object ReadableByteStream

So, my mum started getting this “object ReadableByteStream” error when trying to check her email on Outlook / Hotmail / MSN. It appears in simple text at the top left corner of an otherwise blank white page. I immediately Googled the error to find that many other people had been experiencing the same issue recently, which went to my mum hadn’t don’t something to cause it on her system.

It’s not the first time something has changed at Outlook / Hotmail to leave either me or her locked out of our email accounts. I vaguely remember the last time a while back and I think clearing cookies resolved the issue; I suggested the same on this occasion but it had no effect, although this had worked for some others.

The problem with all of the online cases I scanned through was that no one was providing details about their setup, so one can’t figure out a common denominator. Here is my mum’s basic setup:

  • Windows XP using Google Chrome

I would have recommended Firefox but for some reason it never worked on this computer, and the latest versions aren’t available for XP now anyway.

I tried the various options in Chrome to clear cookies and passwords to no avail. What does work however, and is the only solution I could suggest (for now until Microsoft fix things at their end) is:

  • Use Google Chrome’s Incognito window

To access this go to the three dots at the top right and it’ll be there in the list. Alternatively: Ctrl+Shift+N

This is a private browsing mode similar to what can be found in other web browsers, and it avoids storing things like tracking data, cookies and the history of what pages/sites you have visited. Usually if this works but not the normal browsing window it means there is a cookie issue, so I’m not sure why clearing the cookies didn’t work on this occasion.

I would have tried uninstalling and reinstalling Chrome, but since Google no longer support Windows XP I was concerned I might not be able to reinstall it.

Using Internet Explorer is not advisable because it is an even more outdated browser in Windows XP and some websites wont even work with it now.

I think it’s time I change my mum’s computer over to Linux.


  1. Browsers for older operating systems are getting few and far between, you end up with obscure choices such as SeaMonkey. Its tempting to offer people used to windows as their operating system a browser “appliance” running in a linux virtual machine with the seamless mode.

    • I will give SeaMonkey a try on that system; it will be interesting to see if it works when Firefox didn’t. Composer is similar, I notice, to NVU.

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