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Should I upgrade to Internet Explorer 7 or 8?

by Lee Koo (ADMIN) CNET staff/forum admin / June 26, 2009 6:15 AM PDT

Should I upgrade to Internet Explorer 7 or 8?

Currently using Internet Explorer 6 with WIN XP SP 3 Home
edition. I am wondering if I should upgrade to IE 7 or the
new IE 8 version. My PC was custom built about two years ago
with 2GB of RAM, a 3.4GHZ CPU, 160GB hard drive. All is
working well, so I do not plan to upgrade OS or look for a
new PC for a while to come.

I updated XP to SP3 recently, but I did not update to IE 7
because of the problems I had heard about. And I have stayed
with IE rather then another browser as IE is so integrated
with MS OS and other MS software.

Would you recommend upgrading IE to a newer version? What
are the benefits of upgrading to these newer versions? If
upgrading, which version would I be better off with, IE 7 or
IE 8? And what if it doesn't work out, can I easily revert
to IE 6 again? Or should I just forget upgrading all
together and continue to use IE 6? Thank you for your input.

--Submitted by Marty M.

Here are some featured member answers to get you started, but
please read all the advice and suggestions that our
members have contributed to this question.

Yes, definitely upgrade!! --Submitted Grimbles

IE 6 vs. IE 7/8 --Submitted darrenforster99

Upgrading Web browsers --Submitted tehleetage

Should you upgrade to IE 7 OR 8? Absolutely. --Submitted GEO2003

IE 7...Yes, absolutely. IE 8 is more open to debate --Submitted Watzman

If you have an additional tips, recommendations, or experiences to share with Marty and others please click on the reply link to submit it. Please share your experience and opinions freely, but please keep it civil and do not turn this discussion into to bash on Microsoft. Thanks!
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IMHO-IE8 is not ready for general use
by tcantrelln / June 26, 2009 10:52 AM PDT

I don't really think seven is either. They both annoy me to no end with what I've come to call 'Quick redraws' ie: just as a page is nearly loaded they will blank out, and restart from scratch. Even if the page was just open moments ago. The history in the new tabs is frustrating too. They don't seem especially faster and my computer that I consider number one seemm quicker and sweeter with IE6 or Firefox. I first installed IE8 and went back to Six very early on as the 'Stall here-go get some coffee' drove me crazy too. I'd read about repairing IE6 to really clean and slick before installing IE8, tried it again and found it was better but still after weeks and weeks (it seems) I've gone back and set a mental countdown for six months. (BTW our rigs are very similar except I have xp Pro-sp3)

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Second opinion...
by JCitizen / June 27, 2009 5:44 AM PDT

Many of the problems folks are having with IE 8 are because they didn't install it right to begin with, or picked to many services. The later will slow you down unless you have a dual/mult-core or lots of RAM(or both).

Internet Explorer 8 is VERY finicky about what is running during the intallation. If you use hostfiles or BHOs, and tool bars these will have to be disabled or uninstalled to make sure the installation goes smoothly and correctly.

I have many clients running on machines less capable than the machine listed in the question, and they report very good performance, on par with FireFox. Here is my general install suggestion:

1. If you use Spyware Blaster(and you should), disable all protections first.

2. It would probably be a good idea to uninstall all add-ons and toolbars - you can add them back later.

3. You might be able to get away with simply using MSCONFIG run command and disable all anti-virus/anti-malware, and unnecessary services. The easiest way is to look on the general tab and pick selective startup and deselect loading start up items and system services. You can re-enable everything after you are done installing IE8.

4. Be carefull and use the customization option when doing the install; don't just take the express route unless you own a super computer with a lot of power(Vista x64). Don't select too many services that do a lot of communicating with the outside world, and save only the accelerators that you already have onboard. You can always try the accelerators later - one at a time - to make sure they don't slow you down. Much easier that way.

5. If you use Comodo Firewall(and you should) DO NOT RE-ENABLE Defense +!!! You will not be able to boot normally if you do. They have a new version, now that may have fixed this, but quite frankly I think the security features of IE8 practically make this formerly good real-time protection obsolete! If you can get it to work with the new version, however, I would still recommend using it. I haven't had the time to test it on my own laptop yet.

I feel IE 8 is worth the trouble just for the security alone, but you will also like how it makes web-pages load using an HDTV monitor. Any 16:9 ratio monitor will look absolutely fantastic with this new version! My hotmail email service finnally works the way I want it to with IE8 - disability controls work better too - Zoomed web-pages finally display properly now!

