IE8 Reliability Update for Windows 7 Beta Now Available

We wanted to let you know that an update was released earlier today that will improve Internet Explorer’s reliability for users running the Windows 7 Beta. The update is now available via Windows Update, and can also be downloaded via Microsoft Update.

In this post we’ll discuss how we used the information that we’re receiving from Windows 7 Beta customers to determine the reliability fixes to include in this update.

We use the term “reliability” to broadly encompass all types of stability problems including crashes, hangs, memory leaks, etc. When we measure reliability we rely primarily on instrumentation built into Internet Explorer 8 and Windows 7. For example, the Customer Experience Improvement Program enables us to better understand how customers use our products, and Windows Error Reporting provides detailed information about the problems customers encounter. Shortly after the Windows 7 Beta became publically available these systems began to send information back to Microsoft.

After a week of monitoring this feedback we felt that we had reached a representative sampling of our customers. We found that approximately 10% of customers who had downloaded the Windows 7 Beta had experienced some type of reliability problem in IE8. We also found that a small number of users were experiencing crashes on a more regular basis and that about 1.5% of all Internet Explorer sessions had encountered a crash. This is relatively good for a pre-release version of Internet Explorer running on a beta operating system. We were also pleased to see that the new IE8 Crash Recovery feature was successfully helping customers recover from these crash situations 94% of the time.

One of the approaches that we use to analyze this data is called a failure curve. A failure curve is essentially a bar chart where each bar represents a unique failure (crash, hang, etc.). The height of the bar represents the number of occurrences in the last 30 days. Below you can see the failure curve for Internet Explorer 8 on Windows 7 Beta. The color indicates whether the failure is caused by Internet Explorer or a 3rd party toolbar or extension running inside of Internet Explorer.


failure chart of IE crashes, on the x axis each failure issue, on the y axis is the number of occurrences.  The graph is sorted by occurrences.  It is in the shape of the right half of a bell curve.

As you can see about 40% of our reliability problems were caused by Internet Explorer and about 60% by 3rd party components. Another interesting point is that 17 unique issues account for 50% of all reported reliability problems. Because users generally have lots of toolbars and extensions installed, it’s common to see this many 3rd party components at the top of our failure curve.

Once we had the failure curve set up we began investigating each unique issue starting from the top of the curve. We started to understand the technical details of our own issues and developed fixes for them. For 3rd party problems we worked closely with our partners to address each issue either through an update to the 3rd party code, by working around the problem inside of the Internet Explorer code base, or as a last resort by preventing the 3rd party component from loading.

Most of the issues that we discovered through the Beta are fixed in the Release Candidate 1 which is now available for Windows Vista and Windows XP. We also wanted some of these fixes to reach our Windows 7 Beta users now.  We decided to piggyback onto this first update for the Windows 7 Beta.

This update will address many of the top crashes and hangs from the Windows 7 Beta, which includes those caused by Internet Explorer as well as 3rd party components like Adobe Flash, Adobe Acrobat, and several others. We have also included fixes to enable printing PDF files and an architectural change which improves cookie management. This update does not contain other changes introduced between the Windows 7 Beta and Internet Explorer 8 Release Candidate 1.

We encourage everyone to download this update and provide feedback. Your feedback was the driving force behind many of the decisions we made and we appreciate your continued participation during the Windows 7 Beta cycle.

Herman Ng
Program Manager

Comments (66)

  1. Kaushal Voa says:

    IE 8 – I downloaed this software and the nightmare started.. It directly affected windows explorer. Initially to start IE8 took hell of time. After that i just could not star computer in system. I have to ON OFF the laptop 4 – times then and then only it starts. It started showing dr watson message and explorer problems. BUT if the lan or broadband connection is attached to the laptop then it starts quickly otherwise to start the laptop without attached lan cord is a nightmare and you cant get net connection wvery where!. I dont know but somehting horrible has happened to my Laptop after downloading IE 8 and the dirt part is that as usual to approch microsoft is a big disappointment always. I have started trusting local intelligence than this so called big name Microsoft. Their help line charges are 5 times higher than the cost of the software. and Horrible service only 5 working hrs where as they have billin of people using their software day and nitght..

