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Microsoft Internet Explorer 8 install is broken

Microsoft Internet Explorer 8 is being pushed out as part of the normal automatic Windows security updates, but in many cases the browser stops working after the update. Mark Kaelin has some suggestions.

Microsoft Internet Explorer 8 has been released and is now being rolled out as part of the normal automatic Windows security update process. Unfortunately for many, the installation of IE8 has actually broken the browser and made it useless. My younger brother called me this morning with this problem, and I asked him to come to the office so I can get a firsthand look.

He has a Gateway notebook that is about two years running Windows XP.

Problem

This mysterious problem of IE8 not working has been echoed by several TechRepublic members to me in private messages and in the Community Forums. I have not pinned down the exact cause, but in my brother's situation, the problem was frustrating on several levels.

First, the symptoms of this problem don't allow for much troubleshooting analysis. Internet Explorer 8 starts as if everything is fine until it tries to load a Web page. At that point it freezes into a continuous connecting mode and stops responding to commands. There is no error code or other indication of how to correct or proceed.

The second frustrating problem involves the Control Panel | Add Remove Programs applet. The installation of IE8 on my brother's PC apparently did not progress enough to actually be listed in the tool to be removed or uninstalled.

Solution

There were two choices at this point: forget Internet Explorer and use Mozilla Firefox exclusively or uninstall IE8 and return to Internet Explorer 7.

For the sake of knowledge and this blog, we opted for choice number two, but my guess is that most will opt for Firefox, and I can't say that I blame them at this point.

However, for our purposes, here is how we had to proceed.

The first thing I had to do was get the installation file for the Windows XP version of Internet Explorer 8. Once that was downloaded, I reinstalled it to the Gateway notebook. The process involved about 30 minutes and two restarts to complete.

My hope was that this process would install a working Internet Explorer 8. It did not. IE8 behaved the same as before: it would not load a Web page and stopped responding to commands. However, the most important thing was accomplished because Internet Explorer 8 was now on the list of Add Remove Programs in the Control Panel.

I used that entry to uninstall IE8 and return Internet Explorer to the previous version. A few minutes and a reboot later, IE7 was back and running as expected.

Your experience

This has been my experience, or at least that of my brother's, but I am wondering what your experience has been. I don't know if this is confined to Windows XP or if there is some other factor involved. I only know that this is certainly not the user experience Microsoft was looking for.

On my own personal computers, I have upgraded my notebook running Vista to Internet Explorer 8 without any problems at all. But I have not taken the chance on another PC yet. In addition to my brother's story, I have had several reports of IE8 not working at all after installation, which gives me pause.

What about you? Did you get a bad Internet Explorer 8 install? How did you fix the problem? Did you go back to IE7? Did you just drop Internet Explorer and make Firefox your default browser? Let us know what is going on out in the real world.

About

Mark Kaelin is a CBS Interactive Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He is the host for the Microsoft Windows and Office blog, the Google in the Enterprise blog, the Five Apps blog and the Big Data Analytics blog.

220 comments
JCitizen
JCitizen

installation. But I don't have any silly toolbars and I disabled SpywareBlaster and AdAware just before doing it. I'd swear it loads faster now and the surfing is lightning fast. It even fixed my Zoom functions, and irregular hotmail display problems. So far it makes things on the internet really shine on my 61" Samsung monitor!

lonelie
lonelie

I installed ie8 on my xp few weeks ago, it works fine, so i decided to install ie8 onto my laptop today. My laptop runs Vista Business, and through the auto update notification thingy I updated my ie7 to ie8, then here comes the problem. My Laptop wont be able to connect to the internet at all, and my share folder for vista > mac wont work too! At first I thought it was only the router, but then my Mac could wireless connect to internet, and same to my xp, no problems with internet at all!! So I figured it must be Laptop's ie8 is messing up, I uninstalled it and it goes back to ie7, now its back to normal (like before).

coveycraig
coveycraig

I tested IE8 on a variety of computers and platforms from XP SP3 to Vista to Server 2000 & 2003, etc. The ONLY platform that didn't experience some sort of problem was Vista. On the others, errors ran from missing various graphics (which show fine in IE7 and Firefox), to incomplete installations with no removal capabilities, to an inability to access internet options, etc. On a Server 2003 machine, we had to reinstall the server from scratch because the registry was thoroughly corrupted during the IE 8 install. This browser needs a LOT of work.

