If you’ve noticed Internet Explorer running slowly lately—or just halting altogether—here’s one possible cause: dialog boxes.
On Friday, the same day that Microsoft recommended users download the latest updates for Windows 7 and 8, Microsoft issued a hotfix for Internet Explorer. According to a support article issued Friday, “web applications that implement consecutive modal dialog boxes may cause Internet Explorer to become slow and unresponsive over time.”
Microsoft issued the hotfix for Internet Explorer versions 7 through 11—basically every major version.
What’s a “modal dialog box”? It’s a dialog box that an application interjects, forcing you to take some action. It could be, for example, a box asking what to do with a downloaded file, or a query confirming that you really want to close a window. If they happen consecutively, IE’s performance could slow, or the browser could simply stop working altogether.
Note that only users who stay up to date with Internet Explorer are being penalized. Specifically, if you’ve updated the MS14-037 or MS14-051 cumulative security updates, you’re vulnerable.
Unfortunately for Microsoft, Friday was one of those days you’d like to forget. Fortunately, Microsoft’s hotfix for Internet Explorer is a much simpler update than the registry fixes you’ll need to apply to back out of the botched August update that Microsoft began rolling out this week. Either way, it’s still a headache that you’ll need to deal with either tonight or when you return to work on Monday morning.
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As PCWorld's senior editor, Mark focuses on Microsoft news and chip technology, among other beats. He has formerly written for PCMag, BYTE, Slashdot, eWEEK, and ReadWrite.
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