Web-page compatibility will not be a problem at all, if you install correctly, if you suspect something is wrong with the page, look up near the refresh control on the right of the address bar and you will see a torn page symbol for non-compliant pages. Clicking on this button invariably solves all problems with compatibility, in fact I think this is called the "compatibility mode" button, if I remember correctly.

I rarely need to click on it though, as most pages seem to load correctly even before I need to use anything like that. Usually I only need it to get login or SSL objects to work properly. If I'm not mistaken IE8 remembers or can be configured to remember that favorite page setting automatically from then on. I've never had to set it though.

I hope this clears things up for a lot of folks because it would be a shame not to take advantage of a lot of the new security enhancements and reliablilty functions on the new browser. I get far fewer page lockups, and crashes than I ever have with it, and if you do get one, only the tab or page that is having the problem crashes not the whole session, like before.

Infact IE8 asks you if you want to restore the original session after it cleans up whatever problem that caused it in the first place!!!

My clients for whatever reason refuse to use FireFox with no-script and with a good blended defense they haven't had to! To each his own, I always say. I must admit though, untill Microsoft gets this cross-scripting vulnerability patched, I'm going with FireFox in the mean time, with no-script fully deployed!!

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Symptoms not disease....
by lanierbrian / July 10, 2009 12:01 PM PDT
In reply to: Second opinion...


I'd like to commend you for making such a thoughtful post which addresses an issue which must be frustrating for so many users. However, the underlying issue is best described between the lines of your post---IE 8 was clearly released before it was ready.

I found myself frustrated by IE 8 after allowing the Windows update, when trying to access a website critical to my job. Luckily I was able to uninstall IE 8 and go back to IE 7.

No product designed for successful consumer use should require the jumping-through-hoops that you described in your post. Are technically savvy folks like us supposed to make house calls to our parents, aunts & uncles, grandparents, etc. every time Microsoft tries to rip off a real innovator like Mozilla? I love my family, and I like to visit them, but on my terms and not Microsoft's.

Thanks again for your thoughtful contribution, I just wish it wasn't necessary.


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Yes, BLL, I agree...
by JCitizen / July 15, 2009 1:45 PM PDT

and MS did the public a great dis-service with this release! I really wonder, though, if they just want to make XP as inconvenient as they can to push people into buying Vista or the Win 7 preview.

They just don't seem to get that this tactic makes folks LESS willing to go with Microsoft, and even MORE willing to try at least a used Apple computer, or new Linux distro.

With Google coming out with their own cloud OS, this will tempt the simple standard users to jump ship even faster!

On my Vista x64 system all I did was disable SpywareBlaster and I completely forgot to disable Norton's BHO and other tools, but it installed like a dream!

Makes you wonder, doesn't it?

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I.E. 8 seems great to me
by lspaiser / July 10, 2009 12:07 PM PDT

I just installed it and it is faster, cleaner, generally a lot more stable and loaded with great plug-ins that really work. It is also much more configuable the I.E. 6.

I'm running it on a Fujitsu laptop running XP Media Edition on an Intel Centrino duo.

My opinion - its about time Microsoft fixed I.E.


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internet 7-8
by hobe / July 11, 2009 3:24 AM PDT

upgrade to internetexplorer 7 do not upgrade to internet ex 8 it will mess up your computer because it is only a beta test.

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Upgrade to I. E. 7 or 8
by summer / June 26, 2009 11:22 AM PDT

sounds like you would be more comfortable downgrading!

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SP3 problems as well...
by JCitizen / June 27, 2009 5:59 AM PDT

A lot of folks have SP3 installed on top of IE7 and this is the problem! You are actually correct in that they need to downgrade before they can upgrade!

IF you put SP3 on top of IE7; you cannot upgrade the browser - you must uninstall SP3 and IE7, then reinstall SP3 and THEN install IE8 to do a proper upgrade.

If SP3 is not your problem, then follow my suggestions near the first post in this discussion, to get IE8 to install properly.

Microsoft blew it again, they just refuse to communicate with the pubic!!

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Cannot update with SP3?
by itsols / July 10, 2009 4:05 PM PDT

Actually I had my system auto-update to sp3 some time back. And a few days ago I auto-upgraded to IE8 without a hitch.

