Unspecified error when adding a link to Favorites in Windows Vista and Windows 7

After reading the post Folder Redirection for Favorites on the Same Machine at the IE Team blog, I relocated my Favorites folder to a different drive. After the relocation, when I tried to add a URL to Favorites, I received the following error:

Unable to create ‘Title’:
Unspecified error

There were many posts in the Windows Vista newsgroups about this problem, and here is the thread containing the original solution from MS-MVP Jimmy Brush. The solution is to set the integrity level (to low) for the relocated Favorites folder. This article has a detailed write-up, and also provides a script which can automate the setting for you. Use one of the two methods below:

Method 1

Download fix_fav_il.vbs and save to Desktop. Double-click the file to run it. Click Continue when you see the User Account Control elevation prompt. The script will open an elevated Command Prompt window and fix the integrity level setting automatically. Once done, you should now see this message:

processed file: favorites
Successfully processed 1 files; Failed processing 0 files

Type EXIT to close the Command Prompt window.

Method 2

1. Click Start, type shell:favorites and press ENTER. The Favorites folder of your user account will open. Copy the full path shown in the Address Bar.

2. Open an elevated Command Prompt. To do so, click Start, click All Programs, click Accessories, right-click Command Prompt, and then click Run as administrator.

3. Type the following command:

icacls <favoritespath> /setintegritylevel (OI)(CI)low

Note: Replace the tag <favoritespath> with the actual path to your Favorites folder, enclosed with double-quotes)

Example:

icacls "D:\My Favorites" /setintegritylevel (OI)(CI)low

You should now see this message:

processed file: favorites
Successfully processed 1 files; Failed processing 0 files





4. Optionally, to verify if the Integrity Level is correctly set for the Favorites folder, run the icacls command followed by the Favorites folder path, but without any switches, as below:

icacls "D:\My Favorites"

You should see the following line in the output:

Mandatory Label\Low Mandatory Level:(OI)(CI)(NW)

5. Type EXIT to close the Command Prompt window.

You should be able to add an URL to Favorites now. Reportedly, this problem occurs as Internet Explorer in Windows Vista and Windows 7 runs under Protected mode (low integrity level) by default, and therefore will only be able to modify objects marked with a low integrity level in their system ACLs. When you relocate the Favorites to a different drive, you need to set the integrity level for the relocated folder, so that Internet Explorer (Protected mode) can write to it. This problem does not seem to occur if the Favorites folder is located within your user profile home directory.

Defined Integrity Levels

Screenshot from System Integrity Webcast.

Here are some useful links for more reading on Mandatory integrity control in Windows 7/Vista.

[Securityfocus.com] Introduction to Windows Integrity Control

[MSDN] Understanding and Working in Protected Mode Internet Explorer

[Webcast] Windows Vista System Integrity Technologies

[Steve Riley] Mandatory integrity control in Windows Vista

About the author

Ramesh Srinivasan founded Winhelponline.com back in 2005. He is passionate about Microsoft technologies and has a vast experience in the ITeS industry — delivering support for Microsoft's consumer products. He has been a Microsoft MVP [2003 to 2012] who contributes to various Windows support forums.

28 thoughts on “Unspecified error when adding a link to Favorites in Windows Vista and Windows 7

  1. Good web site! I really love how it is easy on my eyes and the data are well written. I am wondering how I might be notified whenever a new post has been made. I’ve subscribed to your RSS which must do the trick! Have a great day! edagefdcdcak

  2. Method No. 1 was a fast and incredibly easy fix for a problem that’s been annoying me ever since I got my Windows 7 computer last year! Thank you!

  3. GREAT!!! Option 2 worked !!!! WOOOOOOO HOOOOOOO!!! Thank You! :0)

    HP Support wanted to do a complete wipe of the machine and start over, saying it was a courupt IE install and had no other choice.

    Searched the MS Support page and found a artice that linked to this answer.

    Your site is wonderful! Thank you!

  4. I tried your Method 1. it read just as your example box said, typed in exit then tried to add a favorite, it didn’t work. I will admit I am not real computer savy, but don’t understand why it worked fine then just stopped letting add favorites. Thank you tho, I will be back!

  5. Thank you, thank you, thank you!! I was beginning to panic. Now all I have to work out is how to re-sort my Favourites back to order of date, instead of alphabetically, after I exported them to my C Drive, and imported it back!

  6. IE8 – Protection Mode: ON does not allow adding a link page or shortcut web page to Favorites Folder.

  7. Windows 7 Ultimate 64, IE8 could add to main folder but returned unspecified error when trying to add to sub folder, above method2 did not work as written.

    Refered back to original http://groups.google.com/group/microsoft.public.internetexplorer.general/msg/261e365f27e34354

    Followed therein instructions; via cmd prompt navigated with ‘Cd’ command to folder containing favorites (not favorites folder), typed icacls favorites /setintegritylevel (OI)(CI)low

    Problem resolved.

    Query based on above limited evidence as to whether instructions to copy from task bar should specifically excluded the word favorites eg:

    My original read
    C:\Users\Username\Favorites whereas I suspect it should have used C:\Users\UserName

    Other than that a very useful article Thanks

  8. I tried this both ways and I have full permissions and this is still not working for me can any of you help me please. It all started when I downloaded an IE7 standalone and it caused me an issue since even though IE 8 works fine otherwise please help i’m in despair here lads.

  9. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you! This problem was making me nuts. I’d tried several things to fix it with no success. but method #1 work like a dream.

  10. One other possibility I just discovered after the suggestion here did not work for me: if you’ve turned on encryption for a folder (EFS, not BitLocker), it will interfere with the ability for low integrity processes to save there. I had turned on encryption for the entire user’s profile folder and started getting the error. Turning off Protected Mode fixed the issue, but that’s not a good solution. After turning off encryption for the Favorites folder, the error went away.

    Hope this helps!

  11. Hi, Running Windows 7 Pro… had a problem with IE8, took it out of use via windows programs (Turning Windows Features On & Off). after a couple restarts (some files seemed to be mising) I re added IE in the same way I took it off… now I do not have IE at all.

  12. Thank you so much, the first method worked quick and easy. Saving to favorites is resolved. Thanks

  13. Thank you so very, very much!
    I’ve tried following other advice found round the internet and none could do the trick. Yours did! Simple, easy and fast (method 1). Thank you, I really appreciate it! I’ll definitely keep an eye on your site for the future.

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