Run dialog box (Windows Key + R) to enter the inetcpl.cpl command.

  2. Navigate to the Advanced tab.

  3. Under the Browsing section, toward the bottom, remove the check mark next to Use smooth scrolling.

  4. Press OK to save and exit.

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