Custom IE Error Page (DNSERROR.HTM)

Monday, June 20, 2011 3:22 PM by nairdo

When you use a web based kiosk for your attendant-less check-in system, you should think about what's going to happen if your network fails you -- especially if you're using the 3G network.  This is what you'll see if the kiosk cannot reach the server:

standard error 

That page is especially problematic if you don't have a keyboard because there is no way to refresh/reload the page if the network starts working again.

Luckily you can customize this content... it's just a pain to do it but I'll show you how.  Here's what our page now looks like:

Custom DNSERROR

The button is a nice feature because it's basically just going to load our check-in system page again.  Without that, in the past someone would have to reboot the whole system (pressing F5 on an stashed-away emergency keyboard would have also worked).  It's also worth noting that since you can use javascript in there, you should even be able to do something more sophisticated such as automatically retry every few seconds, etc.

Here's how we did it:

  1. Download a Resource editor such as Resource Hacker. I read that it is possible to edit .mui files using VisualStudio, but after about a half hour of fail, I found Resource Hacker and it did it quite easily.

  2. Grab a copy of your kiosk's ieframe.dll.mui file (found under C:\Windows\system32\en-US\) and stow it away for backup purposes.

  3. Use Resource Hacker and edit the ieframe.dll.mui file.  Navigate down into the "23" folder (aka HTML folder) and select the DNSERROR.HTM item like so:

    Resource Hacker

  4. Make your changes.  It's just HTML, so you know what to do...

  5. Press the "Compile Script" button.

  6. Save the file and quit.

  7. Copy the file over to your kiosk's C:\Windows\system32\en-US\ folder.  If you're unable to, because the file is in use or similar, just rename the live file (oddly Windows let's you do that) and then copy the file down to that folder.

  8. Start IE and kill your network to see the result.
Is this a hack?  Of course, but it works. We're using an old version of IE, so you're mileage may vary. I'd consider switching to Chrome for our kiosks (since you can start chrome in -kiosk mode too) but I can't seem to find any information on how to customize its equivalent error page.  Let me know if you've found another way.

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