Internet Explorer 8 – faulty straight out of the box…

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

screenshot168

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

screenshot169

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.

This option

screenshot170

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

screenshot171

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

screenshot173

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?).

screenshot172

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.

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9 thoughts on “Internet Explorer 8 – faulty straight out of the box…

  1. Great to see another M$ hater! I have used Firefox since 2006 and have never regretted it once 🙂

    • Ah, I love Office 2003 – nothing to match it, but IE is just too clunky for words, and Outlook Express is simply crap. I think it’s just that they don’t try too hard with their free apps.

  2. Just installed IE8 from the windows update panel in Vista….

    So, where to start. Ok, so 1st it tells me the an update install failed and manages to roll and unroll the updates 3 times before it finally seems to work…

    That is, until I launch IE. Seems IE8 installed to the 64 bit folder, but not the 32 bit folder. So, if I run IE from any of the default icons (not to bad for shortcuts, but the Start Menu IE binding isn’t changeable) it launches IE7, which crashes with “Internet Explorer has stopped working”. If I manually launch IE8 from the 64bit folder, it works…but I have near-constant UAC prompts…

    Seems like M$ have managed to produce yet another steaming pile.

    • Hmm… In comparison, Firefox 3.0.9 was unstable, but Mozilla pretty quickly released 3.0.10, which fixed it. Just a shame they seem to have no interest in fixing the shit that doesn’t work, like Organize Bookmarks, which has never worked in v3.x

      After the initial snafu, IE8, on the odd occasion I use it, seems to work OK. Still don’t like it, though.

    • Thanks Janet,

      Yes, you’re quite right – they introduced that feature with IE7. What I was referring to, though, was that the choice of an app’s location should be the user’s – what happens if you want to run both versions side-by-side for comparison? You can’t do that if a new version overwrites an old version.

  3. Hi , installed IE 8 yesterday and had running problems..
    and it didnt let me go to piratebay.org at all…and yeah all my favorites where gone…i tryed to type something and it kept on trying to quess what i am looking for and it popped
    open site suggestions constantly…and i found out it turned of my firewalls as well..put them on few times and it turn them off again…and from that i we got an virus and my keyboard stopped working…most of the letters where totally unfunctionable and the ones what did function gave
    long line of what ever letters…now the pc is sended to
    service and reprogramming + new keyboard…its an new pc
    4 months old with 0 problems until yesterday after i installed internet explorer 8…yuheeiii what a hell have they created !!! now i am in internet-cafe

  4. I came upon this site after googling “IE 8 su#Ks I want to get back to IE7”. After some hunting around, I came upon a “microsoft fixit” page. Apparently uninstalling IE8 automatically reverts to the last version you had on your computer. I did it and it worked. After a restart, I’m back to IE7. I also feared I would have to hunt around for IE7, but that wasn’t the case. Just thought you’d like to know..

  5. I have also recently downloaded IE 8 and now my keyboard doesn’t work only on internet sites, it’s fine on all other applications. I’ve tried to restore my previous internet settings but it’s blocking it. Does anyone know of anything I can do? I’m not very technical, one option I’ve seen is that I can restore the factory settings, will this do anything to the computer?

    • Yes – it might wipe out everything on your computer and return it to how it was when it left the factory! Or it might just undo all your personalised settings – depends. Before doing anything,, go to Control Panel and check that your keyboard is still set to the appropriate zone/language.

      If IE has screwed things up and that doesn’t fix it, uninstall it, and use System Restore to retreat to before you installed it. Then install Firefox or Opera (download them before you bin IE!). Both are far better than IE, and I think that Firefox has the edge, though I like Opera too.

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