Microsoft continues to warn of IE8 lock-in for XP SP3 users

Last year when Microsoft launched Internet Explorer 8 Beta 2, Jane Maliouta announced that consumers using Windows XP SP3 would be locked-in with the IE8 if they had installed the IE8 beta prior to upgrading to SP3. Microsoft again yesterday issued that same warning to it's consumers. If you are still one of the millions of users on Windows XP with SP3 installed, Microsoft has provided crucial steps to follow if you're ready to upgrade to IE8 RC1. You can obtain IE8 RC1 from the links on this page.

To see if you're one of the people who will have IE8 locked in, follow these steps.

  • Is your computer running Windows XP SP3?
    Click on the Start Menu and then right click on My Computer and then click Properties

    On the General Tab under System it'll say Microsoft Windows XP Service Pack 3

  • Is the Remove option for IE8 Beta grayed out?
    From the Start menu, open Control Panel and click Add or Remove Programs

    Select Windows Internet Explorer 8 Beta and you are unable to click on the Remove button.

If you answered yes to both of those questions, installing IE8 RC1 will force Windows XP SP3 and IE8 to be permanent on your machine. The Internet Explorer team has created a prompt during the installation that will alert users who will be locked-in with IE8 and SP3:

With that in mind, Jane Maliouta encourages users to follow some simple steps prior to installing IE8 RC1. First you need to uninstall Windows XP SP3, by going to Add/Remove Programs and selecting Windows XP SP3. That should take about 10-15 minutes to complete, after that reboot your machine. Then follow the same steps and uninstall Internet Explorer 8 Beta.

After that do a Windows Update and install Windows XP SP3 and Internet Explorer 8 RC1.

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For me, I'll play it safe and wait for the final IE8 code before deployment. I never bothered with IE7 on my XP install due to too much generally negative feedback that I read on the web as well as heightened security concerns in comparison to IE6. I'm willing to take a chance with IE8 because I like to be as current as possible with the majority of the software installed on my system and a change is becoming harder to deny; but not until the code is finalized.

IE6, IE7, IE8, Firefox 2.x, Firefox 3.x, Opera 9.x, Safari 3.x, Chrome 1.x... That's not even considering Lynx and other text browsers as well as Gecko browsers based upon older versions of the Gecko engine like older versions of K-Meleon and Kazehakase. So many browsers to test on these days... Luckily, IE7 and IE8 can be tested rather easily. That is one thing Microsoft did right, resulting in easier development for IE7 and IE8 as well as improving the customer experience.

So when is IE6 dying again?

for the vast majority of people this probably wont be an issue, but I have had PC's come in for repair with major IE 7 Issues, the simple fix was to remove IE7 and re-install it, works perfectly. MS has yet again screwed the world here in that what would have been a simple fix could now be an issue only resolved by a format/reload.

IE 8 probably will be heralded as "great" to start with but in the end it will only be 1 more thing driving the popularity of Firefox and other alternatives.

I still use IE, but only for shopping and banking. I've been using Linux more lately, so Firefox is still my browser of choice. My friends and family are still attached to IE though.

If I Internet Explorer 8 RC got installed automatically , then yes blame Microsoft. But to obtain a copy of the RC you have to intentionally download and install it. Then there are these **** suckers that are just now getting around to installing Service pack 3? People always cry..."well it breaks my system, so I can't install it"(Steve Gibson being one of them). I'm thinking fine just slipstream the ****er and reinstall windows, problem solved.

Personally, I see this as an inconvenience to those that install them on physical machines rather than virtual machines. I mean, the warning states that IE8 becomes permanent only when XP SP3 is installed AFTER IE8. However, I uninstalled IE8b2 running XP SP3 (already installed BEFORE IE8 ), and I proceeded to install RC1. I got the same warning despite the fact that IE8 was installed after XP SP3. I'm not sure if this is a problem with the fact that IE is integrated tightly into Windows, but I have a sneaking suspicion that it is a definite possibility. On the other hand, it could be an issue with XP SP3. That seems more probable because it would affect neither Windows Server versions nor Windows Vista.

In any case, why is this an issue? After all, Vista SP1 could have been installed after IE8b2, and RC1 simply upgrades it. Something similar could be said of Windows Server 2003, which is closer to XP than Vista is.

My point: what's wrong with XP SP3 that messes things up so badly?

Well, I suppose some gratitude to Microsoft is in order. Even though the news is slightly upsetting, at least they're warning those who are using IE8. In any case, I don't use IE8 enough to worry about it getting locked into my system, and it is stable enough for me to use in Web development at least.

Who the hell thought that was a smart idea? I think they should make IE a lock-in in Windows, but only when they've released the final version.

No doubt!
I upgraded to try it after the first release, and got bitten by that "feature" before it was announced how screwed up that was!

cork1958 said,
No doubt!
I upgraded to try it after the first release, and got bitten by that "feature" before it was announced how screwed up that was!

you know something can go wrong when you install betas. If you are going to be mad about it, then don't install beta software

Do you know what Release Candidates are? They need to be the same code that you're going to ship as final, as the RC build may well be the final build.