Garbled or Corrupt Images in Web Browsers

The Issue:

Images displayed in web-pages are corrupt or garbled. This issue spans across any web browser. Image heavy websites suffer the most. Example:

This issue only affects images in web pages and is seemingly random. If the image is saved locally, the corruption remains on the image. Not all JPG’s are affected, and the issue is more frequent in Google Chrome than IE 9.

What I Found:
Surprisingly, most threads regarding this issue go unanswered on Google or Microsoft support boards. The others are full of useless misinformation touted by a bunch of jackasses.

The root cause is currently unknown but has something to do with the index.dat database file that web browsers use. This cache was designed to improve performance, and is always locked while a user is logged on. If this file is corrupt, shit goes crazy.

I used CCLEANER to delete the existing index.dat files and the symptoms have gone away. The file could have been deleted manually if I had logged on as a different user, but I didn’t want to stop my MP3 from playing.

Root Cause?:
So what the fuck started this? Few hypothesis:

  1. Recent power outage may have corrupted the file. I should probably run the System File Checker (sfc /scannow). Simplest, most obvious answer.
  2. Hard Disk Failure – On occasion, my PC does freeze while playing games, no BSOD or errors logged. This is always a pain, but I think it’s mainly video card related. Would have to experience other issues to really pin point. A probable answer.
  3. NIC Failure – Is the download of the file failing before completion? Rather odd that it only affects JPG’s, so not likely.

  • The issue returned after a few hours of browsing. I went ahead and ran the System File Checker. It found several corrupt files and repaired them (few failed as they were in use).
  • I also disabled GPU acceleration for displayed graphics on IE, but that didn’t seem to change any behavior.
  • I’ve found a few sites that reference NForce NIC issues, but that’s still a stretch in my opinion.

Update 2:

  • I’m not convinced it’s the PC whatsoever now.
  • I’ve updated Netgear Router firmware.
  • I’ve cycled the power of my cable modem.
  • Immediately after refreshing a problem page, normal operations resumed.

Updated 3:

  • After a few days of smooth sailing, I’m putting the blame on the Modem and Router hardware. Case closed.

15 thoughts on “Garbled or Corrupt Images in Web Browsers”

  1. I’ve been having the same problem for a couple days now, I was – and am – quite certain it’s a modem fault too, can I ask you what hardware are you using? Mine’ a Netgear DG834Gv5.

    Anyway, thanks for sharing.

  2. Modem is Motorola Surfboard SB5120. Router is Netgear WGR614v9.

    I’m relieved I’m not the only one that had the issue. Knock on wood it hasn’t returned….

  3. Thank you so much for your response, I have waited some day and the problem seems to have disappeared on itself… hope it will stay so 🙂

  4. Thank you for this post. Someone with a brain finally posted an easy-to-understand synopsis of the actual problem and possible solutions. I’m going home this afternoon and rebooting my cable modem.

  5. This problem has been driving me crazy the past few weeks too. I had garbled images on all browsers and also huge problems with Steam not updating and having distorted thumbnails.
    After wading through Steam support forums it turns out that my D-Link network adapter was updated with a Microsoft update on the sly which did all kinds of terrible things. I rolled back the driver and Steam is fixed, but also no more random garbled images on webpages.
    See this tread:


  6. Hey, just checking in to say that I’m suffering from the same problems regarding Steam and browser images, but also other downloads as well. This began with me a couple weeks back, before a complete PC reformat.

    I figured the format would solve it, but it did not (potentially after a few updates which I hadn’t noticed).
    As others had speculated, I also reset all of my router’s settings to the factory default. And, like the user above, I’m also using a D-Link wifi adapter.

    I’m currently running on a very lean system right now. I’ve just downloaded a bunch of other Windows updates and will let you know if they have solved anything. If not, I’m going to attempt to roll back the D-Link driver and see how things go. Steam, Google, MS, Cisco, and D-Link have all been useless so far. . .

  7. Back!

    The Windows updates didn’t fix anything, and I couldn’t remove the automatically-downloaded MS-supplied driver for my D-Link network adapter. . . So I downloaded the “160” and “180” drivers from the D-Link website for my model, and rolled back the adapter’s driver to the very first version I had, and voila! Success!

    I’ve tested it now with multiple browsers loading new content, completely re-downloaded + reinstalled Steam, and downloaded test games and everything. Everything now appears to be in complete working order, and this is after all the restore-to-defaults I’ve done on various programs and pieces of hardware, which had to this point failed. Special thank you to Kei, who got the word out—I had already checked Steam forums a couple of weeks ago to no avail.