And on top of it all, IE8 in my opinion is the best thing that ever happened to Microsoft in a long time.

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Yes, most folks probably had no problems...
by JCitizen / July 15, 2009 2:59 PM PDT

But everyone of my clients did. They ALL like using AV/AS security utilities and their is always some BHO, Plugin, toolbar, or something like that getting in the way.

I really like IE 8 and am sad that I can't use it now on my Vista x64 system because of a cross-scripting vulnerability with that OS right now. I just can't take chances with my personal ID and credit cards.

So plod along with FF running on NoScript and AdBlock Plus for now.

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Ie 7 or 8
by breade98 / June 26, 2009 11:29 AM PDT

I have found that there are still a few websites are still not compatable with Ie8. I would highly recomend Ie 7 for the advanced security features.

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Downward compatibility
by lspaiser / July 11, 2009 8:19 AM PDT
In reply to: Ie 7 or 8

I am the guy who has so far had a great browser experince using I.E. 8. If you didn't notice it, during installation you can choose to be downward compatible or not. I believe if you do all it will cost you is some speed.


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Staying with IE6
by rimbaud / June 26, 2009 11:45 AM PDT

I'm sticking with IE6 because I have an XP SP3 with IE6 system that is the first Microsoft system that's been working for me, and I don't want to do anything to mess it up. I downloaded Safari, too, and use it when a website asks for a "modern" browser.

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Bad move. Really, really, really bad move.
by Watzman / June 26, 2009 12:07 PM PDT
In reply to: Staying with IE6

Title ("Bad move. Really, really, really bad move.") says it all.

You are putting yourself at EXTREME risk of being a victim of identity theft.

Upgrade to IE 7; IE 8 is more discretionary.

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IE7 versus IE 8 browsers
by Christopher Pritchard / July 15, 2009 8:12 PM PDT

I am sick of all Microsoft browsing products. If you want a blazingly fast browser with all the trimmings use Apple'e "Safari" which beats the socks off all the others

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Developers hate you!
by cmsb1214 / July 10, 2009 2:44 PM PDT
In reply to: Staying with IE6

Not only are you putting yourself at a huge risk with IE6, you (and anyone else who has IE6 installed) are causing huge problems for web developers. IE6 is a terrible browser when it comes to web standards (and anything else, really) and is probably the single most hated browser web developers have to deal with. If nothing else, do them a favor and upgrade to IE7 or 8.

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Totally agree
by Silr J / July 12, 2009 10:27 AM PDT
In reply to: Developers hate you!

Please, for the sake of the internet, upgrade to 7 or 8. Even better choice, use Firefox. Us developers have to spend time trying to adjust their sites to be usable in IE6 than making more useful and interesting things for end users. You are holding the internet back.

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Dreaded IE6
by mindpower / July 10, 2009 6:09 PM PDT
In reply to: Staying with IE6

As a developer I'd like to back up cmsb1214's post and say, I hate you for using IE6. When we develop websites us much as half of our time is spent adding nasty workarounds into web code to make them work with IE6 because it only obeys around 17% of web standards. The longer you use IE6 the longer you are prolonging our pain and costing companies money because they have to waste time and resources on these IE6 fixes.

Please, do everyone a favour and switch to a browser that is standards compliant. (FYI IE7 is not much better as it still only obeys less than 60% of web standards)

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60 vs. 17
by Wired4Fun / July 11, 2009 11:53 AM PDT
In reply to: Dreaded IE6

Quote: "As a developer I'd like to back up cmsb1214's post and say, I hate you for using IE6....... Please, do everyone a favour and switch to a browser that is standards compliant. (FYI IE7 is not much better as it still only obeys less than 60% of web standards)"

While you are likely a whiz on computers, your math skills could use some work..... 60% is substantially more than 17%. Just a thought...

I'll stick with IE6 until there is no support for it; at that point, then I can hate you Wink

Till then, I find IE7 and IE 8 bothersome.

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You don't have to mess up your system
by Silr J / July 12, 2009 10:29 AM PDT
In reply to: Staying with IE6

Why not always use Safari?
As I said before:
Please, for the sake of the internet, upgrade to 7 or 8 or just always use Safari/Firefox/Chrome. Us web developers have to spend time trying to adjust their sites to be usable in IE6 than making more useful and interesting things for end users. You are holding the internet back.

