ASP.NET Menu and IE8 rendering white issue

If you are using the ASP.NET Menu control, you might encounter under certain circumstances an issue where the menu appears as a white box in IE8 Standards Mode.


What IE8 is doing IS correct (by design), in the sense that in Standards mode IE8 is following the standards. Specifically, (element).currentStyle.zIndex returns "auto" in Standards mode when zindex has not been set. The ASP.NET Menu control assumes a different value.

I’d like to suggest a few possible workarounds to solve quickly the issue (note, you can use either one of them, depending on your scenario):

  1. Overriding the z-index property

  2. Using CSS Friendly Control Adapters

  3. Adding the IE7 META tag to the website

1 – Overriding the z-index property

You can manually set the z-index property of the Menu items using the DynamicMenuStyle property of the asp:Menu control (note lines 9-14 and 20). Full source code is:

   1: <head runat="server">
   2:     <title></title>
   3:     <style type="text/css">
   4:         body
   5:         {
   6:             background-color: Silver;
   7:         }
   8:     </style>
   9:     <style type="text/css">
  10:         .IE8Fix
  11:         {
  12:             z-index: 100;
  13:         }
  14:     </style>
  15: </head>
  16: <body>
  17:     <form id="form1" runat="server">
  18:     <div>
  19:         <asp:Menu ID="Menu1" runat="server" DataSourceID="SiteMapDataSource1">
  20:             <DynamicMenuStyle CssClass="IE8Fix" />
  21:         </asp:Menu>
  22:         <asp:SiteMapDataSource ID="SiteMapDataSource1" runat="server" />
  23:     </div>
  24:     </form>
  25: </body>

This solution is the least intrusive, but it require a page-by-page update (unless your menu is a Master Page).

2 – Using CSS Friendly Control Adapters

Thanks to Tim for this solution. In order to add the CSS Friendly adapter to your project, you will need to:

  1. Download CSSFriendly.dll and CSSFriendlyAdapters.browser from here.

  2. Inside your project, add a reference to CSSFriendly.dll.

  3. Add the special folder App_Browsers to your project, and copy the file CSSFriendlyAdapters.browser.

The CSS Friendly Control Adapters will render all the listed controls (Menu, TreeView, DetailsView, …) using CSS and HTML standards.

3 – Add the IE7 META tag to the project

By default, Windows Internet Explorer 8 will attempt to display content using its most standards-compliant mode, the IE8 Standards mode. However you can still switch to the IE7 Standards mode adding a particular META TAG to the head of the page:

   1: <html xmlns="">
   2: <head runat="server">
   3:     <meta http-equiv="X-UA-Compatible" content="IE=EmulateIE7" />
   5:     <title>IE8 ASP.NET Fix</title>
   6: </head>
   7: <body>

Using the tag, the website in IE8 will look and work in the same way as it does in IE7.

You can do a “live test” of this feature without the need to modify the page, using the new IE8 Developer Toolbar (press F12 to open the toolbar, and switch the Document Mode to IE7 Standards).


Note that you can set up the META tag at page level, at web.config level, or in IIS, or in Apache, …

What happens next?

The ASP.NET team is currently working on this issue and we will most likely create an official KB to address this issue before IE goes RTW.

EDIT: Hotfix are now available. Check here. 

Thanks to all the community feedbacks we received so far.

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Comments (101)

  1. Kevin Daly says:

    Thanks, that’s very helpful.

    I’d been avoiding using the ASP.NET menu control in IE8 Standards mode since I tried it in Beta 1 – back then using the Menu caused numerous JavaScript errors, so anything that can be fixed with a simple style is a vast improvement.

    On the subject of compatibility – I just now remembered to check the AJAX control toolkit extenders – once again, the situation is now greatly improved (in fact everything I tried worked fine – the opposite of the situation the first time I checked). That’s quite a relief.

  2. ASPInsiders says:

    Since I’ve run into this issue myself, I thought I’d share a blog post that offers several possible workarounds

  3. Selvaganapathy says:


    This solution very useful to me.

