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Why is a website telling me I need IE8 when I already run IE8?

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Lately, when I visit a new website (new to me anyway), I get a message that says that this website does not work well with IE7 and telling me to upgrade. But I already have IE8 so why do they not know this? IE8 is the newest browser I can use with Windows XP and I have no desire to change to any other operating system. Is there a way to stop such messages? How?

It’s frustrating when this happens. I’ve occasionally experienced it as well.

The issue here is that it’s typically not an issue that’s in our control. It’s usually the website’s fault.

So, what to do? I only have a few suggestions here.

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It’s the website’s fault

First, if the website that you’re on is telling you that you need IE8 when you’re already running IE8 and you’re not playing any games trying to trick the website somehow (which I imagine is unlikely in a situation like this), then… it’s not your fault. It’s the website’s fault. They’re misidentifying the browser that you are using.

Hit Refresh

Internet Explorer's Compatibility View

Now, when that happens, one thing that I would have you do first is hit Refresh. In other words, hit the F5 key on your keyboard to reload the page immediately. Internet Explorer will sometimes then switch into what it calls Compatibility Mode and that may allow the page to be fetched differently (I’m honestly not sure).

Try a different browser

It’s also possible that the website is detecting the version of Internet Explorer incorrectly. In this case, it’s not your issue or Internet Explorer’s issue; it’s simply the website that you’re visiting that’s misidentifying the browser.

In this case, the best approach may very well be to just forget about Internet Explorer completely. Go download a copy of Chrome or Firefox; install one of those (either one will do) and use that as your browser. That completely bypasses this issue because most of the sites will then bypass all of the Internet Explorer version checking shenanigans and work just fine.

My bottom line recommendation: switch browsers. The problem will just go away. I run Chrome for most things, and I’ve not seen this problem since I switched.

2 comments on “Why is a website telling me I need IE8 when I already run IE8?”

  1. I have a similar problem with Flash Player. “You need the latest version of Flash Player…” which I have. I keep it updated and I check daily. I know about the security risks with Flash but I run my browser in Sandboxie.

    • Are you sure that the “you need the latest version of flash” messages are real?

      By that, I mean that it’s not uncommon for “the bad guys” to put messages like that on websites, in e-mails, wherever, in the hopes that you’ll click the link, which takes you not to Adobe, but to their own site, where they’ll try to get to to install a trojan and infect your system.

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