michaelhickey60
michaelhickey60

iE 8 still working fine ; no gliches , hangs or freeze ups . Multiple tabs & windows open simultaneously on spanned monitors. Used every day for the last couple of weeks . Win Xp Pro platform , p4 Pc.

miwanr
miwanr

I downloaded the installation file and install it in offline mode. The install process was succeed and the only problem is there is no text on menu "Page, Safety, Tools etc", overall it is functional.

emcbridea
emcbridea

I installed it on a Notebook running XP SP2 connected to Windows Server 2003 network. IE8 worked fine but from then on whenever the user wanted to access mapped documents folders etc, explorer would crash. I had to uninstall IE8 to allow the user back into her documents. I think we might go for Opera next.

dfarrich
dfarrich

On one machine, my IE-7 took a dump doing something similar to what you described and the fix was to upgrade to IE-8... Go figure. I didn't care for a lot of the default settings - too much junk. All I want is a reliable browser - not IM, Chat, who knows what else bellies IE and all that crap. Firefox does look inviting.

dforce777
dforce777

is anyone else getting the aol tool bar error when starting IE ? and how do I get rid of it

rgoeken1
rgoeken1

Well, I am glad I read this blog. I am running XP 64-bit. It wouldn't install in 64-bit or 32-bit---just complained that it wouldn't work on the operating system. I think that I'll wait a while.

edenoun
edenoun

I've had a similar problem. I installed IE8 Beta when it first came out and never had a problem. It worked well and fast. Then I was notified when IE8 came out and installed it. In the three weeks that followed, several things happened: 1) Computer froze on four occasions and had to give it a hard boot because IE8 when it freezes will not allow Task Manager to function. 2) IE8 miraculously uninstalled ITSELF! on 3 separate occasions and reverted back to IE7 after running updates (Mr. Spock- you were always right!) 3) IE8 is NOT better than IE7- it's slower. And, I'm NOT a computer novice; I've been using PCs since 1993. By the way, for those of you who are thinking of Firefox- go ahead. No problem if you're not a webmaster or you don't have your own wensite. But, just to let you know there are many websites that will not display properly with that browser. So, if you are a webmaster, you'll be forced to work with IE, otherwise you will not be able to tweak your pages for Firefox users. Solution? Go back to IE7.

ksbordoloi
ksbordoloi

I installed IE8 in my computer with XP prof. and it is working as good as IE7 with no problems atall.

Nils5906
Nils5906

Well, it installed fine but does not seem compatible with at least several versions of Intuit Quick Books or TurboTax. I had to return to IE7.

Teako
Teako

I have installed IE on three XP (two desktops(Dell and Gateway) and one notebook(Gateway)) and two Vista Home Premium (one desktop(Dell) and and one notebook(HP)). All of them have fully updated OSs and application software for Windows, Office 2000/2003/2007, drivers, and other application. All of them are using aVast anti-virus software with Threatfire. I have not encountered a single problem or noticeable performance problem to date.

vmorin
vmorin

I did the same as the author. It worked fine for an afternoon, then I turned the computer off and when I came back it would not load a WEB Page. It actually erased the IPs of my Satalite link so I had to bring the computer to work so I could use 2 computers to download IE7 to do a re install. All of IE8 is never totally removed, I have done 6 Restores to try to get rid of IE8 and I am still having problems with connecting and loading my favorites. This was done on a Dell laptop with XP. I have backed everything up so I am now looking at doing a total recovery.

acaaleks
acaaleks

When I went to the microsoft site to download IE8 I ended up getting a virus from this site.This was around March25.Luckily my continuous scan antivirus pgm. F-Secure caught it.I had to 1st quarantine it,then I was able to delete the virus from my laptop.I haven't had any problems with IE8 since then,but I rarely use it as my default browser is Firefox.

snroyvskp
snroyvskp

I have been using IE8 since Beta 1. Honestly, there have not been many problems other than, say, 2-3 pages out of a 60-odd visited everyday, which don't seem to load. Mostly, I clear out the prefetch, the history and the temp directories, and it seems to be working ok after that. Meaning even those which did not load earlier would load without a hitch. By the way, my system is Winodws XP PRO with SP3 loaded since November 2008.