  2. iefan says:

    Troll but true post: Just look at the features of Safari 4 ( IE will probably implement those by IE11. Why is VoiceXML/read aloud so difficult if the OS has speech technologies? Why is color management so ignored if the OS has it? Why is CSS3 support nearly absent (just because it is not a ratified standard?) Where is the SVG support?  What is MS doing to speed up JavaScript?

  3. says:

    Thank you for submitting this cool story – Trackback from

  4. iefan says:

    Even as we take that and accept that with IE8, Microsoft is taking a huge leap ahead, MS doesn’t care about other browsers if they don’t have a significant marketshare. I’m a full time user of Safari for Windows, but Microsoft only and only supports IE, Firefox and Safari for Mac (dunno if and how it supports Chrome). If they can support Safari for Mac for everything, Silverlight (Microsoft websites on the server side don’t support Safari for Windows), Hotmail, CodePlex, and any new websites that MS periodically creates etc, why not Safari for Windows?

  5. hAl says:

    If most crashes were caused by thrid party software how is this release going to fix that.

    I would think the vendors should be releasing those.

    I could do with a list of buggy and slow add ons that Microsoft has found so we could also check if the creators of those addons have improved their product in newer versions.

    I do not want to find out on IE8 launch day that half my plugins are crap that cause my browser to crash.

  6. Catto says:

    Hey Now,

    That is some good news.

    Thx 4 the info,


  7. Nice to hear. I am wondering a bit. I am one of the users who is experiencing problems with IE on a regular basis. I. e. the WER dialog pops up and looks for solutions; what’s startling me there is that the browser runs normally and I rarely see anything which would be related to the WER dialog, like a crashed and recovered tab. Most of the time IE seems to crash but doesn’t for all I can tell, since nothing changes, the windows and tabs are all still there.

    That said, those "crashes" weren’t annoying, disrupting my work or otherwise, just puzzling. Overall I like IE8 very much so far and I usually stick to a browser until it really gets on my nerves; that point was reached once again by FF3 but not yet by IE8.

  8. Ouistiti says:

    Thanks for the update I. Will the team be addressing the horrendous performance issues with your Javascript engine? It’s not so bad on high end hardware but for lower spec machines (I’m thinking netbooks/thin clients) IE is currently a bad choice. Opera/Firefox/Chrome/Safari (read WebKit) are all vastly superior.

  9. dave says:

    I believe that I am one of many users that when installing IE and given the prompt: ~"Do you want to join/send feedback on customer experience/program"~ (or whatever it actually says) I instinctively choose NO… *every time*

    With good reason.  I don’t want to share any personal information – but this option does not disclose in detail just what exactly it will send back to Redmond.

    Will it send the URL of the site I’m on? I don’t mind so much if it is on say Google Maps, but if I’m debugging an affiliates’ site, and that site is an Adult site, theres no way I want that info passed on.

    Will it send the HTML source of the site I’m on? (same rules apply, but even more so… I don’t want Redmond sifting through my GMail thankyou very much.

    What does it send in regards to my OS setup? Is it just basic details on OS/browser versions? Addons installed?, etc.

    and finally, WHEN does it send info? on every page request?, randomly?, only when there is a JS error? or when there is a hang/crash?

    to recap – many of us will never endorse such a program and sign up to it, if there isn’t full disclosure of what is being sent, and when.

  10. walter says:

    @Herman – you said: "Because users generally have lots of toolbars and extensions installed".

    Thank you, Thank you, Thank you. – Finally some honesty.

    Now, can you please remind the IE Dev Team that this is the case because they believe that all users should be running IE in "No Addons Mode" in order to have a browser with a half decent response time when opening new tabs.

    The rest of us do have, and plan to have 6-10 addons running all the time, thus the current IE new tab performance is down right pathetic and not providing a quality experience in IE.

    I’m sure it has been reported many times but just in case you don’t know the bug reference:

    Which has a current status of: "Microsoft has confirmed this will NOT be fixed in IE8 RTM"

    I think that it would be a grave mistake to release IE8 without addressing this issue.


  11. Somi says:


    If you are looking for Add-ons then Firefox is what you will want to use.

