Technical FAQs

This faq is split into two sections:

Section One addresses TWS-related questions, including:

Section Two addresses other problems that may affect your TWS session, including browser, network, system and connectivity issues.

Section One - TWS

Section Two - Related Issues
System Troubleshooting
System Information
Network Information
Services and Protocols
Connectivity Troubleshooting
Miscellaneous Questions
Basic Troubleshooting
Section One - TWS

Can I run TWS on my system?
To ensure that you have an adequate Internet connection and proper system requirements to run TWS, first run the demo system.


How do I install TWS?
Find download instructions and the necessary files on the Installation Instructions page.


What are the minimum system requirements to run TWS?

The table below outlines our suggestions for both minimum and recommended system requirements to run the IB Trader WorkstationSM.

  PC Minimum
PC Recommended Requirements Mac Minimum
Mac Recommended Requirements
Operating System Windows Vista Windows 7 or higher Mac OSX 10.7 Mac OSX 10.9.5
Browser   Internet Explorer 11.0 and higher
Firefox 32.0 and higher
Chrome 37.0 and higher
  Safari 7.1
Firefox 32.0
Chrome 37.0
Java Oracle Java 6 Oracle Java 7 Oracle Java 6 Oracle Java 7
Screen Resolution 1024 x 768 Dual Screen, 1280 x 1024 1024 x 768 Dual Screen, 1280 x 1024
Processor 2.2GHz Intel Core2 Duo Intel Dual Core Processor
Intel i3 and higher processors
Intel Dual Core Processor Intel Dual Core i3 and higher processors
Memory 2GB Ram (Average Trader) 4GB Ram (Power Trader) 2GB Ram (Average Trader) 4GB Ram (Power Trader)
Internet Connection 56K Dial-up or higher Broadband with Dial-up Backup 56K Dial-up or higher Broadband with Dial-up Backup
  Linux/Unix Minimum
Linux/Unix Recommended Requirements    
Operating System Kernel 2.6 Kernel 3.0 or higher    
Browser   Firefox 32.0
Chrome 37.0
Java Oracle Java 6 Oracle Java 7    
Screen Resolution 1024 x 768 Dual Screen, 1280 x 1024    
Processor 2.2GHz Intel Core2 Duo Intel Dual Core
i3 and higher processors
Memory 2GB Ram (Average Trader) 4GB Ram (Power Trader)    
Internet Connection 56K Dial-up or higher Broadband with Dial-up Backup    


Will TWS run on my Macintosh PC and UNIX workstation?
You can run TWS on a Mac OS X machine and on a UNIX workstation.


Should I use the standalone or browser-based TWS?
If you have a slower computer or Internet connection, we recommend that you use the standalone version of TWS. If you use the browser-based version, you can access TWS from any internet PC. The standalone version can only be accessed from the PC on which you installed the application. Otherwise, both require that you install the latest Java Runtime Environment and both function the same way.


How do I install/upgrade the Java plugin?
Go to the Java Upgrade Instructions page and select the Windows or Mac operating system. Follow instructions for upgrading the Java plugin. Note that if you want to upgrade to a newer Java version, you must first remove the existing plugin and then reinstall the upgraded version.


What is a beta release, and how can I use it?
The beta release is an pre-production version of an upcoming release that allows you to actively trade while you test new features. You must deliberately elect to use the beta at your own risk when you log in. Since the beta is under construction until production release, we welcome your input on its performance. The beta will be promoted to production after it has been tested both in-house and externally over a specified time period.


How do I know what changes are in a new release?
The login page includes links to both the beta and production release notes. These notes briefly describe new features and problems that have been fixed.


How will I know when a new TWS version has been released?
If you are running the standalone version, the update wizard will automatically check for TWS updates each time you log in to your PC. You can also manually check for updates from the Start menu by selecting Programs and then Startup and clicking Check for TWS Updates. Customers running the browser-based version will always get the most recent production release when they log in.


How do I reinstall TWS?
First, uninstall TWS by going to add/remove programs and removing TWS. You can then reinstall TWS from the TWS Software page.


