Problems viewing sites in IE 7? Download this

Problems viewing sites in IE 7? Download this

Summary: Microsoft's User Agent String 2 temporarily tricks IE 7 into behaving like IE 6, easing some site/application compatibility woes.

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TOPICS: Browser
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Even though IE 7 is just days from going gold, there are still a number of Web sites and applications out there that don't work right with it.

Microsoft identifies these sites as "problematic" and in need of updating (a characterization that doesn't endear the Softies to some of the more standards-compliant site owners out there, who say it's IE 7 that is breaking their wares, and not vice versa).

Blame aside, what can users do who still need IE 6 to view certain sites and apps, but are unable to run it simultaneously with IE 7 on their systems, given that IE 7 overwrites IE 6?

Microsoft's User Agent String Utility Version 2 may be just the ticket. The applet temporarily tricks IE 7 into behaving like IE 6. User Agent String, the latest release of which Microsoft posted to its download site in mid-September, is a "utility that opens an Internet Explorer 7.0 window that is configured to report its identity to websites as being Internet Explorer 6.0," according to Microsoft's description.

The download is freely available for XP and Windows Server 2003 systems. It does require users to submit to Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) checks before downloading.

Topic: Browser

About

Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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4 comments
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  • For those sites that this utility fixes, the fault is theirs, not MS's

    This paragraph was interesting: "Microsoft identifies these sites as "problematic" and in need of updating (a characterization that doesn't endear the Softies to some of the more standards-compliant site owners out there, who say it's IE 7 that is breaking their wares, and not vice versa)."

    In this case, the set of sites that are broken are not broken by IE7. Because if they can be fixed by simply using the IE6 user agent, then there's nothing that IE7 is doing wrong.
    PB_z
  • Example: Google reader and IE7

    You don't have to look far - when trying to access the new (and great) Google Reader in IE7, we get a message box saying:

    >> Problems with this Web page might prevent
    >> it from being displayed properly or
    >> functioning properly. In the future, you can
    >> display this message by double-clicking the
    >> warning icon displayed in the status bar.
    >>
    >> Always display this message when a page
    >> contains errors.
    >> OK Hide Details <<
    >> Line: 49
    >> Char: 34
    >> Error:'null' is null or not an object
    >> Code: 0
    >>
    >> URL: http://www.google.com/reader/view/

    I wonder if IE7 is really ready for prime time
    drorharari
    • Resolution to the Google reader and IE7

      Just in case you wander what's with IE7 and GoogleReader - this problem also appeared with IE7 when installing the final release version.

      What made it go away is hitting the RESET button in the Internet Explorer options under the Advanced tab. All the passwords, cookies and settings went away too.
      drorharari
  • RE: Problems viewing sites in IE 7? Download this

    Because Standard Compliant browsers such as Safari & Firefox display websites according to standards, Internet Explorer is not a standards compliant browser and hence misinterprets coding.
    Bellatine7