IE 8 – New Features, Same Performance Issues

OK. So we have another IE, version 8. Once again Microsoft piles on the features, changes the interface, and introduces frustrating new “security” with disregard for the enduser. It’s a toss-up as to whether a couple of new wizz-bang enhancements make upgrading to version 8 worthwhile. Why is it that it always takes a service pack or two before upgrades to this product are stable?

Nifty New Features

Granted, there are a couple of new features that will make browsing somewhat easier, but I would rather have seen the bloat and performance issues fixed–besides, this new version has introduced a couple more problems. But let’s look at the good, before ranting about the bad and the ugly.


Accelerators don’t really accelerate anything. They are designed to save you steps. And, for the most part they do. The concept is that you can get in-place content with a few mouse clicks, rather than having to navigate to new pages.

Here is an example of how it looks with Live Maps:

IE 8 Accelerator with Live Maps
IE 8 Accelerator with Live Maps
What I found after playing with this for awhile is that it works pretty good with Microsoft sites, such as Encarta, Live Mail, and Live Maps, but when you use a non-Microsoft accelerator, such as Google, you are navigated away from the page anyway–and the back button is disabled! You can’t easily get back to the original page. Hmmm….
Overall, this feature is pretty handy, though. Here is a link to a bunch of videos on Microsoft’s Website that shows Accelerators and other new features in action:

 Web Slices

Web Slices is, perhaps, the best new feature. Basically it allows you to flag specific Web pages. IE will then monitor them and notify you when the content on the page changes. This is great for monitoring blogs, auctions, and so on. And you can setup as many Web Slices as you want and set the monitoring and notification intervals.

Here is an example of Web Slices monitoring an Ebay auction:

IE 8 Web Slices lets you monitor pages for changes to content.
IE 8 Web Slices lets you monitor pages for changes to content.

Here is a link to a page on Microsoft’s site that describes Web Slices in detail:

The thing to keep in mind with both Accelerators and Web Slices is that the owners of the sights you want to monitor have to setup server-side Accelerator and Web Slice applications in order for your IE to use them. So far, not many sites have Web Slices or Accelerators available.

Other new features

There are some other new, not-so-exciting features that Microsoft is touting as all that and a bag of chips, but for the most part they are ho-hum. Here they are:

  • InPrivate Browsing
  • Search Suggestions
  • SmartScreen Filter

You can get descriptions of them here:

And, of course, there is always Microsoft’s constant “security” enhancements. Whether security is acutally enhanced (or that these changes are necessary), I am not really qualified to judge. But I do know that each new browser upgrade makes using IE more difficult.

For example, (and I am just getting started using IE 8), some security enhancement in IE 8 has crippled my ability to upload images to this blog through the WordPress interface while using IE 8. I keep getting an error that the target directory can’t be created. (The directory is already there.) None of the documents on Microsoft’s support site address this specific issue. So I have had to change the way I upload images. Or use another browser.

The same Old Bloated IE

I have always had problems with IE that I never have with Safari or FireFox. Since upgrading to Vista, the latest two issues are quite aggrivating. First, for some reason, now and then IE just stops working. I get a Not Responding error. Sometimes, after several minutes, it corrects itself. Other times, I have to go into Task Manager and kill IE to get it to work again. Second, when ever my Laptop goes to sleep (as it does every night), after waking it up, I cannot get IE to open within 5 or 10 minutes, not without rebooting my computer, that is.

(I know, you’re thinking that something is wrong with my computer. Perhaps, but, again, the other two browsers don’t behave like this.)

One of the reasons I upgraded was to try to solve these two issue. No luck. The program is still huge, takes much too long to load and is terribly quirky. If I run into any more problems, I am going back to version 7. It is usually a good idea to wait for the first service pack release before upgrading any Microsoft product.

Bill Harrel –


6 Replies to “IE 8 – New Features, Same Performance Issues”

  1. Yeah. No kidding. That’s why I keep using FireFox. I am still angry about what they did to Office 2007.

  2. Hey, it’s not just IE that has issues after a computer wakes up. I have trouble with Outlook and a bunch of other apps. I just started restarting after waking Windows up.

  3. I am the admin for a large office, over 200 workstations and several Windows servers. We don’t upgrade anything til it’s been out for awhile and at least one service pack has been released.

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