"Warning: Unresponsive Script"

This message has been popping up more and more on my Mac lately while I’m on the Internet. What’s it mean? How can I avoid it? My options are given as “Continue” or “Stop script.” Clicking on which will get me back on track faster?


I usually see this when I put my machine to sleep and then wake it up again.
I usually click “stop script.”

I usually click “Continue Script”.

Um… thanks. What’s a “script” in this context, anyway? Nothing Hollywood would be interested in, I’m sure.

I don’t have a Mac but on my Windows machine there’s an option ‘Do not warn me of script errors’. I’m sure there’s an equivalent on the Mac.


If I’m not mistaken, it’s a Javascript function which is failing to execute due to expectations on one computer’s part that involve information transfer. This happened to me quite a lot when using Google Docs, which makes extensive use of Javascript.

Javascript is the usual script and most likely the problem. You can use other scripts though.

The problem is whoever wrote the script used code that is written poorly or they wrote the code and tested it in say Firefox and it works fine but not in IE. Differen’t browsers have quirks in them, though Mozilla based browsers like K-Meleon and Firefox are supposed to be 100% standards compliant.

I find this a lot in blogs I try tro read, it’s usually a case of too much info on the page, generally image heavy, or when someone used Javascript intensively instead of using say, HTML which is much easily handled.

If it’s happening more than usual I would of course check for malware on the machine, then if that’s OK, I’d reinstall your browser from scratch. Use something like Rev Uninstaller to make sure all the browser is completely uninstalled then reinstall from scratch. For IE users you go to

Tools -> Internet Options -> Advanced -> Reset

Thanks, everyone!

The reason behind those warnings is slightly technical, but I’ll give it a shot to explain:

Browsers can run programs on a web page. Pretty much all of the time, this is JavaScript code. Because of the way the code is allowed to interact with the web page, the browser has to wait for any piece of code to do whatever it wants to do and hand back control of the page back to the browser - that’s you, basically.

For instance, imagine a page with a button on it. When you click on the button, a piece of code is run and it can for instance add or change a bit of information on the page very quickly and then it’s done and you can do whatever you want from there. Your profile page on this board has something like that with the “About me, Statistic, Friends” tabs.

What can go wrong with this setup is that the code can take as long as it wants to run, and in the mean time, you can’t do anything with the page. In all browsers I’m aware of, you can’t even click on a link to another page while a script is running. So if the code has faults in it, or does stuff that takes a lot longer on one browser versus another, the user is locked out.

The warning message you get is your browser telling you that some piece of code has been running for some time now, and it can stop that if you want it to. I usually press “Stop”, unless its some page that I know can take a while sometimes and actually does something useful. In my experience, in the “wild web”, most of the problems are caused by badly written code that doesn’t do anything interesting at all - and you can usually just reload the page if pressing “Stop” breaks anything.

The solution to this problem is usually to switch browsers. For example, on my Mac, I typically use Firefox. However if I want to go to goodeatsfanpage.com, I open that using Safari, because some script was caught in a loop in FF (or at least that used to be the case). I highly doubt this is malware.

Thanks. Any further thoughts on whether “Continue” or “Stop script” is the better option to resume my surfing?

I’m not on a Mac, but I get this at least once a session on my work PC when trying to use Street View on Google Maps. The alert says something like “A script on this page is causing Internet Explorer to run slowly. If it continues to run, your computer may become unresponsive and a vein in your forehead may start to throb like in that one cartoon.”
I click “Abort script” and it works fine, so clearly the script wasn’t trying to do anything useful.

Well, if you stop executing the script, all bets are off as far as what elements on the page will work. If you continue, the script execution may never terminate. The latter is worse, generally, but we are not talking about wrecking your computer or anything. At most, you will need to restart your browser.

That’s a major feature of Google Chrome - each tab is its own process thread. If one gets locked or crashes it doesn’t affect the other tabs or windows.

I’ve been using Chrome pretty much exclusively since July and I like it. The design is very minimal which suits me.

What I want to know is how to avoid the “unresponsive script” thing altogether - the warning box usually pops up after about 5 minutes of “Why in the hell is my computer completely frozen??” … any way to preemptively zap the script while comp is in frozen mode?