    There are literally hundreds and hundreds of stable extensions that don’t cost anything at

    Even developer tools are there (search for Firebug, you will be impressed)

  12. mocax says:

    well blimey…. the latest update has the exact same bug as RC1…..

    when you open and close many tabs over a certain period of time, suddenly all opened tabs refuse to close, and the window refuses to close. The webpages are gone, but the tabs are still around.

    I’ve to kill all iexplore prcoesses via task manager.

    i hated that bug in RC1, now it’s in my Windows 7 beta….. thanks a lot.

    i want my pre-RC1 IE8 back….

  13. Archer66 says:

    Is slow playback of Flash feeds in W7 fixed ?

  14. XeonG says:

    does this fix the ‘save target as’ bug that didn’t allow third part shell browsers like maxthon from working effectivly with ie8 pre rc on win7.

  15. RTW says:

    I attempt to obtain this update, but my Win 7 Beta reports I am up to date, though I see no entry for this update in my update history.  Seems no means of my getting to this update under Windows 7 beta.

  16. Charles says:

    This update seems to fix the hang that I would encounter every 20 minutes. No problems for the last 2 days and counting.

  17. JossB says:

    Why don’t you isolate third party ActiveX from IE applications in the next version of IE ? Now that each tab is running in a separate process today, why not doing the same with add-ons / activeX components ?

  18. EricLaw [MSFT] says:

    @JossB: It’s an interesting idea; unfortunately, forcing all ActiveX controls to run out of process would entail a performance cost, and more importantly, a breaking compatibility impact.  

  19. Peter Fischer says:

    Since 1st use of IE8 i had have huge problems with Flash-Pop-Adds when mouse hoovers it -> does FREEZE IE8 for about 60 seconds!

    AND direct after install IE8: ‘STATUSbar’ in Windows-Explorer can’t be permanent ON ;-( under Vista !-(

  20. Keith Patrick says:

    "If most crashes were caused by thrid party software how is this release going to fix that."

    Because IE, as the host for that software, has a responsibility not to pass the instability up the chain to the OS. It would be similar to an application crashing an OS – the application is the cause, but the expectation is for the environment to isolate the instability and not affect other applications by taking down the entire OS.

  21. News says:

    We wanted to let you know that an update was released earlier today that will improve Internet Explorer

  22. Dennis says:

    Where is this download link on Windows Update? I don’t see it listed in WindowsUpdate Manager  as an available update.

  23. @dave

    The Customer Experience Improvement Program doesn’t collect any personal information such as URLs you’ve visited, or HTML source code.

    Instead, it focuses on collecting usage data such as the actions you perform on the browser (Back, Forward, Add a favorite, etc.), as well as the configuration data you’ve mentioned – what OS you’re running, how much RAM you have, etc.

    During a browsing session we log all this information into a file. When you launch IE we will send the file created from the previous session to Microsoft. We don’t send data at any other time.

    On the other hand, we use Windows Error Reporting to automatically send data back to Microsoft once you encounter a crash or hang.

    I hope this information can help you understand the program better.

    – Herman

  24. @mocax

    Just to clarify: did you experience those problems on Windows 7 Beta after installing the update? If you are able to reproduce this issue on a constant basis, please let me know.


    The update should be listed in Windows Update as "Update for Windows 7 Beta (KB 962921)". IE8 fixes are included with this update even though the title does not explicitly suggest so. If you are still unable to find it, here is the download link from Microsoft Update:

    The 64-bit package is here:

  25. Hi All, I wanted to let you know that an update was released earlier today that will improve Internet

  26. Hi All, I wanted to let you know that an update was released earlier today that will improve Internet

  27. fmerletti says:

    What is Internet Explorer? it is like Firefox? Thanks

  28. mocax says:

    @Herman [MSFT]

    Yes, it only happens after the update and also in RC1 (on my XP machine)

    After uninstalling the update, the "refuse to close" behavior is gone.

    E.g. I’ve 4 tabs open. I press Ctrl+W to attempt to close tab 2, but the tab doesn’t close. I switch to tab 3 then switch back to  tab 2 that I "closed" earlier, it just shows the "ghost image" of tab 3.

    At this stage I’m no longer able to create a new tab, nor close the whole window.

