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Internet Explorer: worst piece of software ever

Seriously... worst piece of software ever. There are worse pieces of software, but if you calculate the crappiness of software by taking the inherent crapiness of the software, and multiply it by the number of people using it, it is absolutely the worst thing in existance.

My copy of IE is messed up here at work, which sucks since I need to test webpages. However it won't run ActiveX controls (like Flash), giving me a security error if I do. Which is odd, because I've never dicked around with the settings on IE on this machine, and I never even USE IE except for once in a blue moon for testing.

So.... okay. My settings are screwed-up, I guess. So I make sure all security settings are at their default. They are. I try decreasing the Internet zone securty to the lowest possible settings. No good. I try setting the site to be one of my trusted web sites... still no luck.

That's sorta okay, so far. Software gets screwed up. It happens. What makes IE so shitty is that once it's fucked, you're fucked. You can't uninstall or reinstall it. All you can download from Microsoft is the stupid "IE Setup" net installer tool that's like 400kb and downloads the files it thinks I need. Well, of course, that doesn't download or fix CRAP, because it doesn't THINK I need anything, since I've already got IE6 SP1.

I tried removing the registry keys relevant to IE's security settings, but that did no good (I put everything back the way I found it once I was done).

I'm currently downloading the full IE6 non-net installer from MSDN downloads. Good thing we're MSDN subscribers... there's no other way to get this thing that *I* can find. Of course... I have to download it from SOMEBODY ELSE'S computer because the idiots at Microsoft made MSDN software downloads go through an ACTIVE X CONTROL. WHICH I CAN'T RUN, OBVIOUSLY. What the hell were they thinking?  We'll see if this fixes my machine. I don't really think it will.

You know what?  It's like somebody actually invented a compliler that can turn HUMAN FECES into executable files, and they used this to create their so-called "web browser".

And for the record I'm not even some anti-Microsoft guy. This is not some Linux zealot speaking here. I use and enjoy Win2000 and XP. I think that SQL Server 2000 is a gift from the gods. I'm learning .Net and I really think it's awesome so far. This is not a biased Microsoft hater speaking.  It is just my informed opinion that I would rather be stabbed in the face than deal with Internet Explorer.

John Rose
Friday, January 16, 2004

Just because you can't use software doesn't make it crap.

Friday, January 16, 2004

You can always go back to using Netscape, if you wish.

Friday, January 16, 2004

You're correct.  However, this software is crap.  I've been using this ever-evolving insult to the world since version 2.0 and I'm perfectly capable of using it.  Unfortunately, it's a horrible piece of shit that is usually difficult if not impossible to fix should something go wrong with your installation.

John Rose
Friday, January 16, 2004

I'm not saying this'll fix your problems, but I messed my computer up similarly once and this fixed it:

Friday, January 16, 2004

Aloysha, I use Mozilla as my regular browser, but I need IE for testing.

At this point I may soon need a full Windows re-install to fix IE.  To give you an example of how well I keep my machines running and how often I typically need to reinstall, my other everyday computer at home has been running the same Win2K/XP install for over two years and runs great.  This is my work PC and the the XP installation and it's about half a year old.

Any way you look at it, IE is absolutely horrible.  Like I said before- it's not the fact that it got some corrupted settings (happens to a lot of software, including mine) but the fact that it's nearly impossible to fix.

John Rose
Friday, January 16, 2004

Actually IE on the mac is much better than the windows version..

Prakash S
Friday, January 16, 2004

Here's an article about running multiple versions of IE on the same machine.  I'll see if this can address my problems.

Think about it: if you released a piece of software that made your users jump through THESE kinds of hoops, how quickly would YOUR ass be fired?  Would anybody in this forum still have a job?  No?  Didn't think so.

John Rose
Friday, January 16, 2004

Though I hear this is all stuff that can be done without this specialized program. In any case, it will allow you to basically un-install IE, perhaps then you can re-install it without uninstalling all of Windows.

Whether or not this will break programs that assume IE is still there, I don't know, use at your own risk.
Friday, January 16, 2004

Well how about the tried and tested approach of 'Format and re-install' and yes i mean the * system *, not just IE.

Typically MS stuff works better that way......

Friday, January 16, 2004

Heh. Not undermining the commentary about IE, but... ever use a browser such as Konqueror or Netscrape under Linux and run into a web site that uses Flash animation? And then try to install Flash into Linux? I felt like I was being asked to rebuild the kernel. The instructions were total, absolute, hacker written gibberish that just flat out didn't work. 

Basically, installing one of the most popular plugins into Linux is pretty much unsupported, Linux and browser version specific, an ordeal along the lines of "well, RTFM RTFM RTFM RTFM RTFM HAHAHA HA you have the source code don't you, NEWB!!?" I gave up. Let the clueless OSS dweeebs have their masturbatory answer to Bill Gates' desktop dominance.