StephenInScotland
StephenInScotland

I am willing to bet this a Vista vs XP issue. Why - because IE7 is also broken but only if you are working with VB6 as well. Here is some stuff i found out.

tekwar007
tekwar007

So far, I have successfully installed it on three XP machines and one Vista machine with absolutley no errors/hang-ups, etc. No problems encountered at all.

jim.prescott
jim.prescott

I to had problems installing on XP pro sp3 machine. IE8 worked fine until I tried opening a link in an email message. It then opened two IE8 Windows one with my home page properly displayed the other blank just showing connecting and nothing happened. Funny I could close that IE8 window click on link again as long as Home page WIndow still open and the ling opened fine in new tab. Microsoft support blamed it on Spyware doctor and superantispyware unistalled both and IE8 reinstalled IE8 worked fine so thought they were on to something. Reinstalled SD and Superantispyware and everything is still working fine.

MICHELNEY
MICHELNEY

!E8 was not broken, it just did not install at all. I followed the Microsoft problem guide that appeared, but this did not solve anything. Fortunatly I had taken an Acronis disk image bofore trying the install, so was able to revert to my previous IE7 situation Michel

BizIntelligence
BizIntelligence

I installed IE 8 on two computers in my company a week ago they are working fine so far. Though I am not a fan of IE and do not use it much but still I think it is better than previous versions.

raymuhs
raymuhs

keeps saying has a problem has to close stay with IE7

sykandtyed
sykandtyed

IE could not display this page. Offers 2 solutions neither of which are informative. One offers to search for cause comes up empty. Other is the usual refresh.

Cantexan
Cantexan

Indentical probem with 32 bit Vista Business; however, was in control panel and uninstalled back to 7. Had identical problem with IE 8 Beta!

honeylove810
honeylove810

I tried IE 8 Beta and had the same problem, I was able to uninstall but now IE 7 acts flaky as well, I've been using Firefox exclusively for the past 3 months.

ibm_mf_pro_4hire
ibm_mf_pro_4hire

I normally WAIT a while to give Microsoft a chance to fix all the bugs... "Obviously" I did not wait long enough... I ASSumed that since I was getting the "Yahoo enhanced" version that it had been "blessed" by Yahoo as being O.K. WRONG!!! Clicking to look at a job in a job alert email caused it to "freeze" -- and then a pop-up saying "SORRY" we have to close.

jerzzat
jerzzat

My experience was similar, with bad results. the browser would shut itself down when trying to access certain websites. I was also unable to open any e-mails in my Hotmail account. I used Revo Uninstall (free from download.com) to remove it. The Revo program also removes any leftovers from the registry. You can see all leftover registry items before deciding to delete some or all of them. Revo is great! It loads faster than Add/Remove Programs, and is more efficient. My install seemed like only an update. I expected to need to re-install IE-7, but it was not necessary. My old browser is working perfectly after only removing IE-8.

rflorkesr
rflorkesr

My problem is that when you open IE8 from a favorites url it opens in a small window and has to be resized, and no way that I know of to fix it...

Jaytmoon
Jaytmoon

Tried it when it was first offerd thru MSN.com. It installed ok but after one update it "broke" and would not open many sites. Back to FF and IE7!

bilk24
bilk24

It installed ok on my 4 year old Dell XPS running Windows XP Pro with SP-3. I then had the problems mentioned in your article but on the next day found an option somewhere on the browser's page to click to revert back to IE-7. Clicked it and went back safely and quickly with no further problems. Jim Bilk 24

hasanatkhan
hasanatkhan

Same problem. Strangely IE8 RC1 had installed OK earlier. I even tried installation under clean boot. No luck. Gone back to Firefox

john3347
john3347

I have been experiencing different symptoms, albeit totally unsatisfactory performance of IE 8 as included in Windows 7 beta. I am experiencing NUMEROUS 404 errors and screen freezes. I can close IE and open Firefox and go to the troublesome website normally and then switch back to IE and receive another 404 error. I assume from this behavior, that the whole problem is with IE.

danilo_supertramp
danilo_supertramp

Try to download IE8 for Windows XP manually from the Microsoft website. I tried it at two different computers and I couldn't any problem.

