Monday, September 26, 2011

Browsing the Internet with Internet Explorer 9

I know that this is not strictly a genealogy issue but if you spend a lot of time on the Internet you may run into these issues. So I thought I could help.

Internet Explorer (IE) 9 is the latest version of Microsoft’s Internet browser. Many people have asked me about troubles they’ve been having with this new more secure version. Some pages don’t display at all, Adobe “Flash” keeps asking to be upgraded, some .pdf files never show up, some pages only show the advertising (how nasty is that!)

The big issue with IE9 is something called “ActiveX filtering” this is supposed to make the program much more secure but it ends up being a pain particularly with embedded .pdf files. If this filtering is actually the cause of your issue there will be a little blue circle with line in it in the address bar of IE 9 or sometimes even on the upper left of the page, itself. Click the little blue circle with the line in it and then select “turn off ActiveX filtering." This is also the fix for pages that say you need a new version of “Flash” and you know you just updated it (just being in the last 2 weeks, usually.)

This can happen on many pages or even a whole site – not just pdf embedded pages. If you have robust security software like Norton and McAfee you could just turn this feature off but I don’t recommend it. In any case, Adobe Acrobat Reader version 10 is a lot more secure than prior versions and I use it for teaching but at home I use the Nuance products.

Another “gotcha” is when a page has not been updated to work with IE9 and sometimes even IE 8. Then there will be a torn page icon in the address bar. If you click that tool the page will revert to a compatible IE version to display the page. The browser will also keep track of the page for future use and when it has been updated then will display it without the compatibility settings - pretty cool.

Happy Hunting!


  1. More reasons why I'm glad I made the switch to Chrome! Chrome has its issues too, but it's not nearly as annoying as MSIE.

  2. True but some websites won't work with Chrome at all! I've also run into sites that will load but forms won't work. That's why it's a good idea to have at least 2 browsers loaded.