  8. I have been trying to fix this problem for ages so I am going to try updating Netgear Firmware too.

  9. I have had a similar problem, but the solutions here don’t solve it. First, the corrupt images only ever appear when I’m using Chrome, never in Firefox, no matter how long I use Firefox I’ve never seen a corrupt image. I have cleared the cache in Chrome, disabled and deleted all Chrome extensions, deleted and re-installed Chrome but the problem persists. Worse, it has begun to spread. It started only on the thumbnails for movies on Netflix, now it is almost every web page I visit. Not every image is corrupted, only some, but there is at least one corrupted image on each web page. Your banner is just as corrupted as your example of Google below it, for example.

  10. I am now not positive the place you’re getting your info, but good topic. I must spend a while finding out more or working out more. Thanks for excellent information I used to be looking for this information for my mission.

  11. Alright, I’ve been having this problem for months and have tried everything with my browsers and graphics card to no avail. I rolled back the drivers on my wireless card and the problem is resolved instantly.

    Thank you very much for the idea, because I was about six minutes away from eating my laptop out of sheer rage.

  12. On my network it’s only happening on one computer, and it happens in Chrome, IE, and Safari. If I run Chrome in incognito mode it seems to work correctly.

    I can’t find the index.dat file yet, but it seems like that might be the issue.

  13. I had the same problems, corrupted images, downloads and YouTube videos. Especially noticeable in Chrome (I use the privacy port SR-Iron) and too a lesser extent also in IE and Firefox.

    It started after a 100MB+ batch of Windows 7 (x64) updates, but around the same time I also updated my GPU drivers and the SR-Iron version (it has no auto-update like Chrome itself), call it the monthly ‘patch day’. And other devices in my home network were not experiencing any problems, so it had to be ‘local’ to my PC.

    Now normally corrupted downloads/files/images can be bad RAM as well (another 1st hand experience from the past), so even though I knew it could be a driver-issue (that would be a $%&* to sort out), I set out by running the basic checks: MemTest, Orthos Prime, OCCT and 3DMark for at least an hour each to verify basic stability of my (heavily) overclocked system and … luckily … it was a 100% rockstable.

    After trying to revert my GPU drivers first without success, I noticed the Cisco/Linksys WL600 (USB Wifi dingle) driver update from MS in the Windows Update History (it was like 79 updates that round including Office, VS, SQL, etc. updates). Since the Device Driver had ‘Roll Back Driver’ still disabled, I downloaded the latest Cisco drivers from their website and installed those manually after uninstalling the updated Microsoft version and … * BOOM * problem solved 🙂

  14. Dawwg here knows what he’s talking about – the OP doesn’t really…
    “Hard Disk Failure – On occasion, my PC does freeze while playing games, no BSOD or errors logged. This is always a pain, but I think it’s mainly video card related. Would have to experience other issues to really pin point. A probable answer.”

    – This likely means nothing to do with the hard disk is the problem (apart from it has a large cache that causes data corruption when power is suddenly cut).
    – IF one’s PC crashes SOMETIMES when playing games, it’s not even likely the graphics card (or test the GPU in relative isolation with a looped benchmark of 3DMark or similar, that’s what they’re for).

    – You fail to consider the PSU – the POWER SUPPLY.

    What other point in time is the PSU ever so tested, as when games are pushing many Watts through the GPU and CPU alike?

    I used to fail to include the PSU in my own troubleshooting – as it’s the hardest to measure without external tools and electronics knowledge.

    The HDD with it’s 5W of usage isn’t likely the issue.

    Allowing the HDD / filesystem to just sit there corrupt after a crash is foolish, and asking for more trouble down the line.

    ALWAYS chkdsk it after a crash.

    I (personally) NEVER get any results found from my very occasional sfc /scannow.

    Because I don’t let ANY files get corrupt, let alone core Windows system ones. Prevention is better than cure.

    IF power is cut. Boot into SAFE MODE (if possible – shitty new version of Windows make it hard). So there’s less processes reading and writing the now-corrupt HDD, to make it worse.
    Then, set a chkdsk to run on reboot (as the filesystem is currently in use). Run it twice maybe. But once should do.
    Reboot into normal mode Windows.
    Never forget to do this and you’ll likely find faw fewer problems down the line.

    Good luck, thread necromancy aside, this needs to be said.

  15. Incidentally, power outages can corrupt the ROM on the router or any other integrated computer with ROM and RAM…
    It happens more often than people think…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *