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 :)


  • Hey All,
    I don't know if I'm even in the correct area or not, but since I can't seem to be able to contact Microsoft without PAYING, I thought I'd ask someone in one of these blogs if they know what my download problem is. Whenever I try to download a .pdf file, I get this irritating error message informing me that it is not a valid Win32 app. I have just started having this problem recently - within the last 2 or 3 months. I haven't changed anything in my settings. Perhaps did one of the gazillion MS critical updates messed with some download setting?
    Appreciate any help. Thanks
  • 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.

    And for the really jerky response: "Which index.dat? They're all over the damn place!"

    This is a CSS problem btw that the original post is about..... hence your standards complance thing that you didn't care about, is what you care about :)
  • BTW, here's a Microsoft Blog annoyance:

    (btw, before I start, what the heck is the Remember Me? box for?)

    There needs to be a way to login to all of the blogs at once (passport probably) so that I can send a comment, and then have it email me when there is a response or addition to the article.

    Right now I reply to dozens of MS blogs, and rarely ever go back and check for a response, cause I'm too damned lazy to bookmark them to check and I don't have the time, and it's gone off of my RSS feed so I forget. Some of the responses are important to me too!

    Someone please add this to the Microsoft Blogs stuff :)
  • Just a thought, but blocking the change is not a bad way to find out information about it.

    I believe the relevant key is HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\International\Scripts\3 which has a IEFontSize binary value. You could trap on modify and then trace back to figure out why it got changed.
  • This is a well known issue caused by Product Studio, and triggered by locking your machine (among other things). They should fix it eventually... Yes, it is annoying.

    BTW: The IE team is hiring. ;-)
  • In your personal opinion Larry, should this have all been fixed in SP2 (i mean non sticky small fonts and etc not standards)? Do you think if you were overseeing the IE team you would say "we need to spend a minute amount of time on these things before SP2 ships".
  • See the comment from Tony above. My problem is actually an interaction between IE and a poorly written internal tool at Microsoft.

    The TOOL is at fault, not IE.

    And SP2's about SECURITY. If it's not a security bug (or a security vulnerability) in general it's not going to get fixed.

    So no, I don't believe it should be fixed for SP2. Afterwards? Maybe - that's up to the IE team.
  • I have been wondering about this ever since I started at Microsoft, since I only ever see it at work. I suspected it was an artifact of all the Sharepoint sites, but it's good to know that it's PS that's at fault. Thanks for the tip Tony!

    Larry, I've gotten in the habit of adjusting the font size up by one notch periodically when I notice this. Easiest way is to hold down Ctrl and nudge the mouse scroll wheel down one notch.
  • James,

    Send your request to Scott W. at
    He's the main author for the software the MS blogs use. It's a good one and they have a similar system over at Channel 9.
  • I like the fact that I can change the font size in firefox using the scroll wheel and it only effects the current tab, not every tab, not every browser, not any future browsers. I can't use the feature in IE because it annoys me too much the next time I open the browser (which is extrememly rare these days).

    The only time I see the problem you describe is whenever I use Yahoo! Messenger, the font on my VS.Net Start Page is messed up. Slightly annoying, but not too bad.

    [BTW, things I don't know about/care about that effect you professionally have deep effects on me personally because I listen to music via Windows 24/7. If you use IE, every feature effects you whether you notice it or not.]
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