Test Your Courage With Internet Explorer 7.0

February 2007, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

by Jeff Smelley - Also by this author

In a rush to be on the leading edge of technology, many of us embrace the latest and greatest of software and hardware offerings.  Remember the long lines of people waiting hours and days for the new Playstation 3 game systems just before Christmas.  If you want to add some real excitement to your life, upgrade your Internet browser to the latest version of Internet Explorer – IE 7.0.  You may get an even bigger surprise if you rely on Microsoft Automatic Updates to keep your system up to date.
Microsoft has added some nice features to IE 7.0, for example, tabbed Web pages, cleaner customizable tool bars, thumbnail views of your open Web pages and additional security features.  However, as usual when Microsoft releases a product upgrade, things are not where they once were, so you will spend some time trying to find items that have been moved.  I found no clear, concise information on new or relocated features to help the learning curve on IE 7.0. Although I experienced the normal trial and error of searching this phase of deployment was not overly painful.  Most users will probably find this part of the upgrade experience less than pleasant but not onerous. The real “excitement” begins when you move on to your daily work.

During the last few weeks, clients have called with some very interesting problems with many of their applications which ultimately seem to have been caused by IE 7.0.  The problems reported span a wide spectrum, most of which have little or nothing to do with Internet access.  Users have experienced programs that simply stop working and recurrent prompting regarding security on programs they regularly use and trust, while others have experienced the “blue screen of death” that gives such useful information as, “Your program has experienced a problem.”  In each of these cases, the problem was originally assumed to be a virus, but after testing, no virus was found.  Next we checked Microsoft’s Web site for similar reported problems, only to find no useful information.  Exploring IE 7.0 and Microsoft Security settings yielded no results, yet miraculously in each case the problems disappeared upon removal of IE 7.0. 

Normally when troubleshooting computing problems, a clear cause and effect can be found, but on occasion, a solution is found without identifying any clearly traceable origin.  In such cases, we draw an anecdotal conclusion as to the source of the problem without the ability to tell specifically why the problem occurred, nor why the solution works.  This seems to be the case with Internet Explorer 7.0. 

So, do you update to IE 7.0 or not? If not, what are your options?  Your first option is to stay where you are until some of the upgrade issues are worked out.  You can choose to change to a different browser such as Netscape, Firefox or others, or you can upgrade to IE 7.0 now, deal with any issues and be done with it.  In all three cases, I recommend turning on Windows System Restore feature.  System Restore is a feature in Windows which tracks software installations and updates allowing you to revert back to a previous state before changes were made. Then, should you experience a problem, you can undo any changes and get on with your regular work. 

To activate System Restore, click on Control Panel, then click on the System icon and select the System Restore tab. Uncheck the “Turn off System Restore” box and allocate the maximum disk space allowable for System Restore.  You now have a recovery path if you experience difficulty and are prepared to choose your course of action.  I wish you luck with your choice, whichever option you choose.

Vol 4, Issue 1

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