I finally figured out that problem that has been bugging the heck out of me for many months and months now.
You see, for some reason certain hyperlinks just would not work any more within the Internet Explorer browser. Completely dead links gone and turned to extreme nothingness. You click on them with the mouse and nothing happens! Which links exactly was impossible to predict.
This just popped up one day on my Windows XP Pro desktop. Everything was working just fine and dandy until then. If I am logged into it everything works just fine (of course, because I have administrator rights), but when anyone else is logged on or if the good old guest account is being used, the links just would not work (of course, because these accounts have limited user rights). Dead links deader than a dead door nail.
This has been a real drag, because ideally our desktops in the new room are used for browsing the Internet. In a mad attempt to seek out the problem and destroy it I tried everything imaginable. I tried reinstalling the latest browser versions and Windows patches, disabling the startup programs, unchecking the running services, uninstalling various suspicious programs, but nothing helped. Not a single darn thing.
So I did yet another search via Google, which I had already done a million times without any leads. But this time around I did a search for something ever so slightly different, like "my links do not work on internet explorer for some weird reason." Lo and behold I happened upon a question by some other poor fool who had the same problem. The very same problem. can you believe it!?
And you know what the cause of this problem is? The answer: a third-party downloader piece of junk called Star Downloader! Watch out and beware, remove move it immediately. This program has an option you can check to enable the so-called Internet Explorer integration. It runs ever so quietly in the background and secretly hooks into the links. You click and it sees if the link is a download link and then if it is it pulls this download event into its own program which fires up for you. Pretty neat, huh? As long as it works. Destroy that piece of junk.
Now everything works just fine and I fell pretty relieved. Really and really relieved. Like there is still hope out there. That the world can be saved in small and integral ways, bits and pieces. At least I am still capable of being productive once in awhile.