Beware: IE 8 hosed my system!

I just downloaded and installed IE8 for Windows XP, and it's just about destroyed my system. Now after uninstalling it, even IE7 won't work. Read on for the dirty details, including a set of screenshots.

After downloading the beta, which weighs in at 14.4 MB, I installed it, and at first, things seemed to be fine. As you can see below, when you first launch IE after installation, you're asked whether you want use "express settings" --- in essence, every Microsoft service under the sun, such as Live Search for search, Maps with Live Maps for mapping, Windows Hotmail for email, and so on.

IE8 setup screen

After you either choose your own settings, or go with the defaults, IE 8 launches, as you can see below.

IE8 main screen

There's a few notable things here. First is the annoying set of links, including to RealPlayer, Windows Marketplace, and so on. But very nice is the small "Emulate IE7" button. If you run into troubles properly displaying or running a Web site, click the button, and it will fool the site into thinking you're running IE7. I'm not sure if this feature is for the developer-only version, or if it will make it into the final, but it would be nice if it stayed in.

The new WebSlices feature intrigued me, so I unfortunately clicked to learn more. It's hard to understand exactly what a WebSlice is. Here's what Microsoft says about them:

"Developers can mark parts of webpages as 'WebSlices' and enable users to monitor information they rely on as they move about the web. With a click in the Favorites bar, users see rich 'WebSlice' visuals and developers establish a valuable, persistent end-user connection."

Not very helpful, is it? Microsoft says that there are several WebSlices you can try out now, including ones for Facebook, eBay, StumbleUpon, and MSN headlines. I headed to the MSN headlines WebSlice, and clicked to subscribe to it. It appeared to be no different from an RSS feed.

I wish I could tell you more, because that's where my troubles began. After I subscribed, I opened up the sidebar to view it, and IE8 crashed. I re-launched it, and at first all was well. In fact, IE8 even nicely asked if I wanted to restore my previous session, as you can see in the screen below.

IE8 crash restore screen

But IE8 crashed again. I rebooted and restarted IE8 again. The exact same thing happened again. And again.

Having had my fill of system crashes, I reverted to a Restore Point that I had created before I installed IE8. I launched IE7...and for a moment the browser worked, and then simply vanished. No error message, no asking whether I want to send an error report...poof! It was gone.

Related Article Gregg Keizer: Microsoft unveils IE8

So now I've got a system on which IE7 won't work and IE8 won't work. Firefox, bless its solid little soul, works fine, though.

So a word of warning to those who want to try out IE8 --- you could be in for more trouble than you counted on.

By the way, I finally manged to get it working. For a fuller review, check out this blog. And to see how I got it to work, check out this blog.

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