  29. Pissed off says:

    SO I have vista which requires me to have internet explorer of some version. I had internet explorer 7 and just downloaded 8 for no other reason than to hope for better security. I have been recieving popups even though I am not using IE. Music, infomercials, commercials  all types of audio comes up when I am trying to listen to music and watch movies. I use firefox so I don’t worry about adware normally. I hae spy bots, adware, windows defender, McAfee, popup blocker, no adware addon for firefox and malware bytes. And I haven’t used IE in over a year but these ads recently started sounding off on my computer. I notice only recently that it was IE running in the background because Vista requires it. When I use windows task manager to shut IE down the Ads suddenly stop.

    What do I have to do to prevent IE from being infected?

    And a recommendation that you do no repeat do not make IE a part of your next operating system. I know you guys want to corner the market but make better software first before you force people to use it.

  30. Khun T says:

    IE has a lot of problems with site. It pop up the error message that the script from this site cause IE to run slowly? Would you like to stop it.

    If answer no, it will keep asking a second later.

    If answer yes, it will make the IE freeze. Then, when try to close that IE window, either from the x mark, or close window, or using Task Manager, all the open IE (different window not tab) will be closed. That’s very bad. That I could not just kill just one IE session.

    My machine is Windows 7 with automatic update. The latest update of IE installed already. Running in Virtual Machine with 1 GB RAM allocate. The only add on are Live (full install for testing), Flash, SilverLight, and Acrobat Reader. No other add on installed.

  31. Marco says:

    IE 8 final when will lauch officially?

  32. jc_condor says:

    New version available Flash Player… Much more stable… the older (last two weeks)

    upgrades to version

    ==== BUG =========

    But the manage addons still reflects:

    Name:                   Shockwave Flash Object

    Publisher:              Adobe Systems Incorporated

    Type:                   ActiveX Control


    File date:              

    Date last accessed:     Jueves, 26 de Febrero de 2009, 06:34 a.m.

    Class ID:               {D27CDB6E-AE6D-11CF-96B8-444553540000}

    Use count:              274867

    Block count:            225

    File:                   Flash10b.ocx

    Folder:                 C:WINDOWSsystem32MacromedFlash

    going to the C:WINDOWSsystem32MacromedFlash

    folder I find:

    to flash10x.ocx (flash10a.ocx, flash10b.ocx)

    version for:

    flash10a.ocx is

    flash10b.ocx is

    closed and reopend several times browse and still shows old version number. will reboot and try again.

    Windows XP SP3

  33. jc_condor says:

    rebooted same result. Manage addons displays old version, but I am running the newone. I doble checked everything and I am sure I am running

  34. fr says:

    jc_condor: my manage addons is showing the correct version after updating, have you checked what version is being displayed at to make sure it installed correctly?

  35. len says:

    Just had this bug report drop in my inbox has it been filed in Connect yet?

    It looks like IE has issues with coordinating DOM updates on select lists unless they are closed.

    I’d also like to point out that this blog is not very good as it keeps flagging comments as spam and therefore doesn’t post them.  It would be nice if you either reduced the aggressiveness of the filter or provided some indication of what some of the triggers are.

    If the issue is with links being dropped in, just add the rel="nofollow" on all outbound links so that there is no gain for the evil ones.  You can always filter out posts after they have been published if they are deemed spam.

  36. len says:

    ok I think I figured it out.  You can’t put the URL in the "Your URL" field… ***AND*** put it in the body of the Comment.

    Its either one or the other.

    Would be nice if this was clarified somewhere, or just removed since it obviously doesn’t make any sense.

  37. jc_condor says:

    As I mentioned I really, REALLY checked. I’m adding a screen shot:

  38. Insight says:

    @po’d: If IExplore.exe is running in the background, and you didn’t start it, then the problem isn’t Vista, the problem is that your computer is infected with malware.  IE is a part of Vista and hence is *installed* but that doesn’t mean it ever runs.  

    You’ve got malware, and the fact that IE is installed has nothing to do with it.

  39. Insight says:

    @jc: What happens if you delete flash10a.ocx?

  40. jc_condor says:

    Insight: if you look at the image I provided previously you see it is gone. Not sure at what point it got deleted maby during a restart or after re-installing several times, but I confirm that the flash10a.ocx file is gone now the only one is flash10b.ocx. IE8 still reports older version, even thought that version is no loger installed.

