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Doug's Mailbag: IE 8 Solutions, More

Doug listed his questions about IE 8 last week and asked for your help troubleshooting. Readers wrote in with solutions for how to open links in new tabs:

If you click the center mouse button (scroll wheel) on a link in IE 8, it opens in a new tab. The same applies to Firefox. Links that don't show the option of opening in a new tab with a right click still open in a new tab with a center click. The center click also opens in new tabs on my Yahoo page in Chrome, but not my Gmail page. The center click works in some sites on Safari, but not others.
-Earl

...how to set IE 8 as the default browser:

If you open Control Panel, Add or Remove Programs, select Set Program Access and Defaults. Expand the Custom double-headed down arrow. Under Choose a default Web browser, select IE (if you must). You can also disable the access to other browsers if you feel so inclined.
-Peter

For setting your default browser, in IE 8 go to Tools, Internet Options and click on the Programs tab. There's a button there to make IE your default browser.
-Michael

...how to quickly copy and paste links:

I have the habit, learned years ago with Netscape, of using CTRL-L to bring up the open URL dialog box, or to activate the address bar in Firefox. It's worked throughout the years in IE as well, but with IE 8, more often than not it doesn't. I either have to use CTRL-O or the File > Open menu item. Not a horrific bug, but annoying after years of habit-reinforcing behavior.
-Greg

...and how to scroll using the arrow keys and not the scroll bar:

From my experience, you have to have the browser on focus, and yes the area of the page also has to be in focus. If the page load area is not in focus, there is no way the browser can know that you want to scroll that area. If the page has pop-ups, for exemple, the pop-ups opening causes you to lose focus on the main area. Close the pop-up, and you still don't have focus on the area.

Maybe Firefox just had a diferent approach to this problem by saying, well, if this window is in focus, then the page area is in focus, as well, but I wonder how that would work in all situations.
-Mateus

But a couple of readers had even more IE 8 problems to report:

The problem I have with IE 8 is at the HP business store. The text shows up in 4-point and I haven't found a way to make it bigger. It opens just fine in Firefox or IE 7.
-Michael

I've had nothing but problems with IE 8. I contacted the IE 8 team with my bug list and got mixed results. The biggest bug is that on some sites, particularly where you are allowed to enter rich text, the interface only catches around every other letter I type. I've gotten in the habit now of opening Notepad, typing my info and then pasting it into the Web form. This happens on Facebook and internal SharePoint sites most often. When the tech team contacted me about this bug, they had me launch IE 8 without add-ins (there was a command line they had me type that I'd have to look up again). That worked, but I'm not going to launch my browser without add-ins because so much of the interface IS an add-in these days. By the way, I had not installed any add-ins that did not specifically already come with IE 8.

I've found many pages that crashed my browser without fail. When I pointed them out, the tech team said something must be wrong with my system because they couldn't reproduce the problem. I ended up installing the latest version of IE 8 last week and have not had that problem since. When a crash does happen, or a page goes out of control and you try to stop it, it is nice that you can go to Task Manager and shut down just that one tab. I sort by which process is using the most memory and shut that one down. Problem though: sometimes IE interprets that as a failure and instantly tries to open a new tab and take you back to that page. The page spins out of control again, repeat, repeat, repeat. You eventually have to shut down all IE instances and start over.

I started using Firefox again because of these issues. In my opinion, WORST product launch ever! I'd like to talk to the person who approved the release!
-Anonymous

At least Joe doesn't seem to have had the same Windows 7 problems as Doug:

You asked, "Why doesn't Firefox support Flash on Windows 7 yet?" Um, I don't know -- did you try asking Mozilla or Adobe? "Why does my Internet connection and VPN die every time the machine goes to sleep?" You have crap hardware. "Why does Windows 7 still crash once or twice a day?" See previous. "Why can't I install a printer driver for an HP LaserJet 1000?" See previous and the one before that.

Seriously, I have been running Windows 7 since early betas and don't have the issues you have. You've got other problems, my friend. Maybe your Mac kids are sabotaging your hardware.
-Joe

Next time, readers offer their Office 2007 tips and thoughts on DirectX/ActiveX security. Want to share your thoughts? Leave a comment below or send an e-mail to dbarney@redmondmag.com.

Posted by Doug Barney on 07/20/2009 at 1:16 PM


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