    I Just apply "z-index: 100;" in CSS file. Now working good.

  4. Siderite says:

    I have met with the same issue and have decided to use the CSS Friendly Adapters. However, the menu is only looking acceptable in IE8 if the Compatibility View setting is set. Otherwise the menu is rendering dynamic div over the old ones.

  5. maya says:

    Helped me so much..Thank You..

  6. IEBlog says:

    Reports of broken sites are an important part of the feedback the IE team receives from the community.

  7. Thanks very much. This solved my menu problem. Keep on doing and explaining related issues.

    Thanks again.

  8. JimmyS says:

    Setting the DynamicMenuStyle z-index worked perfect. Thanks.  I was giving up on using the menu control for sub menus after getting nowhere.

  9. Karlo says:

    Dear Giorgio,

    Has this issue been adressed by the ASP.Net team, now that IE8 has gone live? I am the owner of a webbased application and would have my developers spending as little as time necessary for fixing this bug (€€€!!!)

    Would be great, thanks for your help!


  10. Primi problemi per Internet Explorer 8

  11. Il nuovo motore di rendering di Internet Explorer 8 comincia a mietere le prime vittime… Il primo a cadere

  12. Mark Rodrigues says:

    Hi Giorgio,

    Thanks for that. It was the only problem I had on my site with IE.

    Just to clarify, is this actually a bug in IE8 or is this IE8 being more true to THE standard … whatever THE standard happens to be these days 🙂

    Thanks again.

  13. sandy says:

    Thanks Giorgio!  The DynamicMenuStyle option worked for me 🙂

  14. Thanks all for the feedbacks.

    @Mark: IE8 by default use the new layout engine, that has been designed to be 100% standards compliant with CSS 2.1. (See more at my MIX session, A Lap around IE8).

    @Karlo: we will soon release (and distribute) an hotfix that will fix this issue.

    If I look at this issue, I think this as a clear sign that we, as Microsoft, finally committed to full interoperability with web standards. We understand that this will require an initial "extra work" for our developers, but in the long term is going to be a great return of investment for the entire community.


  15. Mike Chase says:

    Thanks so much I used the CSS solution and it works. Thanks again, you saved the day!

  16. Ivan says:

    Thanks Giorgio!!!, very helpful article! 😀

  17. miguel molina says:


    Buon lavoro,

    Grazie millie!

  18. John H. says:

    While I appreciate the workaround, I find it unacceptable that MS would release a browser that breaks applications developed using their own framework.  You guys need to get it together and work with the .NET team so you don’t have thousands of developers wasting their time on issues like this.  My site is now viewable in every browser EXCEPT IE 8.  It’s ludicrous.

  19. Hi John,

    if we look at what we did back in the past, moving from IE5 to IE6 to IE7…is exactly what you say: "Releasing a new product that don’t break any previous application". Or, in other words, support legacy code.

    With IE8 we took a different direction: being standards compliant by default. We did *a lot* of testing either with Microsoft applications and public websites. Unfortunately we are aware of a few things (like this) that could break, but:

    1) We built an (IMHO) amazing compatibility support in IE8, that allows you to opt-in for the IE7 rendering engine. This is something that no other browser has ever done. Other browsers will just pretend you to update all of your code, if they do some breaking change….

    2) We are releasing free tooling support, to help investigate and make sure website standard compliant.

    We are aware that this will require some extra work from your side. At the same time, as we move forward, having IE8 being standards compliant will make your future website development experience much easier, thus will reduce development costs…

    As I’ve written previously in this post we will release an hotfix for ASP.NET (note, not for IE…) that will fix this issue. The hotfix will also be included in future SP versions and finally in the next ASP.Net/OS releases.

    Please keep on reporting your issues and feedbacks; our final goal is to make the developer community code faster across browsers and platforms 😉



  20. Kassian says:

    Hi Giorgio,

    I tried all fixes and non worked, my menue is still not visible at all (asp:Menu VS 2005). No white square or anything. In IE 7 or FF it works just fine.