Thumper1
Thumper1

I used the beta version of IE8 for months when it was released, and for the most part it worked great. I was exicted about the release version but have been somewhat disappointed with it. I did about ten or so installs of IE8 release version on various systesm. I had install problems on two. I had to uninstall SP3 to get the previous version back, then re-install SP3, A PIA, but at least I fixed the systems. My real issues with IE8 are the crashes. For seemingly no reason, the porgram will randomly crash. Very annnoying. Firefox is rock solid, hopefully, they will fix IE8 SOON.

MVR5000
MVR5000

I installed IE8 and everything looked fine until I restarted. I found that IE8 at the top but just below the address bar was a black space where you would have maybe a tool bar or tabs. I thought it was frozen and was showing something in the background but that wasnt the case. Closing and re opeing did nothing to change that "Black bar". But then I found that a system restore and a reinstall of that browser worked. For the most part, I have'nt had any trouble with any other computers I installed it on.

stephen.sottong
stephen.sottong

My computer would not properly shutdown after installing IE8. After reverting to IE7 it works better but still has some problems. IE8 is a virus not an upgrade.

rkpmailman
rkpmailman

I had this problem a couple of months ago with the beta. Uninstalled it same day. Was going to dl the final, thinking it would be fixed. Silly me!

jerryew
jerryew

My installation went ok, but IE8 only loads the web page when it feels like it. Miserable troubleshooting the problem. I had Microsoft support on the phone for hours. I will work by itself after rebooting or shutting down most of the time, but no guarantees. Just plain intermittent

AP_Stylebook
AP_Stylebook

Stick with IE7 until MS gets its act together. After reading all the posts here and in other forums about IE8, there are serious issues with even getting the program to install, let alone to run as advertised. The tips for removing IE8 were invaluable.

rvsullne
rvsullne

I installed Internet Explorer 8. I kept having freezeups. I decided to uninstall. Was able to do that okay, but then my computer would not boot up. I ended up having to reinstall windows. I'm back to IE7.

craynichols
craynichols

I got almost the same experience. My install (on an XP Pro, Dell Inspiron 6400, fully updated)did install enought to have the ability to remove. After installing I tried to open and it hung on my home page and would not proceed. So, I uninstalled and put IE 7 back on - no problems.

stephanie
stephanie

I was unable to uninstall IE8 and return to IE7 because Service Pack 3 wouldn't allow it. In the end, trying to remove SP3, which presented more problems, I wound up having to purchase a new hard drive, copy all my important applications and documents to it and reformat my original drive.

ebarrows
ebarrows

I installed it last week and the install went ok. I did have to force my computer to shutdown at one point, but the computer booted fine afterwards. I might add that I am running a Dell Optiplex755 Vista machine. I also installed it from Yahoo. I like the new features and it has been running fine. No problems here.

piguy3point14
piguy3point14

Had exactly the same experience with two of three machines at home. On the third we simply did not allow that update to run. It survived but, on the other two, we just went with Firefox.

VT3333
VT3333

Has anyone tried to uninstall IE7 before installing IE 8? I install 8 from IE 6 and it seems to be working fine.

jerryew
jerryew

Funny, I was using the BETA w/o and problems at all. When the official IE8 was released, I installed it. Now, it locks up before opening any url. If I close it, reopen, it might work.... gotta love it!!!!

kenhowey
kenhowey

I had to remove SpywareBlaster protection then install IE8. I like IE8 now but it was a bit slow and confusing at first until I realized that it takes more RAM to start and each tab has its own address isolating itself from a total crash.

JCitizen
JCitizen

a lot of people don't realize that after SP3 Internet Explorer had to be put on top of SP3 to make it upgradeable to newer versions. Then IE 8 came out and they tried to put it on top of a capped installation, which just does not work. They don't realize they need to uninstall SP3 then IE7, then reinstall SP3 then put IE 8 on top. Its like opening the box to put it in again; better to just put it on top in the first place, to avoid problems.

donald1j
donald1j

I haven't had any problems with IE8. I have been running it on my dinosaur chained to a desk. It is slower, but I haven't decided if it's the security settings or my computer. All in all it's worked well for me. Maybe I got lucky. Any way, I like it better than Firefox