Internet Explorer fails to import Favorites where the URL string contains “%” characters

Hi Everyone!

It must be “Favorites week” because I’ve got yet another behavior that I need to make everyone aware of when attempting to import Favorites via the IE Maintenance Policy option, “Favorites and Links”.  This issue can involve data loss so it’s an important topic to provide to the community. 

Within the IEM policy, “Favorites and Links”, the administrator has the option of adding a custom list of Favorites to a user’s Favorites list.  A behavior recently brought to our attention by a couple of valued customers involves the importing of certain URLs that contain a “%” within the URL string, for example:

Note:  This is not a valid web site, only an example

Notice the “%” characters within the URL string.  Now let’s add it to the IEM policy and try to import it as a Favorite into the user’s Favorites list:


Once the policy is run, we can then load IE and check to see which links were added:


And when the “%” values are removed:


So we can see that once the “%” characters have been removed from the the string, the Favorite is then imported correctly.

Now, I will add a new favorite, using two “%” characters instead of one:


Notice how the “Test Import URL 2” Favorite is now added to the user’s Favorites list:


From this we can clearly determine a parsing error when trying to import favorites from within the policy, resulting in data loss.

Note:  This is a less than ideal method of resolving the issue, but the only mitigation we have available today.  This behavior effects Internet Explorer 6.0 and later.


The IE Support Team

Comments (1)
  1. Andy Kinnard says:

    It is really unfortunate this parsing error has never been addressed and that this problem is all but undocumented by Microsoft.  This is a long standing, basic policy setting that affect their own browser software; so, it should be fixed.  You can’t even add a link to MS’s own Small Business Server’s default implementation of a "Help Desk" Sharepoint list (because the URL contains a space).

    Who was the rocket scientists who overlooked that breakage of best practices?  Seriously, when was the last you designed a web page with an address containing spaces or other characters that require character codes?…probably never because you probably know that those problems are worth avoiding.  Pathetic.

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