Windows Update broken in IE 8

Windows Update broken in IE 8

IE 8 users are finding Windows Update won't work unless they force IE 7 compatibility mode.

If you're currently trying the Internet Explorer 8 public beta, you're probably suffering through a large quantity of bugs right about now. Although it's to be remembered that a beta is by its very nature imperfect, there are some glaring errors that Microsoft needs to sort out pronto.

Perhaps the most incredible is the fact that when the IE team launched the public beta nobody saw fit to tell the Windows Update team. If you're running IE 8 and head on over to Windows Update, you'll be told in no uncertain terms that WU only works with Internet Explorer version 5 and above and that you should razz off and install a better browser.

Presumably Microsoft is planning to update the site to accommodate the new version of the browser in before the official release, but for now the only way to update your system on demand is to switch IE 8 into “Emulate IE7” mode.

Speaking of which, the beta doesn't seem to have the seamless switching we all expected from the in-built compatibility layer. Although it's possible to switch the browser from the new strict-rendering mode to a more relaxed system for compatibility with pages designed with older Internet Explorers in mind, doing so necessitates a restart of the browser. As the plan is to have sites request IE 7 mode via a tag embedded in the site, if the team doesn't get it working invisibly then the whole system is worthless: we'll just see people switching to “Emulate IE7” mode and leaving it there.

The remainder of the issues testers are experiencing – random crashes, garbled rendering – are to be expected from a version of Internet Explorer which is so far in advance of all prior releases that it's pretty much an entirely new browser. That said, although it's easy to overlook problems accessing the advanced features of Facebook and Gmail the fact that Windows Live Mail suffers problems is a trifle more disheartening.

Still, the new release is definitely a step in the right direction for a company which has been steadily losing ground to young upstarts.

Anybody having any interesting issues with the beta, or are you all waiting for the final release to see if Microsoft can tempt you back from your third-party browser? Share your experiences over in the forums.


Discuss in the forums Reply
Skill3d 10th March 2008, 08:14 Quote
why am I not surprised when I read this...
Naberius 10th March 2008, 08:14 Quote
Do you think there was maybe a bit of pressure applied to release a beta after mozilla released their latest for Firefox 3..
HourBeforeDawn 10th March 2008, 08:16 Quote
probably but to be honest Im not liking the new FF3 but it will probably get better once its actually released,
[USRF]Obiwan 10th March 2008, 08:35 Quote
I just read that IE5.5 passes the Acid3 test better then all current and comming browsers. And that is really funy!
TreeDude 10th March 2008, 12:34 Quote
I have been using the beta 2 of FF3 since its release. The first beta crashed quite a few times on me. The second has been rock solid though. I have not experienced any issues. I love that remember passwords pops up at the top and you can save tabs on close. The quick bookmark I have not really used though. I am just not used to it.

I'll grab IE8 on it's official release, I am not going to waste my time beta testing it though.
Redbeaver 10th March 2008, 13:17 Quote
i use IE7. no complaints. everything works. ill use Firefox when i need to test sth with different browsers.

3~4 years ago i said the same thing about IE6. i can see myself saying the same thing on IE8 next year or sometime in the future.
Sebbo 10th March 2008, 14:05 Quote
installed the IE8 beta, found myself always running it in IE7 mode so things will actually load or render properly. hotmail (or windows live mail as its now called i think) fails to load, and i've noticed google maps renders over the bar on the left-hand side. i really only use IE for hotmail, since i use Windows Live Messenger (aka MSN). other than that i use firebadger...haven't tried the FF3 beta, probably won't touch FF3 until it reaches release stage
GoodBytes 10th March 2008, 15:43 Quote
This problem is only for WinXP users! Vista has it's own update system.
ssj12 10th March 2008, 18:47 Quote
Can XP users just get SP3 already? I'm happy with FireFox 3 thank you.
Woodstock 10th March 2008, 18:50 Quote
firefox 3 beta 3 user here, and loving it
Mentai 11th March 2008, 07:33 Quote
I've had no problems with FF3 beta, except I think it may be slightly more greedy with the cpu with a large number of tabs open than previous versions. Or a I just need a reformat xD
AcidJiles 11th March 2008, 07:41 Quote
im so shocked
DaveG38 12th June 2008, 16:32 Quote
Installed IE8 last night. I haven't had any rendering problems (yet), but, I did have to use Emulate IE7 mode to access my hotmail account this morning. Incredible (although not entirely unexpected I suppose) that MS's own sites won't work with their new browser. Oh well, it's a beta. :)
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