Internet Explorer 10 bug blamed on hybrid graphics

March 4, 2013 // 10:10 a.m.

Tags: #bug #html5 #hybrid-graphics #ie10 #internet-explorer #internet-explorer-10 #nvidia-optimus #windows-7

Microsoft has coughed to an embarrassing issue marring the launch of its next-generation Internet Explorer 10 web browser on the last-generation Windows 7 operating system: it doesn't work properly if you're using hybrid graphics.

Previously a Windows 8 exclusive, Internet Explorer 10 became available for Windows 7 late last week, bringing with it a host of improvements including security and privacy enhancements, better adherence to established web standards like HTML5, and DirectX hardware acceleration for improved performance. It's this latter feature, in fact, that appears to be at the root of an issue that is stopping some laptop users from being able to install the software at all.

Users on certain laptops, all-in-ones and a much smaller number of desktops have reported errors attempting to upgrade to Internet Explorer 10 on Windows 7 with the installer rather confusingly reporting that 'Internet Explorer needs an update before installing' before abandoning the process entirely. Nothing appears to resolve the issue, while similar systems install the software without issue.

The problem, Microsoft has discovered, lies in the software's interaction with hybrid graphics systems. Developed as a means of giving laptop users access to high-performance gaming graphics on demand without sacrificing battery life, hybrid graphics systems - Nvidia's Optimus and AMD's equivalent - allow systems to switch between integrated graphics and a discrete GPU on-the-fly, using the integrated graphics during light-weight processing tasks to conserve battery life and firing up the discrete GPU only when extra performance is required or the device is running from a mains power source.

It's a neat idea, but one which Microsoft had apparently not tested for compatibility issues. According to the company's support statement, users with hybrid graphics in their laptops will find that Internet Explorer 10 simply won't install. Worse, Microsoft is putting the onus on the graphics card makers to resolve the problem.

'This issue occurs because some computers have hybrid video cards that are not yet compatible with Internet Explorer 10 for Windows 7,' Microsoft admits, before going on to brazenly state:-'Internet Explorer 10 will not install on these computers until updated hardware drivers are available for these video cards.' While the company claims to be 'working with device manufacturers to provide updated software to resolve this issue,' the company has not yet provided a release schedule for the hardware drivers or a fixed installer - leaving those who want up-to-date security features in their web browser turning to third-party packages like Opera, Firefox or Chrome.
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