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Doug's Mailbag: IE 8, Windows 7 Misgivings

If you've run into some problems after upgrading to IE 8, you're not alone:

I've been an IE user for as long as I can remember. I faithfully upgraded to IE 8 when it was pushed out. However, I got very frustrated at how you cannot move around the toolbars anymore, to have more than one type of toolbar per row, so there is all this lost vertical screen space. I searched for answers, but I only found long lists of people mad about the same problem, and no response from Microsoft about why they would remove the ability to customize the size and location of the toolbars.

My answer? After years of people telling me I should check it out, I finally installed and tested Mozilla Firefox. I love it. I found some extremely cool plug-ins, and I don't know how I ever lived without them now! I doubt I will ever use IE again. All because of Microsoft's downgrade of the toolbar customization, and not listening to their users.


I have two home systems running Vista Home Premium, a desktop and a laptop. I have repeatedly attempted to upgrade from IE 7 to IE 8 on the laptop, and every time I've needed to rollback the change. The problem? IE 8 loses all connectivity to the Internet. I've researched the related Microsoft articles, bulletin boards, blogs, etc. to no avail. I also separately tried to apply the IE 7 consolidated update and it also results in a completely broken IE app. The closest approximation of the issue seems to be a known issue with Small Business Internet Servers. I don't want to try the manual registry fix that that issue calls out. Have you heard of these issues?

I've triple-checked everything -- WINS, DHCP, firewall (physical and soft), IE settings, etc. Wireless connection is fine as is local network connectivity. What is broken is the ability to access Web sites. It appears that I'm getting serious packet timeouts based on tracert results to large sites such as Google and Microsoft. Here's another funny thing: I never lose ability to connect/download from the MS upgrade site! But a simple rollback of the update back to IE 7, and I can once again connect to Web sites. I ended up installing Firefox (it seems that Chrome also would not install). This is extremely frustrating.

And one reader sees no choice but to upgrade to Windows 7 -- and not for the right reasons:

I am not convinced that I need to upgrade to a fatter, lazier operating system to work. Windows 7 is a better try than Vista, but we didn't need that one either. If the only bottom line that gets tended is Microsoft's and that of the hardware vendors that will provide the four cores and 6GB of RAM the new system needs, we should rethink our paradigm.

We will go to Windows 7 but not because of the superiority of the product. We will go to it because the vendor will force us to. Managers who are still trying to grasp the last technology deluge will jump on the bandwagon driven by tech mavens and salesmen who can't do real work. And when we are done, we will pat ourselves on the back for the fine job we did upgrading to a version of software we don't need, with money that could have been applied to producing something.

Share your thoughts with us! Write a comment below or send an e-mail to

Posted by Doug Barney on 06/19/2009 at 1:16 PM


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