Should I install IE8? What do you think of it?
I installed IE8 and it broke _____ – how do I fix it or revert back
to what I had before?
Yes, you should install IE 8 if you’re on Windows XP and IE 9 if you’re
running Windows Vista or Windows 7.
Both have stabilized to the point where prior versions of Internet Explorer
are simply no longer advisable. In fact, Internet Explorer 9 specifically is a
more compatible and more secure browser overall and deserves serious
Oh, and I’m not saying that you need to ditch your alternative browsers, like
Chrome or Firefox.
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Like it or not, IE is in Windows
– Internet Explorer provides critical components to Windows and many Windows
applications. Even if you use a completely different browser – even if Internet
Explorer doesn’t appear to be on your machine – components of IE are being
This means that it’s important that you keep Internet Explorer up to date,
regardless of whether you use it or not.
Normally, this means simply keeping whatever version you’re using – be it
IE6, 7, 8 or 9 – up to date with patches for that version.
I’m of the opinion that you should proceed directly to the latest version of
Internet Explorer that your operating system supports.
that’s fine – don’t use it – but do upgrade to the latest version
Internet Explorer – by the (version) numbers
IE6: much like Outlook Express that
came out at the same time, use of IE6 is actively being discouraged by not only Microsoft, but
just about any technical advice or support person – including me. It’s old,
it’s not secure, and support for it is being dropped by websites worldwide
(eventually your favorite website may well stop working unless you
IE7 falls into the “OK, if you have to” bucket, but by and
large you don’t have to. I currently know of no compelling reason to
keep IE7 on your machine.
IE8 is the latest and last version of Internet Explorer
available for Windows XP. Particularly if you’re concerned about making Windows
XP last as long as possible, moving to Internet Explorer 8 should be a key
component of that strategy. If you want your computer to remain secure for as
long as possible – presumably through Windows XP’s remaining support lifecycle
– you need the latest version of IE to do so.
IE9 is simply a better browser than any of its predecessors. It’s faster, it’s more secure, and it’s going to be
supported for a longer period of time – I predict a much longer period
It’s not always about what browser you use
Use Chrome? Firefox? Safari? Opera? Something else entirely?
Then you have even less reason not to upgrade Internet
As I said before, IE provides components to other software packages on your
machine besides the browser. If you don’t happen to like IE for whatever
reason, that’s fine – don’t use it – but do upgrade to the latest version
anyway. That way, those components of IE that are being used anyway will be as
functional, as secure and as up to date as possible.
So update IE to the latest, even if you never use it.
But, but … IE8/9 crashes, behaves wired, doesn’t work…
Yep. It happens.
Here’s the catch: nine times out of ten the fault is not with
Or in the case of IE9, perhaps there’s a problem
with it’s hardware acceleration that you need to turn off.
There are many possible reasons that IE might have problems and many of them
Even if using a different browser is one solution.
Just install the latest version of IE and keep it up to date anyway.
Concerned? There is a safety net
Even though most issues are fixable, if you’re concerned at all about having
some kind of unrecoverable error after upgrading to the latest IE, there is a
In fact, it’s a safety net that I hope you already have in place.
If you’re at all concerned, just make sure you have an up-to-date system
image backup, preferably taken just prior to installing the latest IE.
Then, if despite your best efforts at resolving any issues that might arise,
you can always revert.
Stuck with an old version?
As I said, most of IE’s problems of late are not IE at all, but rather other
software on the machine, be it malware, addins, or other software that somehow
If after all is said and done, you find yourself in a situation where you
cannot update to IE8 or IE9, then make sure to do so the next time you perform
a clean install of your system or the next new system you get.
Chances are that it’ll work great at that point.
And you can still elect to use a different browser.
(This is an update to an article originally published
April 3, 2009.)