Why isn't my username recognized?
You will receive this message for one of the following reasons:


Where can I find more information on using TWS?
Instant help resources include the TWS Release Notes, TWS User's Guide, and the online tutorials. If you still cannot find an answer to your question, contact Customer Service.


Who do I contact for help?
IB has two distinct departments that handle specific types of TWS questions. Customer service deals with everything involving trading, accounts, funding and execution. See the Customer Service page on the IB website for contact details. The Technical Assistance Center (TAC) can help you with issues concerning your connection to IB and problems with the software involved. To help you more quickly, please:

In the US, call 877-442-2757 during regular business hours for support. The following options are available:

To reach:
Customer Service
Account, Trading, Product or Order Information
Backup Trader
Getting out of a position only.
Trade Information
Information on orders or executions
Funds and Banking
Funding, Balance, or Account (monetary) questions
Technical Assistance
Assistance with computer or software installation problems

You can also email us at Please include the following information:

Two - TWS-Related Issues

You may experience problems with TWS if you are running the software below the minimum requirements. When troubleshooting problems, start by making sure that your computer meets our minimum system requirements.

Why does my browser either not load TWS properly, or close suddenly?
A) This may be a problem with Java.

B) Your browser may be outdated or corrupt.
If you are using Netscape:

If you are using Internet Explorer: Check the version you are using. To check the version, on the Help menu click About.


Why do I suddenly lose my Internet connection?
A. Your Internet connection may drop off due to connectivity or Internet Service Provider (ISP)-based issues.

Consult our connectivity FAQ if you suspect if this is an issue.

B. This problem has also been known to occur with problematic Ethernet cards.

Please consult our list of known compatible Network Cards.


Why won’t the “Trade Login” window or system status window come up?
If you’ve installed software that prevents web window pop-ups, you will need to disable this software or allow permission for these windows to open. For more information on this topic, consult the documentation for the software that prevents pop-ups.


Account and Login Problems

Why do I receive the message “Page Not Found?"
This problem is typically caused by running previous versions of Internet Explorer or Netscape. You should use IE 5.5 or Netscape 4.77 with 128 bit encryption. If you have Windows 2000, encryption is part of the operating system and requires additional upgrades. In addition to the browser, you will need to do one of the following upgrades: Windows 2000 high encryption pack, or Windows 2000 Service Pack 2. Installation of either of these updates will upgrade the operating system’s encryption. Microsoft’s upgrades can be acquired here. Netscape can be downloaded from this link.


Why won't my login prompt show up?
This may be due to a corrupted or improper install of TWS or the Java Applet.

  1. Remove all instances of Java and Trader Workstation.

  2. Follow the Java Direct-download instructions

  3. Download a new version of TWS.

Outdated or corrupted browsers can cause this to occur. If you are using Netscape:

  1. Uninstall Netscape

  2. Download Netscape again

If you are using Internet Explorer:

Or, your browser display settings may be preventing you from viewing the entire screen.

  • Using the “view” menu in your browser, set your font size to the smallest setting.

Your browser’s cache may have a problematic page stored in it.

  • Hold down the “ctrl” key and hit “Refresh” at the top of your browser. This will force the page to reload from the server.

Dial-in customers or customers with a poor connection may periodically experience problems loading an applet through a browser. Browser download and installation of applets tend to stall on slower connections.

  • Using standalone TWS will bypass this problem entirely.

You may be using a problematic Ethernet card.


Why is my TWS flashing a magenta grid, then trying to log back in again?
This typically occurs if:

  • The connection to IB is interrupted

  • You are trying to log on more than once, or have duplicate login sessions. Verify that there is only one instance of either TWS or MobileTrader running for your account. If you continue to experience this problem, consult our Network FAQ.

Why does it say "Logging in, Attempt 1, 2, 3 . . ."?
This indicates that you are having a problem with the workstation getting to our servers. After it says “attempt 3” press “cancel”. This will give you a detailed error message that you can troubleshoot below.

