Bugs & Fixes: Safari bug confounding Apple Support searches?

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Here’s an odd little problem with no sure solution.

The other day, running Safari, I searched for a Knowledge Base article at Apple’s Support site. I entered a query into the Search Support text box; a list of articles soon appeared. However, when I clicked the link for one of the articles, the following error popped up:

Request Entity Too Large. The requested resource /kb/index does not allow request data with GET requests, or the amount of data provided in the request exceeds the capacity limit. Apache/1.3.33 Server at support.apple.com Port 80.

This type of error may occur in a variety of contexts, all related to a browser attempting to access an online database. However, in my particular case, the error seemed restricted to Safari. When I tried Firefox instead, I had no trouble loading the article via the same link.

Not surprisingly, the problem appeared limited to the database URLs generated by the Search Results, such as:


If I instead tried an article’s actual URL (such as http://support.apple.com/kb/TS1900), the page loaded just fine, even in Safari.

There is a quick temporary fix: Quit Safari and relaunch. After doing this, all links should work well, at least for awhile. In my case, however, after searching Apple's support pages for a few minutes and testing several links, the error returned.

Seeking outside help, I scoured the Web for possible explanations or fixes. While I found several reports of the same symptom, no one seemed to know exactly what was going on. There were several suggestions for eliminating the symptom, such as removing the cookies.plist file in ~/Library/Cookies or selecting the Empty Cache (or even Reset Safari) command in the Safari menu. None of them worked for me.

A couple of sites suggested certain Safari add-ons (such as Glims) as a possible cause. This seems doubtful, as most users of the suspect software are not having the problem. In any case, I did not have any of the potential culprits installed.

This error first popped up on my Mac in the last week. So I assume there must be something I recently changed that triggered the symptom, even if it is not the entire cause. A distinct possibility is the Safari 4.0.2 update, which I installed about the same time all this started happening. While I have not tested this theory by downgrading to the prior version of Safari on my Mac Pro, I can confirm that the symptom does not occur on my MacBook Pro, which is still running an earlier version of Safari 4.

Case not yet closed.

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