  41. Zupo Llask says:

    I’m using IE8 RC1 on XP SP3 and on Vista Business SP1 64-bit.

    ALL the IE8 builds I tried are unable to stick to the latest defined windows status. If you haven’t noticed yet, please be my guest and try it:

    1. Close all IE8 windows you may have.

    2. Open a new IE8 window. If you want do it using the funniest way: a) right click a IE8 shortcut and click "Properties"; b) set "Run" to "Maximized"; c) click "OK"; d) use this shortcut to launch the new IE8 window.

    3. If the new launched window is not maximized, there you have it. But you can go on…

    4. Click the "Maximize" button and then click the "Close" button (or use Alt+F4; Ctrl+F4 doesn’t change the default windows status) to set the new default windows status.

    5. Use the same shortcut to launch a new IE8 window. Now it will run maximized as it should.

    6. Reboot your OS.

    7. Use the same shortcut to launch a new IE8 window. Now it won’t run maximized AGAIN.

    Herman, PLEASE fix this behaviour before the final release. All previous IE versions honoured the default windows status. This is super-annoying and it’s driving me crazy.

    It’s incredible how I haven’t found no one reporting this. I’ve reproduced this problem in ALL the computers I’ve found with an IE8 installation.

  42. fr says:

    @jc: I checked on my home pc running IE7 and it had the same problem, it definetly has but manage add-ons reported  I eventually tracked down the registry key that manage add-ons is reading…

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREMicrosoftCode Store DatabaseDistribution Units{D27CDB6E-AE6D-11CF-96B8-444553540000}InstalledVersion

    I don’t know why this is failing to update in some cases, it maybe a bug in the Flash Installer rather than IE unless anyone has spotted other add-ons with the wrong version shown.

  43. trent says:

    This site renders pretty horrible in IE8. the table of results is hardly readable.

    It looks fine in other browsers.

    switching to compatibility view seems to fix it.

  44. Larry F says:

    I wonder if the crash data collection can distinguish when an IE8 tab was killed via TerminateProcess() from another application.  IE8 does consider that to be a crash and restarts the tab, which breaks one of our corporate applications.  I would hate for my testing to be polluting the crash data 🙂

    I work for a company with over 400,000 Windows computers.  We are obviously not using IE8 yet, but I am testing some of our internal corporate applications with IE8.  One of our applications may occasionally use Create Process() or IELaunchURL()to create an IE process to display a form, the user fills in the form, clicks a button which downloads a file which starts another application.  When the original application detects that the new application has started it uses TerminateProcess() to kill the browser process that it started.  Although this works with earlier versions of IE and with the other browsers that we support, it does not have the desired result when using IE8, and to the end user, the form just remains displayed after they have clicked the button and expect the form to go away.

  45. A major oversight by *all* vendors…

    This should be supported though isn’t!

    #menu a:hover:focus {background-color: #888; color: yellow;}

    Just testing this in Safari 4 Beta, IE8RC1, Firefox 3.0, and Opera 10A.

  46. IE Connect Bug report…

    Mozilla bug test case…

    Opera bug test case…

    This is a *MAJOR* oversight because all existing sites could instantly add keyboard accessibility support by finding…


    and replacing it with…


    Besides that IE8 looks pretty solid, good luck!

  47. @ Khun T

    Thanks for sending this feedback. The behavior you’ve experienced is expected as the Crash Recovery feature in IE8 on Vista and XP is designed for handling crashes only.

  48. @Zupo Llask

    Thanks for giving us this feedback. We will assess this issue along with our other remaining issues for this release.

  49. Liju says:

    I have been trying to get this reliability update through windows update for Win 7 and have not received any so far – anyone actually been able to download this update?

  50. JossB says:

    @EricLaw : Then why not introducing a new API for future ActiveX to be run out of process and warn the users that in-process ActiveX might be less secure ? I would love to see the extension bars in IE to be out of process ; they do not require much performance and it could improve browser stability a lot ! In a sense it is the same aproach as Windows kernel did with the User Mode Driver Framework. After a while, you could simply prevent ActiveXs from loading in Process… Starting from non signed ActiveX / add-ons.