    Any ideas?

    Thanks for the help.


  21. Karlo says:

    Ciao Giorgio,

    Was the hotfix on included in the update that came through not last night, but the night before? (European time). Servers went down, but anyway 🙂

    Or is it still pending?

    Great to have a direct line with you in this way!

    Mille grazie!


  22. hunzonian says:

    Hi, Thank you so much for this info! I added the IE8 css fix to my master pages/css file and it works without flaw.



  23. Internet Explorer 8 and ASP:Menu Control

  24. Giorgio, thanks so much for the post.  I added the DynamicMenuStyle tonight in my master pages and it worked like a charm. I noticed this as a problem in the beta but thought it would be fixed before IE8 went live.


    Sherlock Ossa

  25. Thanks Shelock. In fact the ASP.Net team did a great job releasing the hotfix one week before IE8 went RTW. 🙂

  26. peter plimpton says:

    I was able to fix the problem with solution number 1 (Overriding the z-index property). Thanks for the example. I’m glad my menus were in master pages!

    I remember having to fix the Safari problem with a addition to the AppBrowsers folder. The CSS Friendly Adaptor seems like a similar fix but you have to add the dll. Are people using this solution for other problems as well?

  27. Ha a standard ASP.NET Menu vezérlőnek használjuk a dinamikusan kinyíló funkcióit, akkor készüljünk fel

  28. IE8 Guy says:

    Wow, thanks same me bunch of time

  29. TI Dev says:

    Solution no. 1 works for me on my Windows server 2003 machine but does not work on my Windows Server 2003 R2 Machine.

    Solution No. 3 worked just fine for me on both the machines.

  30. Karlo says:

    Ciao Giorgio,

    My developers have run the ASP.hotfix in my webapplication. Navigation works fine now in IE8 under XP, however in Vista it still doesn’t work (without comptability-status). It appears that the release of SP2 for Vista and another patch have to be run before it all functions well under Vista. Is this correct? In that case: do you know when the official release of SP2 for Vista is planned?

    Mille grazie!

  31. wyatt says:

    I just installed IE 8 this morning. One of the first things I noticed was that the page formatting now matched closely to my other browser. I check format in both browsers as I develop. Next I noticed the menu issue with the empty white space. I found the fix quickly on this block and added the dynamic menu css and z-index. It was a fast solution. I like working with standards, too.

  32. Giorgio says:

    Great! Thanks wyatt for your feedback.

  33. Sanjit says:

    Helped me so much..Thank You..

  34. Morten says:

    Thanks a million – the #1 solution did it for me. However – in general, I have an issue with asp:menu and the Safari browser. It looks weird. Do you have a solution?

  35. Morten: what is the issue? I would suggest to check this post:


  36. Ginters says:

    Nice job!

    Boy am I getting tired or .NET controls and web browsers – the difference between 6 and 8 is large (just see png display).



  37. Joe says:

    Thanks!  I had a client that complained about my menus not appearing on IE8.  I googled for "check if browser is ie8", thinking that I would have to write some browser-specific code.  Guess which page was the very first on the list.  Yep, this one!

    This is a MUCH simpler fix!  Thank you so much.

    Note that it does have to be in the <DynamicMenuStyle/> tag and not the <DynamicMenuItemStyle/> tag.

    Again, Thanks with a capital T! 🙂


    P.S. I agree, John.  The difference between 6 and 8 is HUGE, and yet many people still use 6, and people are now using 8.  How to write code that suits them both?  🙂

  38. Chandralekha says:

    Ciao Giorgio

    Good Job!!

    Thank u very much, i used cssclass in my master page

    working fine.

  39. Kylie Rasmussen says:

    Why does the "z-index = 100;" fix the problem? Thanks for the help!

