A Niceville reader finds an answer to his problem in another column by our resident computer geek.
Q: Regarding my question you responded to in Issue No. 624, July 13, 2019. I believe you by chance solved my problem using the advice in today’s issue (Online Searches) (Geek Note: I.G.T.M. No. 670, May 30, 2020). My problem was with my browser. I switched browser to MicroSoft Edge and this solved the problem. I think my copy of Internet Explorer must be damaged. Anyhow, thanks for the article today and keep safe!
– Bill H., Niceville
In the spirit of that ideal, let’s talk a little about your fix, Bill. As far as Internet Explorer (IE for short) goes, the very final version was released Sept. 10, 2019. Even at that point, IE was basically a dead product, as Microsoft introduced its new browser named Edge for Windows 10 – and that was way back on July 29, 2015. I can’t imagine why Microsoft chose to release both browsers in parallel for such a long period. That would seem to be a wide divergence from their usual habit of taking software to end-of-life with relative expediency so they can get it off their support books. If your system was still defaulted to IE, I’m surprised that the issue about which you originally wrote-in was the only one you were having.
But why? Your original question to me was about Outlook, not IE (or any other browser for that matter). The answer dates to decisions that Microsoft made on their products way back in the mid-1990s. Decisions which, in fact, directly lead to the antitrust case of United States v. Microsoft Corporation in which the U.S. government accused Microsoft of illegally maintaining a monopoly over the PC market by making it difficult or impossible to remove IE from Windows to allow use of other browsers. Microsoft contended that forward-thinking and innovation had driven the integration of IE so deeply into Windows that the two could no longer be separated. A browser’s primary task is to render hypertext markup language (HTML) code into formatted, human-readable text. This allows web pages to display various colors, fonts, even graphics. These are natural tasks of other software such as email readers, file explorers, word processors, etc. Speaking as someone who has been a software engineer for going on 35 years, I can state with authority that it is a common practice to re-use libraries of code to streamline development and storage requirements of larger systems. To me, it makes perfect sense that core code from Microsoft’s web browser would be integrated deeply into other Microsoft products, including Outlook. This could indeed cause problems in those applications when the browser became deprecated or otherwise had support issues.
It's all terribly complicated, and probably beyond the level where most users even care – that is, until it stops working. Now that you’ve told me that switching your browser fixed the problem, I’d like to point out that in my reply to you in Issue No. 624 I suggested that you read issue No. 587, which contained information about default web browsers, and how to change yours.
Geek Note: Questions! I need your questions! My question queue is running on empty. Now, I know that you need answers. Well I need questions – it’s a match made in heaven! So, visit my website and ask away!
To view additional content, comment on articles, or submit a question of your own, visit my website at ItsGeekToMe.co (not .com!)