Like a civilized society a civilized corporate network is based on the laws that exist and the enforcement of them. Very legalistic view I know but boy if your goal is actually uptime and not always being the hero by swooping in and recovering after the major crash then this philosophy sure seems to work. If only I had a police force or better yet my own military to enforce my rules…ok back to reality.
This week I found a reason to break my rule. First the reason is Internet Explorer 7 (IE7) The rule is that I don’t like to put Beta software onto production workstations. They leak memory usually and other things have problems. You see IE7 is not yet a released piece of software. It is so far along in the Beta process that it is called Release Candidate 1 (RC1). I have had it installed on a non-critical computer for a while now. It has done fine but I hadn’t thought of actually using the software yet.
The real problem: back a while ago I added MSN toolbar to my IE and loved the tab browsing and other features such as Phishing Filter, Pop-Up blocker and recently I have been playing with RSS feeds and Windows Live (live.com). So back a while ago I updated the toolbar and I started getting IE sessions lock up on me. It would happen mostly when I closed the session. It wouldn’t close and I got a blank page saying it was “about”. I couldn’t figure about what? So then I happened upon the LIVE toolbar. (figured it’s better than the dead toolbar apparently I was using and upgraded.) Now my sessions started locking if I clicked on a link that opened a new IE session it would sometimes lock up. Results varied. But basically I was having to go into Task Manager and nuke iexplore.exe a number of times a day. Sometimes every half hour. I contacted Microsoft they acknowledged the problem, said they were working on a permenant solution and gave me some tips that “had helped some users”. They didn’t help but I think eventually they did. I had to do a disk clean up of temp files and run a program to remove fragments left over from Windows Installation programs. So that clean up I think eventually helped but not immediately. I tested and still had the problem.
Now remember back to my test computer with IE7. I started thinking you know I have been running that computer for a while now and haven’t had any problem. So I began a more rigorous testing of that machine and felt good. I also found out that IE7 is likely to release this month. I decided not to wait. I cleaned up again and instead of re-installing the Live toolbar I installed IE7 RC1. I’ve been a few days now and the results are great. The odd thing is my computer has actually speed up in the process. Must be using memory more efficiently. I have all the features that I cared about from the previous toolbar, better improved tabbed browsing, and some enhanced search capabilites (I can pick and choose search engines on the fly there are many of them out there such as eBay, Amazon, Wikipedia, etc (I tried to find one for Encarta but haven’t yet, sad). So there you go Beta software actually performed better than released software. You know thinking about it I broke the rule before also I installed Miscrosoft Expressions – Graphic Designer and had upgraded a few times in their process. So far I have come to depend on that program.
I’ve broken the rules, and now it’s a good thing I don’t have a military because they would shoot me on the spot as a traitor.
Update: I had a customer install IE7 and after doing so lost connection to the Internet. On the other hand I thought I should try a couple more machines. I successfully installed on another of my computers and at a test computer at a customer setup similar to the one where it didn't work. So far all my tests have been successful so I'm not yet sure why the other one didn't work.