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IE 6 or IE7 or IE8 ?
by styan1 / June 26, 2009 11:47 AM PDT

Anxiously awaiting replies to the posting: Should I upgrade to Internet Explorer 7 or 8?

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Win7 with IE8 against FireFox 3.5
by mlf1142 / July 10, 2009 3:28 PM PDT
In reply to: IE 6 or IE7 or IE8 ?

After doing the RC version of Win7 which included IE8, I added FireFox 3.5 in the pot and came up with the winner:

FireFox wins hands down.

In my XP laptop,I still use IE6 and won't upgrade to either 7 nor 8. Even 6 beings to show problems that 7 and 8 continues with. But, unforunately some sites are not recommending the browser upgrade to function better.

Go either FireFox 3.5, or head to Google Chrome.

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IE 8 , Firefox 3.5, Safari, or Google Chrome?
by nick8788 / July 10, 2009 7:10 PM PDT

There is a large debate on if you should upgrade to IE7 or IE8, but I suggest neither. If you are going to pick a browser you should pick Mozilla Firefox. It runs well and if you want a fast, safe browser Firefox is very much for you. If you are thinking neither of those don't go with Safari, go with Google Chrome. Safari is a cheap ripoff of Mozilla Firefox. Apple tries to make it look advanced by putting up a 3-D start up page,but it runs slower than Firefox and with some pages IE7 and IE8. I have not tried Google Chrome,but I've heard that Firefox is better. If you are playing browser based games, running media in your browser, or you just want safe downloading, and web surfing, Mozilla Firefox is best for you.

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Go With Firefox or Chrome
by leocyfer / July 11, 2009 5:05 PM PDT

I don't use MS browsers for anything and have not since around 2003 when the 1st beta of FireFox came out. Security is the prime reason, but also I'm so sick of looking at "MS Gray" for everything. While it may seem insignificant, the ability to change Themes, (or Skins if you prefer), in FireFox has been an attractive selling point. There are hundreds of other add-ons and extensions that make FireFox very customizable.
Add this to an already secure browser and you have, IMO the best browser package.

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Forget IE completely
by ribbie149 / July 11, 2009 2:05 AM PDT
In reply to: IE 6 or IE7 or IE8 ?

I would suggest that everyone give the Google Chrome browser a try. It loads MUCH faster and is well on its way to being the browser of choice for PC users.

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by Acaykath / June 26, 2009 11:50 AM PDT

A higher version is usually better, though that is not always the case.

In the case of Windows and Internet Explorer, every update adds important security features and fixes bugs in order to protect your computer.

For internet explorer, there are rare instances (single digit percentages) where conflicts or simply an odd configuration may cause problems, making it impossible for you to upgrade. Because of this it is recommended that you back up your computer and make a system restore point before you do the upgrade, just to make sure that you have your bases covered should there be a problem.

In most cases there are no problems, and there are always many benifits, so upgrade all the way, but be careful about it.

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Don't listen to MS system requirements...
by JCitizen / June 27, 2009 6:06 AM PDT
In reply to: Upgrading

You need at least a 1.5 to 2 Ghz processor and one Gb of RAM to even consider using IE8.

My old 750 Mhz DELL with 786Mbs of RAM(maxed out) cannot even begin to run IE8. I had to "downgrade" back to IE7 on that one.

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7? OK. 8? Might wait
by edbrady / June 26, 2009 11:51 AM PDT

I've installed IE8 on two separate computers and immediately ran into major problems. Things don't work, or don't work poperly. Since two separate computers were involved, the issues were not the same with them.

IE7 runs very well on both computers, so I've removed IE8 from both, and things are "humming" along again.

I suppose it depends on the various software programs you have installed on your computer.

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7? OK. 8? Might wait
by yursugarmyspice / June 26, 2009 12:36 PM PDT
In reply to: 7? OK. 8? Might wait

The reason why you are having the problems is because all your updates and service packs are not completely installed. IE 8 should not give you any problems at all if everything is installed properly.

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by Lester Salings / July 10, 2009 4:01 PM PDT
In reply to: 7? OK. 8? Might wait

I have a BRAND NEW PC & when I load 8, everything mess's up! It slows down my computer & takes ForEver to load a page! I don't think they have it right yet, so I'm gonna stick to my, perfectly working, IE7! At least untill they work the bugs outta #8! I have also heard a lot of other users that have trouble with 8 too! I have noticed several of my collegues have had trouble with 8 too!

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