Luckily, Microsoft has produced an easy fix: click on the Compatibility Mode icon or read the explanation below.
A half dozen or so blog readers have reported that they cannot read this blog correctly online. I suspect there are more readers with the same problem. In every case, those who reported the problem were using Internet Explorer 8. We have a bit of advice for those readers: "Don’t use Internet Explorer 8!"
In fact, Microsoft won’t call it a bug but the company does admit that many sites that work perfectly in Internet Explorer 7 will not display properly in Internet Explorer 8, unless you use Microsoft’s "workaround." When Microsoft upgraded to Internet Explorer 8, they broke something that used to work properly in Internet Explorer 7. The same sites also will display properly in Firefox, Chrome, Opera, Safari, and other web browsers. If that’s not a bug, I don’t know what is.
ZDnet has compiled a list of 2,400 major web sites that cannot be displayed properly in Internet Explorer 8. You can see the list at http://blogs.zdnet.com/microsoft/?p=2072 (that list is old; more sites than that have since been discovered). Yet, every one of those sites displays properly in Firefox, Chrome, Safari, and even in Internet Explorer 7.
Genealogists can appreciate that the giant web site of Ancestry.com reports similar issues. Many of the pages on Ancestry.com do not display properly when using Internet Explorer 8 but do display properly when using Internet Explorer 7 or Firefox. You can read more at http://ancestryca.custhelp.com/cgi-bin/ancestryca.cfg/php/enduser/std_adp.php?p_faqid=469.
Luckily, Microsoft has produced an easy fix.
Any time you find a web page that does not display properly in Internet Explorer 8, click on the "Compatibility Mode" icon. That is the icon just to the right of the address (URL) bar, just to the left of the refresh icon. The Compatibility Mode icon looks a bit like a page that has been torn in half. You can see an image of it to the right.
You can learn more on Microsoft’s web site at http://www.microsoft.com/windows/internet-explorer/features/easier.aspx (click on "Compatibility View".)
You can also find a few thousand more reports of Internet Explorer 8’s compatibility problems at http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&client=firefox-a&channel=s&rls=org.mozilla%3Aen-US%3Aofficial&hs=dwQ&num=100&q=ie8+compatibility+problem&btnG=Search&aq=f&aql=&aqi=g1&oq=.
Problems like this help explain why Internet Explorer’s market share has slowly eroded from over 90% to approximately 67%. I suggest you do what I did: switch to Firefox and get rid of the bugs.
Actually, Firefox isn’t perfect but it is a lot better than Internet Explorer 8. It works faster (and Chrome is even faster than Firefox), has fewer bugs and fewer security issues. You can obtain the free Firefox web browser at http://www.mozilla.com.
Some people prefer the new Chrome web browser produced by Google. It has fewer features but is very secure and runs much faster than Internet Explorer and somewhat faster than Firefox. You can download the free Chrome web browser at http://www.google.com/chrome.
Our thanks to Dick Eastman for allowing us to reproduce this post