IE requests the root “/” of the website at the same time as any other page

I have been reported that for 5 customers out of 10000, each time their Internet Explorer does GET a page (including a simple **blank** html page), it also requests next the root “/” of the website (i.e.: the “homepage”). This has been making me going nuts.

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This problem occurs when browsing any page of any site on internet as well as any page in any one of our business sites. So, it is absolutely not related the well known issues such as an image with an empty “src”, the use of the “base” tag, … Also, it occurs only when browsing with IE and not with Chrome, Firefox, …

This is a major issue as far as our business sites are concerned as the first call to any page of our sites is consuming an authentication “ticket”. Once this ticket is consumed, it is not available anymore for subsequent calls made within the same session. And because it happens that the ticket is consumed by the call to the root instead of the call to the page actually browsed, the business applications sometimes fail.

I already experienced such a weird behavior with Add-Ons aimed at “page rating”, “survey”, … Such Add-Ons are not always considered as “malwares” and therefore not reported by antivirus, etc..

Unfortunately, the faulty PCs (where the problem occurs) do no have any such Add-Ons. They are also 100% “malware free”… Using TCPView from SysInternals, we have confirmed that the unwanted GET is done by IE and not by another process. Using WireShark, we have also confirmed that this GET is not done by IE due to an “http 302” (redirect) or any other similar reasons, that there is no suspicious proxy used during the communication, etc….

Using Process Explorer, we have listed all the dlls loaded by IE both on a “faulty” PC and on a “normal” PC (where the problem does not occur). The purpose was to detect possible “third party” dll. But they all appeared to be from Microsoft. We noticed however one dll loaded on the faulty PC which was not reported on the “normal” PC: msrating.dll,  the interal “Internet Ratings and Local User Management” dll from Microsoft.

Tilt! The purpose of this one sounds like the Add-Ons I mentioned above…

As this dll is loaded by the IE’s “Content Advisor”, I have disabled this feature via “Tools-> Internet Options-> Content Tab” and the problem is now gone from all faulty PCs! Gotcha :p

Also,  If I enable the “Content Advisor” on a “normal” PC, the problem occurs there too… confirming that this feature is the culprit.

Finally, note that the access to the “Content Advisor” was protected by a user password  on one of the “faulty” PC and I had to hack it as explained here: http://www.wikihow.com/Remove-Content-Advisor-Password-in-Internet-Explorer.

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