Anyway, that's my parallel universe vent. No offense to OSS worshippers and zealots... really...

There is a school of thought that says that virtually all software is sh*t. Most software beyond "hello, world" is really pretty fragile.

Bored Bystander
Friday, January 16, 2004

"View Source" stops working if your document cache fills up.  Very annoying and no error message given, it just stops doing anything at all.

Friday, January 16, 2004

"Most software beyond "hello, world" is really pretty fragile."

Again, agreed.  Again, IE is really no more fragile than anything else- it's the fact that you can't readily *repair* any problems by un- and re-installing.

Anyway, it's working now.  I have no idea why.  When I was messing with the registry keys, I first copied and renamed the old ones before altering anything.  This had no effect at the time, but as a last-ditch effort I deleted the modified registry keys and restored the original ones to their original names.

The end result?  ActiveX works again now.  Why, I have no idea- those registry keys are now identical to the way they were when I begun this odyssey into the world of THINGS THAT ABSOLUTELY SUCK.

If anybody from Microsoft is reading this, and you were involved in the Internet Explorer product, I hope you're happy.  Please put me in touch with the feces-to-executable compiler team that I referenced in my previous post, because I had a big lunch and I think I've got the source code for IE7 ready to go.

Pardon the childish humor- it's just that I really do hate it THAT MUCH.  And thanks to everybody who had useful suggestions like MarkTAW and others.  :)

John Rose
Friday, January 16, 2004

In my experience, if you are talking about actually being able to render web pages, Netscape is/was way better than IE on the Mac.

Way better.  Similar to the difference between IE 5.5 and Netscape 4.7 on Windows.  The differences are ironically completely reversed on Mac... in my experience.

Rick Watson
Friday, January 16, 2004

LMAO!  Love the humor and agree that IE is a pile of dung. 

Hello, Mozilla!

T Foley
Friday, January 16, 2004

Haha, yes voodoo is a very important skill in Microsoft's world.  I love how iteration N+1 solves things though you didn't do anything different.  It's like those flamewarriors who argue essentially the same point repeatedly, depending on somehow N+1 changing everyone's minds.  Maybe they're successful Windows users.

Since we're on the topic of getting IE of our chests... MSDN hosts these nice videos of developers rambling on, a concept I like.  In many ways, MS is a very forward thinking company.  However, they're delivered in .exe format, which then decompress themselves.  Now, I'd like to say my reaction is just knee-jerk, but there is just no way I'm running an .exe from the mother of hack targets, which is probably hosted on some peripheral MS server no one seriously maintains.  It already tickles my sense of irony that IE is in charge of Windows Update.  Trying to use perhaps the biggest cause of Windows' security problems to solve Windows' security problems.

Tayssir John Gabbour
Friday, January 16, 2004

Funny, I have never had problems with IE. Though, I don't mess with my registry and crap like that.

Friday, January 16, 2004

I think feces2exe is on sourceforge now.

van pelt
Friday, January 16, 2004

Yo John Rose:

Another thing to remember is that IE and Windows are BIG, complicated software systems. You have assemblages of MS and third party DLLs, OLE components, etc interacting at run time, and many of these pieces are defined to be compatible across several legacy operating systems (Windows 95 up through Windows XP.) And, IE is sortof/kindof an integral part of the OS.

The typical mini or mainframe computer operator from the 1970s would not touch anything remotely approaching the complexity as well as "vagueness" of our Windows based OSs in their daily job. Yet all of these hundreds of megabytes  of ka-ka are supposed to think for themselves ad hoc.

I recall a recent vent (was it here?) written by the person lamenting the disappearance of robust, simple, often VERY fast and efficient, uncomplicated single tasked character mode DOS application software. I have exactly the same feelings.

But the marketing and business logic behind "fragile" yet ostensibly improved newer products is equivalent to the auto industry with its new and expensive "hybrid" vehicles. I recall conventionally fueled cars from the 1970s like the Ford Festiva, that got 45+ MPG and in terms of today's money would probably sell for 1/2 the cost of a Toyota Prius with its trunkfull of batteries.

But the automakers don't make *money* off of conservatively engineered vehicles. Exactly the same deal with software.

Bored Bystander
Friday, January 16, 2004

John Rose,

Before blaming IE too much, perhaps you should examine your own environment and work practices.

You see, I'm one of those people whose last BSOD was Win95. Nothing in Win98, WinME, and now WinXP. With respect to IE, there are competitive features missing from other products, it occasionally (once per week?) crashes with what appears to be a networking error, but it is still better than its competitors as a piece of production software.

What's different about me? Nothing, other than the fact that I don't install/uninstall every new piece of fanboy crap that hits the download sites. I don't install games. Nor do I play with the registry to try and "fix" problems.