  40. Jesse says:

    The Z-index and the css fix did nothing for me…but the meta tag cleared the whole thing right up. Thanks!!

  41. Dan-O says:

    Thanks! The z-index change did the trick for me.

  42. Riza says:

    Used the meta tag before the style sheet and it work. None of the other fixes worked for me.

    Will the hotfix solve the problem if I installed it to the IIS server machine? Or I have to install it to all the clients? Or Both?

  43. @Riza: you can install the hotfix only on the IIS Server Machine (since the rendering of the control is done on the server-side).

  44. Priti says:

    It’s really helpful. Keep it up!!!

  45. stecolna says:

    Thanks a lot!!!

    You suggestion has solved a bug in a web site I’ve developed.

    Best regards

    Stefano Colnaghi

  46. Mike says:

    Thank you!  This was so helpful!

  47. Vishal Nigam says:

    A great help for a problem which otherwise was looking major. You solution made it minor.

    Thanks again.

  48. Yogesh says:

    Thank you very much. ‘z-index’ helped me to resolved the IE8 issue.

  49. Priti, Stefano, Mike, Vishal, Yogesh: thanks for your feedback, I’m glad it helped!


  50. nada says:

    Thank you so much  IE8Fix solve the problem

  51. bob singh says:

    Cheers – described in a simple way so that even i could understand it

    nice one

  52. nate says:

    Overriding the z-index property worked for me. Thanks so much!

  53. tiffany says:

    Thanks very much. This solved my menu problem. Keep on doing and explaining related issues.

  54. Rasim Çelik says:

    Thank you so much! this was so helpfull. (from Turkey)

  55. Rodney Kendall says:

    YOU ARE AWESOME!  It is very difficult to find this resolution, until IE8 is added to the search criteria.  Once it is there, this solution is a life saver!

  56. Your a life saver. Its just annoying (though predictable) that Microsoft couldn’t read the standards documents in the first place.

  57. Minal Shroff says:

    I included the meta tag in all my aspx like a charm…thank you so much…

  58. Tevaganthan says:

    Thanks a lot."Add the IE7 META tag to the project" method is solved my menu problem on IE8 browser.

  59. Des Buckley says:

    Thank you so much. White space now banished thanks to your z-index patch.

    I can get on with life…

  60. luucy says:

    One is always on a strange road, watching strange scenery and listeningto strange music. Then one day, you will find that the things you tryhard to forget are already gone.

  61. rob says:

    i tried the z index style fix but still no change in IE8..i use the asp menu in a master page,..what should be checked?

  62. Wow!

    I Just apply "z-index: 100;" in CSS file. Now working good.

    Good solution! I like it!!!

    In Italian: Grandeeeee!!! ^_^

  63. Zorro says:

    Man, you saved my ass. This was really such an awesome solution.

  64. Howard says:

    I agree with Selvaganapathy.

    The z-order fix makes some sense

    and works like a charm!

  65. vidigo says:

    Thank you. Solution 2 works perfect.

  66. Sebastián says:

    Thanks a lot. I used a combination of the solutions 1 and 3. 1 for fix ASP Menu and 3 for hide compability view button at IE8.

  67. Pakaraima says:

    Thanks for this fix. This problem is still posted as an outstanding problem on other sites. I stumbled on this site when it was obvious that Firefox and Chrome did not exhibit similar symptoms. After that I was able to formulate a query that pointed me to this site.

  68. i tried the same way what you suggested but when i done the 3rd step ie adding CSSFriendlyAdapters.browser

    it is giving error

    so please suggest me for further to rectify that fix

    thanks for your suggestion

  69. incilay says:

    Thank you for solution. My problem is solved.

  70. Mr. D says:

    gr8! It fixed up my issue. Thank u for the solution.

  71. Shavkat says:

    Thanks a lot, very helpful! The IE7 META tag worked for me, although overriding z-index property didn’t work for some reasons.  

  72. Jesse L says:

    Thank you! z-index worked perfectly.

