Larry Osterman's WebLog

Confessions of an Old Fogey
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IE Annoyances..

IE Annoyances..

  • Comments 25

No, I’m not going to complain about transparent PNG or CSS support.  Frankly, since I’m not a webmaster, I don’t care about them (sorry).

This one’s pretty specific, and I’m pretty sure that it’s an IE bug.

One thing that I’ve noticed while reading other peoples blogs is that IE seems to get confused about which text size at which I want my pages rendered.  For some reason, Eric Lippert’s blog seems to be a constant offender there, although I don’t know why.

For some reason, after reading his ‘blog, I seem to find my text size changed from “Medium” to “Smaller”.  Which is usually too small for me.  And of course, when I close the browser, it happily sets the new font size as the default for my machine.

I know the setting is kept in the registry somewhere and I could put an ACL on the registry key to prevent it from happening, but I’d love to understand why this is happening.  What’s allowing a web page to change the text size I want to use to view the entire web?

Edit: Problem discovered: It was an interaction between a buggy internal tool and IE.  Which explains why I didn't find it by googling :)

 

  • Happens to me too, Larry... although the fonts on my machine outside of my browser are effected.

    It thought I was going crazy. :-)

    No noticeable pattern from what I can see... although it usually happens when I leave browser windows open for days at a time.

    Cheers,
    David Bisset (flex-mx.com blog)
  • This may or may not be it, but if you use Outlook and your IE font size keeps changing, it's most likely because of the International Font settings in Outlook. There was KB article about this somewhere.
  • Larry,

    there's more stuff like this. from time to time, ie will simply forget stored password for pages that need authentification. it _never_ logs me into passport sites automatically. no matter how often i check 'remeber password', it simply fails to do so.

    also, 'view source' simply stops working at all from time to time...

    this program needs some real big work beeing done (and the security stuff from sp2 doesn't help with the annoyances... i have the sp2 bits running, and still can't view pages sources, am not beeing logged into passport - and i'm pretty sure it'l have forgotten some of my passwords really soon now.)

    WM_MY0.02$
    thomas woelfer
  • When View Source stops working, Tools | Internet Options | Delete Files.
  • The autocomplete stops working on some sites too if the cache is full, the above comment fixes that as well.
  • I find that in order to stop IE from doing all manner of foolishness, a regular cleaning out of the history, temporary files, and autocomplete entries is essential. How often you need to do this obviously depends on how much you use it, but I tend to do it once a week as part of my maintenance schedule. Whether this really helps is hard to say, although there are some definite problems this avoids. (For example, if your Temporary Internet Files start getting too big, view source stops working properly and IE will only allow you to save images as BMP files. Why? Who knows!)

    The Passport issue is possibly related to this:
    http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;EN-US;q264672

    All in all, IE is in serious need of an overhaul. Larry may think that things like decent PNG and CSS support aren't important, but the whole beauty of the web is that there are all these standards which are well documented. An MS employee (albeit one who has nothing to do with IE development) saying "Ah, don't worry about supporting them properly, they're only standards!" isn't particularly encouraging... :)
  • I didn't say they weren't important. I said I don't care about them.

    It's a big difference. In my personal life, the fact that IE doesn't support PNG transparency (which is an OPTIONAL feature of the PNG spec btw) or full CSS does not effect e in the least. In my profession life, it doesn't either.

    Professionally, I'd care more if windows audio didn't support AC3 properly (or MP3). Or if there was an issue rendering PCM content to a particular sound card.

    IE's lack of standards compliance isn't even on MY radar. I'm sure it's on other Microsoft people's radar (see the Channel9 (http://channel9.msdn.com) threads about IE for more info), but not mine.

    And since I don't care about this issue and because I as an individual can't do anything about this issue, given the subject of the post I figured I'd try to cut off the innevitable "IE's not standards compliant" threads.
  • Hey Larry, you know what. The fact that I didn't have broadband internet access didn't affect me in the least either, until I got it and realized how useful it was.

    Maybe that's the reason that the full CSS support and PNG transparency doesn't bother you either. You've never had to develop for the browser or try to take advantage of transparency? To discount those of us that do just because YOU don't seems pretty short-sighted to me. To me Exchange 2000 didn't really offer me anything better than Exchange 5.5 since all I do is send/receive email at home and at work. Maybe MS should quit working on Exchange and concentrate on just a standard POP server? ;)

    That's the nice thing about browsers, despite Microsofts best efforts you still seem to have options if IE misbehaves in any way. Wouldn't it be terrible if you didn't? What if everyone HAD to drive an Edsel? {shudder}
  • I'm not discounting you. I believe these are REAL issues. I truly believe that things would be better with fixes for these problems.

    However this is NOT what this thread is about.

    It's about a single issue: IE randomly changing font sizes without user interaction.

    I explicitly don't want an IE standards flame-fest. If you want that, there are other places to vent that are read by the people who can actually effect change. I'm not one of those people.

    If you want a change in audio, I can help. If you want a change in Exchange, I MIGHT be able to help (even though I've not worked there for 4 years).

    Oh, and even if you're using POP3, Exchange 2000 is ORDERS of magnitude better than Exchange 5.5 was. Exchange 2000 brought full fidelity support to POP3, whereas Exchange 5.5 parsed the email, decomposed it into rich text, and then reassembled the original MIME content when the client asked for it. Which was slow and didn't mantain full fidelity with the original email message.
  • Agreed, wrong forum. :) However on to adress the topic specific complaint, FireFox/Mozilla/Safari don't change your default font settings for you. But often when the font size is set to small (or something in IE specific CSS) it makes it REALLY small in FireFox. but it doesn't stick (thank god).

    So Exchange 2000 caught up to sendmail? ;) Again, neither made any difference to me. Me hit "send/receive" button, me get email, me read email, realize that email assigns me more work, me regret hitting "send/receive' button. Same diff.
  • Exchange 2000 caught up and surpassed it IMHO. It's WAY easier to manage a 50 server Exchange farm than it is to manage a 50 server sendmail farm.
  • Re: the regular things-stop-working - I've found that IE seems to corrupt its index.dat when Temporary Internet Files fills up. You can sometimes see this in the Explorer view of Temporary Internet Files: you get corrupted filenames appearing.

    The effects are easy to explain: you can't View Source, because IE can no longer find the file to open. Images don't show, because it can't find the cached image file after downloading it. Style sheets aren't applied because they've been lost. Saving images doesn't work because the original file, rather than the rendered copy has been lost. In normal use I assume that IE just makes a copy of the file out of the cache, but when the file's missing it tries to do the best it can by rendering the in-memory bitmap back to a BMP. I presume there's no compression code in IE, just decompression.

    I have a bad habit of humanising software. ;-) Above, read 'the software's designers decided that the software should' rather than 'it does'.

    All because IE (or, rather, WinInet) has lost the association between the URL and the local file.

    I've mentioned this bug on my blog back in December (Jim Blizzard sent me an email saying he'd reported it for me), probably in comments on MSDN blogs, on CodeProject's Lounge when the subject comes up every couple of months, and, for completeness, on Channel 9's Internet Explorer feedback Wiki pages.

    I've not seen the problem yet with XP SP2, maybe it's been fixed?
  • That wasn't it Mike :( Just blew away my cache, hit the link and poof! Smaller fonts.

    Sigh.
  • i'm using windows 2003 server (standard|enterprise), and the font-size did NOT change when i checked the blog you mentinoed.
  • It doesn't always happen - for instance it was fine until I checked on the link in my browser. Basically what seems to be happening is that the cached version of the text size parameter is getting corrupted somehow and that then affects new browser windows.
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