  51. Greg Hopkins says:

    If this fix came down in the 2/24 WIndows 7 update, you made the problem worse3

  52. Greg Hopkins says:

    If this fix came down in the 2/24 WIndows 7 update, you made the problem worse3

  53. Michael says:

    Internet explorer is sooo BAAAAD don’t understand why I can’t delete my history or whatever it is….. my worst nightmare why do microsoft meke it more difficult in this Internet exlorer 8????

  54. Michael says:

    Internet explorer is sooo BAAAAD don’t understand why I can’t delete my history or whatever it is….. my worst nightmare why do microsoft meke it more difficult in this Internet exlorer 8???? and can’t clear it off

  55. Dan says:

    Michael, maybe if you tried to explain your problem using proper sentences, people could help you out?

  56. Glen Fingerholz says:

    @Pissed Off

    "What do I have to do to prevent IE from being infected"

    First off, you’re already infected with nasties and maybe a root-kit too (those have become way too common). Too late for prevention. Sadly, you don’t have to just visit shady sites to get this stuff. Legitimate ad servers are being used to deploy exploits, as are exploited web sites. Turning off JS kind of ruins the web, so your best bet is to keep stuff up to date (Windows, Browsers, and 3rd party components used by them e.g. Adobe Reader, Java, MS Office) and pay attention to vulnerability notices. That seems to be the state of things right now, which is pretty bad for your average user since they’re not likely to be all that proactive.

    Furthermore, it may not have been IE that is responsible for your issue (although it’s being used by the malware apparently). Adobe Reader has had some pretty severe security issues lately (and it’s by default embedded in your browser, as is their JS engine turned on). And when you turn off the JS support (work-around against several of the issues so far), every darn PDF file that has JS in it causes reader to pester you with a dialog you can’t get rid of. And when I upgraded from 8.0 to 9.0, they TURNED THE ADOBE JS BACK ON WITHOUT TELLING ME (/rant)!

  57. Login says:

    My machine is Windows 7 with automatic update. The latest update of IE installed already.  

  58. Gopal says:

    Will the final version of IE8 be available for windows7_beta_7000 or will we have to wait for the win7_RC.

  59. Shamunda says:

    How does the recent 0-Day exploit from the pwn2wn challange also affect IE8 in W7?

    Secondly, without the details of the exploit, why are there never any immediate discussion of what went wrong even after Microsoft has confirmed the issue?

    I’m not interested in knowning the exact details in nature, however i’m curious to discuss how it could have been averted in the first place without the use of patches.  If that is at all possible.


  60. vbcomer says:

    I am using IE8 Beta with Windows 7. IE8 crashes/freezes very often. It would recover after a minute or two, but it is extremely annoying. I checked my update history and saw the update that some of you said would improve IE8. Actually it did not improve anything. I am disabling most of add-ons (except for the ones from Microsoft Corporation) to see if it helps, but like someone said above, how useful it is to run a browser with no add-ons?

  61. IEBlog says:

    Thank you to everyone who has provided the IE Team with feedback on IE8. Your dedication to making this

  62. After installing IE8 on my desk top computer I find that I can’t search for text on a webpage. When I press Ctrl-F or use Edit->Find on Page, a new tool bar appears below the tab but there is no text box to type into. When I start typing I don’t see text appear anywhere.

    I then installed IE 8 on my laptop.  The search option in IE8 is working on my laptop, but not my desk top.

    I went to this address and uninstalled IE8. As a religious act I ran two malware programs and let the virus scanner check my drive over night. I then installed IE8 this morning. The result is the same. When I press Ctrl – F, a new bar is introduced on the browser but there is no text field to enter text, labels or prompts.

    Can you let me know where I can file a bug report or find information to fix this problem.


  63. IEBlog says:

    In a previous post , Andy wrote about some of the new features we introduced to improve reliability in

  64. Esta build (7100. 0. winmain_ win7rc. 090421- 1700) foi compilada na passada Terça- Feira e ao que parece já começou a ser distribuída a parceiros OEM.

  65. IEBlog says:

    With the “final” release of IE8 for Windows Vista and other versions of Windows in several languages

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