All is not well in IE8 world, and it falls at the very first hurdle – importing Bookmarks/Favourites. Though as you’ll see, it’s more a case that IE8 was actually lying to me. Doesn’t fill me with confidence.
I’ve just installed IE8 – purely for reference purposes – I operate an email advice service for people with ME/CFS, with computer problems (and for the benefit of DWP snoops, it’s free). IE8’s installation allows you no input whatsoever and simply overwrites IE7, which is totally unacceptable. It’s my PC, and it’s my choice as to where a new app is installed – something MS seem to have lost sight of. Mozilla did exactly the same thing with the first release of Firefox 3 (but reverted to the convention user-choice installation destination in later versions).
So what to do? The only thing I can think of is to get a copy of IE7 from another source, then install it in a different location. But that creates its own difficulties as, in the past, it’s been impossible to install an old copy of IE on a system with a more recent copy – the installation self-aborts. I’ll try it anyway.
Obviously, then, I haven’t used IE8, not do I want to, but more knowledgeable people than me reckon it’s a bloated monster. Somewhat mysteriously it says in the blurb:-
Now you can get more tasks done more quickly on the web. Accelerators provide instant access to information like maps, web searches, translations, email, blogging, and more.
Which is rubbish – you can still only do one task at a time, same as always (unless you grow more arms and another head)! And your browser speed depends on your connection speed and the amount of memory you have. If you’re on a 2Mb connection with 512MB of memory (are you reading this, Alan?), it’ll still be slow – if it runs at all.
And talking of memory, IE8 is more of a memory-hog than Firefox 3 though, to be fair, I’ve never had a problem with FF3.
And IE8 has crash protection – Oh joy! It reverts to where you were in the event of a crash but, hey, I’d far rather have a browser that didn’t crash in the first place – something I’ve had with Firefox and Opera, having abandoned IE some years ago.
So, having grudgingly installed IE8, I’m now going through the set-up process. The first choice I have is whether to allow it to bugger off on its own and find websites I might like, based on those I’ve visited – and won’t that be fun when it brings back a virus-infested site, or brings your grannie some porn? So that’s a definite No!
The next step is
How the hell do I know? I’ve not used the thing yet, I don’t know what the features do, or whether I want them to do it – and I sure as hell don’t want IE8 set as my default, nor do I like the way they’ve sneaked it in with a whole batch of other stuff where it’s easily overlooked, so I’m going with the custom option.
A little further in, after a couple of innocuous panes, you get another multiple choice one
Bear in mind tat at this stage I haven’t even been able to play with IE8, so how do I make a sensible choice based on zero knowledge? I’m going with the webpage option on this one, but I expect that the average IE user will go with the first choice, though accepting all this stuff at face value is probably a bad idea until you know what it’s about – don’t do it. Indeed, unless you have plenty of memory, I’d caution you against installing all the whistles and bells anyway, even if you fancy them.
will undoubtedly slow down your browsing. Your call, I don’t want it. I’m not an idiot, I don’t want my hand holding – if I did I’d be with AOL!
This one I don’t have a problem with
On the other hand, I’ve never come across an old website that didn’t display adequately. This seems to be a solution in search of a problem – again, your call. I’ll pass.
And that’s the end of the installation process. Bizarrely, although it overwrote IE7, it didn’t retain the Favorites, and is, as I type this, copying them from Firefox. Except it’s not. The buggers frozen. Oh, wonderful, doesn’t that just fill you with confidence – the useless bloody thing can’t even import bookmarks.
OK, a few minutes on and it’s recovered, and imported my bookmarks perfectly, as far as a quick look can tell. There’s a problem, though.
One thing I demand in a browser – and there’s really no excuse for not having it – is a Bookmarks/Favorites search facility. Like many people who have been online for years, I have thousands of bookmarks, and I can’t possibly remember where everything is – so a search facility, as with FF and Opera, is essential, yet IE has never had one. IE8 is no different.
I’ve just had a look at the finished installation, and it displays this blog OK, but the Favorites are completely screwed up. This is the WordPress folder from Firefox bookmarks
And this abomination is the complete hash of the job that IE8 has made of it (and why is it in a bold font and what’s the rest of the crap?).
Where the hell is the rest of it? No bloody idea at all, but if IE8 can’t do something as simple as import Favorites then, screw it, I’ve no interest in it at all.
Actually, I’ve figured out what’s happened, having looked at a few more folders – despite claiming to be importing Favorites from Firefox and, on completion, telling me it had done just that, what it has actually done is retain the old, outdated, list from IE7. Trouble is, the original wasn’t in a bold font, not did it have random characters attached to it, as the above does, and that’s repeated throughout Favorites, and that’s a royal pain in the butt. This, to me, suggests that, far from being a minor glitch, something is wrong at the heart of IE8. If it doesn’t know where it’s importing Favorites from, and cocks them up, how can it be trusted to perform other, more complex tasks properly? And trust me, with all the recommended bells and whistles installed, complex is IE8’s middle name.
The thing is, IE is the first point of contact with the Internet for almost every new computer user, and in the past has been perfectly usable with zero knowledge – with the introduction of IE8 I think newbies are going to be way out of their depth. Sorry, Redwood, I’ve had great faith in MS products for a long time, but seriously, you can shove this one.
If you’re tired of IE7 and want a browser that works perfectly straight out of the box, then I recommend Opera. I use Firefox, but Bookmarks need a little tweaking (I’ve posted the details in this blog – it’s not hard). Do that I’d say without hesitation, go for Firefox 3.0.8 as some websites, especially online stores, are not compatible with Opera, which is a shame as it’s a very nice browser. I only use Firefox because WordPress is optimised for it. Were it not for that, I’d be happy with Opera as, indeed, I was before I found the fix for the Firefox 3 bookmarks cock-up that Mozilla still haven’t addressed.
Update:- May 5 2009 – since I installed IE8 I’ve had nothing but trouble with Windows Explorer, which powers the Windows search function – it just hangs every damn time. Luckily I set a restore point before installing, so I’m rolling back to there – I need a search function more than I need IE8.