I'm speculating wildly here, but I'll bet you have all the latest bleeding edge plug-ins, utilities, and all the latest geekware. Maybe you've even got a host of malware clogging your system, but you're probably tech-smart enough to be on top of that.

Anyway, my purpose in writing is not to say you are wrong to use this stuff, but simply to suggest that you may be wrongly blaming IE when the cause is somewhere else entirely.

Here's something that might help.

Yesterday, Amazon delivered me a new book "Debugging", by David J. Agans. It's sub-title is "The 9 indispensable rules for finding even the most elusive software and hardware problems".

Might I suggest you buy a copy. It is eminently readable, full of real-life experience and wisdom, and the techniques you'll learn are invaluable in dealing with problems of this type.

Friday, January 16, 2004

Yes ... I was a bit amused by the fact that, although the OP didn't know what was wrong, he was absolutely certain that whatever it is is Microsoft's fault.

Actually he had a point about IE being difficult to download, but that has more to do with how IE is delivered rather than IE itself as a product.

Friday, January 16, 2004


You wake up on the wrong side of the bed, grumpy?

Friday, January 16, 2004

"You can always go back to using Netscape"

or foreward to Firebird, Opera or another *modern*  browser.

Saturday, January 17, 2004

Well, just use Mozilla.

In the IE vs. Netscape days, IE was MUCH better than Netscape.

Netscape crashed a lot. It is by far the crappiest app I ever saw.

But Mozilla is better.

Saturday, January 17, 2004

And Firebird is better than Mopzilla. It's from the same folks, but is much leaner and faster.

Saturday, January 17, 2004

"And Firebird is better than Mozilla. It's from the same folks, but is much leaner and faster."

People keep making this claim but I see no evidence of it.  I'm running the latest nightly build of Firebird right now and Windows XP reports that Firebird is using 29 meg of RAM.

Common Sense Guy
Saturday, January 17, 2004

I'd just like to voice that I think the author of this thread is dead wrong and probably working in his own spyware-ridden mess.

I've never had problems like this with IE.  When I do have them--it's generally related to spyware clogging up the computer I'm on (see: Ad-Aware by LavaSoft).  Granted--IE isn't perfect--but I see MANY less problems with it than any other browser out there right now.  For all of the complex shit it handles above and beyond other browsers--I'm pleased.

Have fun trying to get Mozilla and Konqueror to do the same shit.

Note:  I really like Mozilla and where it's going.  I even use it occasionally.  It's really not to IE's level quite yet in terms of robustness--but it's a great alternative.  Regardless--the author seems completely off base.

Sunday, January 18, 2004

"Have fun trying to get Mozilla and Konqueror to do the same shit."
I'm reading your little rant in my little-tab inside Mozilla, laughing lazily while another page loads in the background.
(Without taking another window handle and GUI resources)
Sorry, couldn't resist...

I dumped Netscape 4.7 for IE 4.0, and for good reasons. Netscape 4.7 was a piece of s**t. However, now that IE has no real competition, Microsoft has neglected its development.
Come on -- how many versions will it take to fix those annoying CSS and PNG bugs?
Currently Mozilla far surpasses it in surfing-experience, speed and robustness and is my main browser.

Tal Rotbart
Sunday, January 18, 2004

So let me get this straight... you:

1) You noticed that ActiveX controls were getting security errors.  You hadn't messed with the security settings.

2) You allude to the fact that IE can't be reinstalled - do you have WindowsXP (, or something else (  It can be uninstalled, and reinstalled... I've done it quite a few times.

3) You can also download the full version of IE from Microsoft, MSDN or no MSDN.  Of course, a 2 second googlesearch for 'full download "internet  explorer"' may be needed -

4) You removed registry keys, and replaced them.  Did you reboot in between, so the removal would take full effect?

5) You copied & renamed the registry keys (why not just export them?), changed some settings, then deleted the changed keys and re-renamed the original ones, and all is now well?

So, what I gather is that a reinstall would've most likely done the trick, or that deleting the keys, rebooting, and importing them back in the registry woud've also likely worked.  Instead of doing a little research and looking objectively at the problem, you acted like a child, and wasted your day.  Certainly *that* wasn't IE's fault, was it?

Greg Hurlman
Sunday, January 18, 2004

Don't know about the active X problem, but I can say from trying to use CSS, IE is still fucked up!  No joke, No serious standards compliance.  Its a fucked up fucking nightmare.  Constantly.  Even IE on Mac is better.  What is the fucking major problem out there in Redmond?  They don't have a couple trillion dollars they can throw at this to get it right?  They have 85 fucking percent market share.  WTF??!!  If they made a 100% standards complaint browser, then who would even think of switching.  Fuck You you lazing fucking MS fuckers!

Go Mozilla / Firebird/ Camino.  They are all great - standards complaint!  And OSS!  And easy to install.

And thank you for this rant page.

Saturday, February 28, 2004

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