Upgrade! Don’t upgrade¡

With apologies to the Grateful Dead, anyone that’s been around IT for a while knows
“… what a long, strange trip it’s been”.

Yes, I’m talking about the browser best known for it’s use in downloading other browsers, Internet Explorer.

Microsoft keeps pushing that everyone needs to upgrade to the latest version, and there’s a lot of good reasons for that, mostly security focused. I can’t personally remember cleaning up after a virus infection that wasn’t through IE.

Not saying that MS makes it easy to upgrade anymore. I remember the days when you could download an executable file and upgrade computers without an internet connection to your hearts content. Today you have to find your way to Microsoft’s Download Center and then try and find what you’re looking for there, unless you’d like to take your chances with Googling for an IE installer. (Please don’t!)

It’s not too bad, to be honest, especially if you’re only worried about your home system. But what about when it’s a work computer, and a site you rely on requires a certain version of IE?

That’s when you wish you hadn’t upgraded, or had multiple computers, or unlimited virtual machines.

My latest calamity on this front is with that bastion of cutting edge technology, the U.S. Government, in the form of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. Their electronic forms site lets you know that only IE and Safari are supported, but not IE after version 8. Or Firefox, or Chrome.

What to do if all you have is a current, supported version?

First, try Compatibility View, found under the Tools menu. This worked for me on this and other occasions. If you’re a home user, this is the simplest fix.

If you’re working in a domain environment, you may want to look at Enterprise Mode for Internet Explorer. I haven’t looked into this much yet, but it’s definitely on my radar.


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