Message Description
Unknown Host: This indicates a problem with DNS and your Internet Provider.
No Route to Host This indicates a problem with routing to IB over the Internet, from your machine.
Winsock or Socket Exception This indicates that the computer is having a problem creating an outbound socket to our server.
Connection Timed Out This is a generic error you receive when a connection attempt times out in transit.

For any of these errors, consult our Network FAQ.


Why do I only get a gray screen when I log in?
This may happen for a variety of reasons. Try the following:

  • Wait. It may take several minutes to complete loading the trading pages, depending on the number of pages and symbol population on the pages and your speed of connection. Clean out ticker symbols and pages that you no longer require.

  • Reconnect to the Internet

  • Check your network connection for problems.

  • Make sure your system has the proper minimum system requirements.

  • In the case that your user preference files may have become corrupt, contact Technical Assistance for help in resetting the information.

  • A corrupt Java installation will cause this to occur. To verify that this is the problem, go into the control panel and double-click on the Java plug-in. The same gray screen will result if the plug-in is corrupt. If this happens, uninstall and reinstall Java.

Why does it stop on “Processing Security Definition Request,” or take a long time to log in?
This may happen for a couple of reasons. Try the following:

  • Wait. It may take several minutes depending on the amount of information and speed of connection. If this is the case, clean out symbols and pages that you no longer require.

  • Make sure your system has the proper minimum system requirements.

Why do I get a “Field n Required” error?
This indicates there is a problem with your network connection. Refer to our Network FAQ and your system Administrator to check for latency and network problems.


Why does my computer shut off, or give a blue screen when I run TWS?
This may be the result of a problematic Ethernet card, or improper driver installation of display adapters. Download the latest version of your video drivers and consult our list of compatible network cards.


After logging in, I only get a tan and black screen.
This occurs when the page file becomes corrupt from a disk error. Please consult our Page File FAQ for information on how to manipulate this file.


System Troubleshooting

How do I open the control panel?
To open the Control Panel, click Start, then select Settings>Control Panel.

With Windows XP, click Start>Control Panel.

Depending on the version of Windows you are using, its appearance may vary slightly from what we describe.

How do I uninstall software?

If you need to uninstall software, you should only do it from Add/Remove Programs window accessible from the Control Panel. Use this window to remove Netscape, Trader Workstation or Java, or repair Internet Explorer. When you uninstall a program, you will usually get a confirmation message ensuring that you do indeed want to remove the item that you have selected.

Note: Java does not support automatic upgrades. Before you upgrade Java, you must uninstall the current version.

Important: If you are uninstalling for reinstall purposes, Windows may ask you to restart your computer. DO NOT IGNORE THIS REQUEST. Shut down and restart your computer to allow files to be unlocked and removed from memory.


How do I download TWS and other applications from Interactive Brokers?
On the Software menu on the IB website, select from TWS, API or the Toolbox.


How do I download from Microsoft?
Whether you’re downloading an encryption upgrade, a new browser or a service pack, all official Windows upgrades can be acquired from, shown above. Click on the “products update” link on the left-hand side, select the updates you wish to install, and follow the instructions.


System Information

Compatible Network Cards The following is a list of network card (NIC) manufacturers whose cards IB customers have confirmed work with our software:


Java Download instructions

  1. Go to the website.

  2. On the right side of the page under Popular Downloads, click "Java SE"

  3. Where it reads JDK 6 Update 5, Click on Download

  4. Read the license terms and conditions and click "Accept."

  5. Click the download link.

  6. In the "Save As" window, save the file to your desktop.

  7. Once the download is complete, return to your Desktop and double- click on the "jdk-6u5-windows-i586-p.exe" icon to install the Java plugin.

  8. Read the "Software License Agreement" and click "Yes" to continue.

  9. Choose the default destination and click "Next" to install the Java program.

  10. Installation is complete. You can now run the Java-based Trader Workstation 4.0.

Note: If you are running a non US-English version of Windows, you need to install the international plug-in.


Network FAQ

How much bandwidth does TWS require?
Depending on the amount of data you are receiving (number of ticker symbols entered) most TWS sessions will function properly on a reliable 33.6 connection. However, the use of other network applications while you are using TWS may slow down your connection.