  73. Venkat says:

    This method Useful for my project. But this same problem Occur when I use Mozilla Firefox3.5.1 browser . Can u tell me any Solution?

  74. NinjaCross says:

    The trick works like a charm, thanks !

  75. Davide says:

    Proprio la soluzione che cercavo da settimane.

    Neanche su c’era una soluzione.

    Ma se è un comportamento normale, come mai VWD2008 non lo risolve automaticamente?

    La soluzione n° 1 ha funzionato dappertutto, oltretutto essendo menu in default.master, con una modifica si risolve per l’intero portale.


    grazie Giorgio.

    Just the solution I was searching for! doesn’t propose any solution to this issue.

    However, if this functionality is normal, why VWD2008 doesn’t solve the problem by itself?

    Solution n 1 worked everywhere, and because menu are on default.master, one modify solve the problem of the web site.


    Thanks Giorgio.

  76. srinu says:

    hi nice solution,i got solution to my problem to follow

    second technique (Add the IE7 META tag to the project)..

    thanks a lot


    srinu ganaparthi

  77. saif ur rehman says:


    we are facing this problem for the last many days,

    but this article help me very much to solve the


    bundle of thanks…………

    saif (Islamabad, Pakistan )

  78. Mobile phone says:

    Thank you! z-index worked perfectly.

  79. Yisman says:

    Thanks a million!

    first hack worked just dandy!!!

  80. JimDandy says:


    I found this article very helpful for rendering the control menus in IE8 but now I have DIV problems rendering the browser in IE7 compatibility mode. The Divs become mis aligned and are out of sync. For instance an image is moved to the next div.

    Any Ideas?



  81. Julie says:

    Thank you Giorgio Sardo, for coming up with this solution. Really appreciate your efforts.

      The menu finally worked with the 2 solutions!

  82. Nina says:

    Thank you for this solution – workaround 1 solved my problem in IE8.

  83. orcor81 says:

    Me saco el sombrero, muchas gracias!!!

  84. Vipasha says:


    Its Really help me….

  85. swap says:

    z index worked!! thanks a lot!!

  86. Sethuraman says:

    Thanks you Giorgio Sardo, I got the required solution from your blog.

  87. Sourabh Sachdeva says:


    This solution very useful to me.

    I Just apply "z-index: 100;" in CSS file. Now working good.

  88. Beautimous. It’s people like you that keep a lot of other people going.

  89. Ken says:

    It finally works! Prior to implementing your solution, the menu worked on some machines but not others. Installing KB969612 didn’t help so I did more searching and came across your blog. Thanks again Giorgio.

  90. sam says:

    thanks so much !   was in a panic but you saved the day…AND a lot of time and stress !!

  91. Luis Fernando says:

    Yo he resuleto esto haciendo click en el icono de la derecha de la barra de direcciones (Compatibilidad con Navegadores anteriores)

    I have solved this probleme by clicking the icon next to the address bar (Compatibility with older browsers)

  92. Don Perkins says:

    Those who have had trouble with the z-index style as a solution should keep in mind that z-index is really not supposed to be valid unless it is coupled with a position style of "absolute" or "fixed".

  93. Hardik Rana says:

    I got good solution Thanks to this team

  94. CSS Tolltip says:

    z-index is weird, also keep in mind that in IE6 dropdown is a windows control which would overlay any other conrols on the page with any Z-Index. My solution always use covering IFRAM to makesure your div is top visible element in the DOM

  95. Christer Engholm says:

    Works like a charm (the z-index altenative), saved me a lot of hours and spared me many gray hairs.

    THANKS 🙂

  96. Karthik says:

    Thanks. I used the Meta Tag fix. It solved the issue.

  97. Robby says:

    Spending over 2 days at google, changing just about every property I could think of, moving div’s etc, I’ve got just one thing to say: Thank you so much for clearing this!

  98. Bruno says:

    Bravo! Bravo! Bravo!

    I have never used this control before and It has been a tragedy to make it works properly!

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