IE 8 users are finding Windows Update won't work unless they force IE 7 compatibility mode.
If you're currently trying the Internet Explorer 8 public beta, you're probably suffering through a large quantity of bugs right about now. Although it's to be remembered that a beta is by its very nature imperfect, there are some glaring errors that Microsoft needs to sort out pronto.
Perhaps the most incredible is the fact that when the IE team launched the public beta nobody saw fit to tell the Windows Update team. If you're running IE 8 and head on over to Windows Update, you'll be told in no uncertain terms that WU only works with Internet Explorer version 5 and above and that you should razz off and install a better browser.
Presumably Microsoft is planning to update the site to accommodate the new version of the browser in before the official release, but for now the only way to update your system on demand is to switch IE 8 into â€œEmulate IE7â€ mode.
Speaking of which, the beta doesn't seem to have the seamless switching we all expected from the in-built compatibility layer. Although it's possible to switch the browser from the new strict-rendering mode to a more relaxed system for compatibility with pages designed with older Internet Explorers in mind, doing so necessitates a restart of the browser. As the plan is to have sites request IE 7 mode via a tag embedded in the site, if the team doesn't get it working invisibly then the whole system is worthless: we'll just see people switching to â€œEmulate IE7â€ mode and leaving it there.
The remainder of the issues testers are experiencing â€“ random crashes, garbled rendering â€“ are to be expected from a version of Internet Explorer which is so far in advance of all prior releases that it's pretty much an entirely new browser. That said, although it's easy to overlook problems accessing the advanced features of Facebook and Gmail the fact that Windows Live Mail suffers problems is a trifle more disheartening.
Still, the new release is definitely a step in the right direction for a company which has been steadily losing ground to young upstarts.