Does TWS use UDP?
TWS does not use any UDP.


What types of dial-up services are available?
Dial-up Internet is available in two varieties: 56k dial-up (also known as a standard ISP connection) and Dial-up ISDN. The two are similar in that they use a telephone line and a modem to dial in to an Internet service provider. They are carried on different types of lines and use different types of modems. 56k dial-up is primarily used in the home, whereas 64k and 128k ISDN are commonly used in business applications. Availability of different services may be limited in certain areas; contact service providers in your area for a list of available services.


What protocols and ports should my ISP allow?
TWS connects to our servers via port 4000 using a source port in the publicly addressable space above port 1024. Our servers listen on port 4000; TWS will not function on any other port. For users behind firewalls, the installed version includes provisions for using a specified outbound port. Both inbound and outbound ports need to be permissioned for TWS to function properly.


I share my Internet connection, will this work?
TWS will function in a shared environment, provided that a reliable connection exists. The connection that a TWS machine receives must have sufficient bandwidth to operate. Users should take care when using NAT (Network Address Translation) and DHCP. While TWS will work if NAT and/or DHCP are configured properly, data loss and unpredictable behavior can result from improper configurations. For more information on NAT and DHCP, review the section below on those topics.


What types of broadband services are available?
There are many types of broadband available. Cable, xDSL, Corporate Networks (T1, T3, Frac-T), Dial-on-demand ISDN and Satellite are all broadband solutions. All of these services provide much higher throughput (compared to a dial-in line) and typically use routers or special modems to become part of a hardwired network. Some services emulate this method rather than actually performing this way. Availability of different services may be limited in certain areas; contact vendors in your area for a list of available services.


What protocols and ports should my broadband ISP allow?
As with dial-up, TWS connects to our servers via port 4000 using a source port in the publicly addressable space above port 1024. Our servers listen on port 4000; it will not function on any other port. For users behind firewalls, the installed version of TWS includes provisions for using a specified outbound port.


Special notice with regard to Satellite Systems: Testing with these systems has proved inconclusive. Some satellite providers list trading software (or anything that requires a reliable connection) as an “at your own risk” practice. Customer feedback has indicated that satellite services are sometimes unreliable.


How do I know if a provider I choose will work with TWS?
As with any type of connection, be sure the provider allows TCP/IP routing with open access to Internet service ports. TWS connects to our servers via port 4000 using a source port in the publicly addressable space above port 1024. Our servers listen on port 4000; it will not function on any other port. For users behind firewalls, the installed version of TWS includes provisions for using a specified outbound port.


What types of direct-connect or leased line solutions are available?
For the ultimate in reliability, speed and security, some customers choose to install a dedicated connection to our servers via leased line or frame relay interface. Please contact an IB sales representative about leased-line connections.


Services and Protocols Be aware of the protocols and network devices that may affect you. The following is information about your TWS connection that you or your Network Administrator will want to know when troubleshooting your connection to us.

  • DHCP (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol) is a way of automatically assigning IP addresses. If your DHCP server is assigning a private address (addresses which are not associated with the Internet) the server may be doing NAT (Network Address Translation) to get to the outside Internet Depending on the particular configuration, the router or server may be trapping requests from our server to your computer.

  • TCP/IP is the basic protocol from an Internet service provider. This, along with DNS (Dynamic Name System) and basic socket access are all that is required for a “functioning Internet connection” and for running TWS software.

  • NAT (Network Address Translation) is one of the basic components behind home routers (and some professional private routers). Done properly this should be transparent; the address on the outside should translate to your internal (non-Internet) addresses without your PC knowing the specifics of the routing.

  • IB accepts connections on port 4000 from inbound traffic from ports 1024 or higher. This is required for connection to our servers. If you are using a firewall, these ports will need to be provided for within its configuration. Contact your network administrator for more information.
Connectivity Troubleshooting

Multiple network adapters can be problematic
Extraneous network adapters and drivers which are not connected, are inoperative or unnecessary should be removed from your system. These can cause unpredictable network behavior.

