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May 13, 2008

Vista and Internet Explorer: Ugh

The good news is that Internet Explorer in Vista has this feature called "Protected Mode" which "should" provide good protection from things that go bump in the night on the Internet. The bad news is that it mostly protects you from yourself. Most people I know turn protected mode off although it does seem to be working fine for Mary. It definitely doesn't let me do active-x installs even though I've turned on that option everywhere I can find it and I run as the administrator.

Worse news is that, protected mode or not, IE just seems to crash or lose function after a while. It's the same IE that runs under Windows XP but it's not nearly as reliable in this environment. Some Google pages don't work – some of the time; other sites randomly fail. Some flash stuff won't image – sometime. Some YouTube won't work – sometime. And worst of all, stuff I'm testing sometimes works and sometimes doesn't.

Restarting Explorer sometimes – usually – solves problems. Rebooting the whole machine makes other problems go away. Browsing with Firefox rather than Explorer avoids the problems although Firefox has no protected mode – but then neither did IE before Vista so that's not really a step back.

It's hard to believe there's not more on the Web when I Google "IE problems and Vista" and like terms. When I talk to other Vista users – there are some – they are also having problems. Maybe people just don't use IE when they use Vista but that seems unlikely. Maybe even fewer people use Vista Business since businesses have been reluctant to take on Vista support; so perhaps I'm more of an early adopter than is comfortable.

In response to my last rant about this, several kind readers sent suggestions; these haven't made the problems go away though.

There's supposed to be Vista service pack arriving automagically any day now. Maybe that'll help. In the meantime, I'd suggest avoiding "upgrading" to Vista.

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