  • AOL and other proprietary adapters may work fine if you have the service and are actively using it. If, however you are not using the adapter, it may be configured improperly and has been known to cause connectivity issues.

  • NDSWAN and other VPN adapters can be problematic if they are not in use. PPPOE (Point to Point Protocol Over Ethernet) may be used in some DSL or Cable connections; if it is not used, it may cause problems with the connection, and should be removed.

  • Certain brands of ethernet cards are known to have problems with their drivers and the way they address memory. Please refer to our compatible network card list for further information.

  • Client for Netware Networks and IPX/SPX are protocols used in corporate Novell Networks. If this protocol is not needed, it should be removed.

  • NETBEUI is a Microsoft Protocol that, as above, may be in use in a corporate network. If it is not in use, it is better to remove this adapter
Important: If you are not sure about any of the adapters in your Network settings, consult your network administrator before removing them.

Quality of service has a large affect on Internet-based applications
Latency due to physical distance from your ISP, routing within your ISP’s network, packet loss and many other factors can affect the reliable operation of your TWS. Please review the connectivity troubleshooting tips below to test the quality of your connection.


Does IB support HTTP proxies?
Not for TWS. IB does support HTTP proxies for Web Trader, but this application has limited capabilities.


What type of proxies do you support?
IB supports proxies that can emulate open sockets.


Advanced Connectivity Troubleshooting

There are some basic commands that can be used from a DOS prompt to get more information on your connection to a remote host. To get to a DOS prompt, go to start and click on run. If you are using Windows 95, 98, or ME, type “command”. If you are using Windows NT, 2000, or XP, type “cmd”. Hit OK to enter the DOS window. From here, you can try the following to test your connection:

The Ping command will test the quality and latency of your connection. If it shows 4 round-trip reports without a reply (does not say not found, timed out, etc.) your connection is healthy. To use this, type ping at the command prompt. A healthy ping should look as follows:

Pinging [] with 32 bytes of data:
Reply from bytes=32 time<10ms TTL=254 Reply from bytes=32 time<10ms TTL=254 Reply from bytes=32 time<10ms TTL=254 Reply from bytes=32 time<10ms TTL=254

If the ping results show excessive latency (>500ms), timeouts/packet loss, or no replies, a network problem exists between you and the IB network.


Trace Route
The tracert command is used to isolate routing issues. This will show you all of the “hops” from your connection to our network. A timeout, indicated by “*” or time above 200, indicates a slow or dead hop and may be a problem. Over 15 hops can also be a problem.

To look at a traceroute, type tracert at the command prompt.

The following are sample traceroutes. Included is an explanation and suggested course of action. This traceroute is an example of a healthy connection. The ping times and the number of hops are low (lower is better). No course of action required.

1 gatekeeper ( 1 ms 1 ms 2 ms
2 ( 19 ms 26 ms 21 ms
3 ( 22 ms 19 ms 24 ms
4 ( 20 ms 19 ms 20 ms
5 ( 20 ms 26 ms 19 ms
6 ( 30 ms 20 ms 22 ms
7 ( 20 ms 19 ms 19 ms
8 ( 25 ms 37 ms 21 ms
9 ( 21 ms 26 ms 22 ms
10 ( 24 ms 23 ms 24 ms
11 ( 35 ms 31 ms 29 ms
12 ( 28 ms 28 ms 30 ms

This is an example of a marginal connection. The ping times and number of hops are fairly high, but the connection should still be usable. Contact your ISP to see if this is a common occurrence. If this is what you can expect, you may want to shop around for another provider. Higher times indicate line latency (slowness) and the high (17) number of ‘hops’ results in a higher potential for outage, in the event that one of the providers involved experiences a problem.

1 ( 3.258 ms 2.325 ms 2.32 ms
2 ( 3.894 ms 3.546 ms 2.935 ms
3 ( 3.299 ms 4.549 ms 13.643 ms
4 ( 78.624 ms 72.213 ms 73.457 ms
5 ( 104.912 ms 105.978 ms 104.695 ms
6 ( 142.148 ms 115.03 ms 114.235 ms
7 ( 113.658 ms 116.135 ms 114.903 ms
8 ( 134.768 ms 138.151 ms 132.05 ms
9 ( 130.876 ms 131.726 ms 134.405 ms
10 ( 132.904 ms 131.369 ms 134.111 ms
11 ( 209.434 ms 212.069 ms 209.79 ms
12 ( 215.735 ms 208.302 ms 207.316 ms
13 ( 400.633 ms 352.33 ms 274.419 ms
14 ( 212.023 ms 215.237 ms 215.472 ms
15 ( 213.755 ms 212.104 ms 211.378 ms
16 ( 218.742 ms 221.021 ms 217.51 ms
17 ( 218.028 ms 222.549 ms 218.867 ms


The next example shows a network outage. The connection fails between hop 8 and 9. In the event that this occurs, you should contact your ISP and give them this information. These types of outages are very obvious and are the easiest for an ISP to troubleshoot.

( 0.432 ms 0.323 ms 0.357 ms
2 ( 1.094 ms 7.688 ms 2.332 ms
3 ( 1.489 ms 1.403 ms 1.425 ms
4 ( 135.413 ms 129.594 ms 136.073 ms
5 Pos5-0.GW7.STK3.ALTER.NET ( 141.723 ms 140.031 ms 122.782 ms
6 so-3-0-0.XR2.STK3.Alter.Net ( 113.354 ms 98.346 ms 90.857 ms
7 ge-1-0-0.TR1.STK2.Alter.Net ( 94.762 ms 115.168 ms 130.034 ms
8 so-4-0-0.IR1.DCA4.Alter.Net ( 257.747 ms 288.965 ms 255.057 ms
9 request timed out * * *
10 request
timed out * * *
11 request
timed out * * *
request timed out * * *

The last example is possibly the hardest to troubleshoot and the most frustrating. The occasional timeout (marked with *s) appears several places in the traceroute. This indicates that intermittent packet loss is taking place. These types of errors are elusive and may not have been reported yet. Contact your ISP about this issue.

1 <10 ms <10 ms 10 ms
2 <10 ms 10 ms 10 ms []
3 <10 ms 10 ms <10 ms []
4 <10 ms * <10 ms []
5 <10 ms 10 ms 10 ms []
6 10 ms 10 ms *
7 10 ms 10 ms 10 ms []
8 10 ms 10 ms 10 ms []
9 10 ms 10 ms 10 ms []
10 10 ms 10 ms 10 ms []
11 * 10 ms 10 ms []
12 10 ms 10 ms 10 ms []
13 10 ms 10 ms 10 ms []
14 * * * Request timed out.


Miscellaneous Questions

When I have a problem, how do I show you what I’m seeing?
Create a snapshot of your computer screen and e-mail it to IB.

  1. Launch the window that you want to capture, and press Alt + PrtScrn (Print Screen). You can't tell, but you've just captured a picture of your screen.

  2. Open a new MS Word document, put your cursor on the page and select "Paste."

  3. Name and save the file, and send it to IB Customer Service as an attachment, along with a detailed verbal description of your support issue.

I want to delete my cookies. Can this cause problems?
We do not recommend deleting cookies. Windows issues a warning before deleting cookies because of data loss that can occur. Deleting them will produce side affects and must be done at your own risk.


Basic Troubleshooting

Restarting your computer and networking hardware will reduce the possibility that you’re having a problem locally. Please shut down your computer, restart (turn off and turn back on) any router or modem (ISDN, DSL, Cable, Satellite) and turn the PC back on before contacting support about a technical issue. This is a suggested fix for most broadband providers and has been known to fix simple end-computer errors.


Is this a problem with only your computer?
Try logging in and testing with another computer that you know works (with the same account) to see if the problem is the same on both computers.


Does this only happen with your account?
If you have multiple Accounts, try another one of your accounts on your machine. If you don’t have a second account, try using our demo system, or having a friend try their account on your machine will help to determine if there is a common issue among accounts (or systems) and where that problem may be.


Does your problem occur with both the standalone and the browser-based versions?
Trying both systems may indicate that the problem is with a component installed on your computer or somewhere else.