"Please Upgrade Your Browser to IE8 or Above": But I’m Already Running IE8!

This one is from way off in left field, but it explains many oddities that I’ve seen over the last 6 or more months, I think. Stick with me as I explain it. There are some goodies along the way, as well as the solution to this problem. At the very least, I get to gratuitously stick a bunch of cool images and logos into a pretty long post.

imageYesterday I saw a tweet from my good friends over at TripIt (if you travel, even only occasionally, you *must* try TripIt!) about all the cool sites that are now integrating with them. One imageof those, called Tripline, caught my eye. An article at TripIt’s blog called How Many Third Party Apps Have You Synced with TripIt? says:

Easily make sharable, animated trips with photos, music, links, and stories.  Once you connect your Tripline account with TripIt, you can import your TripIt trips into Tripline, which will automatically create a travel map for this trip, equipped with travel dates and places. It’s a great way to share your trips with friends, or relive them later.

To get started, create your free Tripline account, then connect your TripIt account on their settings page.

imageWimageell, yeah, that sounded awesome. So I signed up immediately using the browser on my iPhone from my couch. Of course, that experience left a little to be desired, so today I went to load up Tripline on my laptop, and the site told me that I had an unsupported browser and I should upgrade to IE8.

Now wait a cotton-pickin’ minute! I am running IE8!

imageCome to think of it, Microsoft’s sites have told me I should upgrade my browser for months, too, and way before IE9 was in beta. (See, this goes back a while.) Proud Microsoft supporter that I am, I assumed that they had a bug in their browser detection and kept ignoring it.

Well, this really annoyed me, so I turned to Twitter for help, and my pals Matt Bramer (@IOnline247) and Brian T Jackett (@BrianTJackett) suggested turning off add-ons and checking the Compatibility Mode, respectively. Nope and nope. However, since I had imageChrome installed and WhatIsMyBrowser.com told me that I was running Chrome, which was claiming to be IE8 (this was a red herring), I uninstalled Chrome, imageGoogle Gears, and imageChrome Frame. Still no dice. At least WhatIsMyBrowser.com was telling me at that point that I was running IE8, but on Windows XP!image I have been running imageWindows 7 since the beta, thank you very much! (FWIW, I like Chrome, but even though Matt keeps telling me to switch to it completely, my clients mainly use IE, and so I mainly use IE. Besides, I’ve used IE since imageversion 1.0. Why switch?)

Where the heck is this going, you might ask? Well, stay with me.

Since Tripline seemed really intriguing, and this whole “you’re running an old browser” thing was now truly pissing me off, I decided to email Tripline to see if they could tell me why they wanted to upgrade my already fairly fresh browser. Here, I probably owe the Tripline folks an apology, since I had an inkling that it wasn’t a problem on their end, but I really didn’t know.

Well, it was Byron at Tripline HQ to the rescue, I’ll tell you. Unlike many support experiences (don’t get me started), this one was A#1 top notch. I got an email back almost immediately, and Byron really wanted to figure this one out.

Byron suggested the Compatibility View angle (as we already know, that was a dead end), but in his next email, he asked me to check what my browser was reporting in its User Agent string by typing

javascript:alert(navigator.userAgent)

into the address bar. (See this MSDN article for details on what this does.)image

Now we were getting somewhere. Here’s what I got:

SNAGHTML112c7b7

imageByron saw what was going on right away (highlighted above). My browser was reporting that it was IE8 just fine, but it was also reporting that it was IE6! Byron pointed me to this article which, way down at the bottom, suggests what might be happening and how to fix it. (I’ve taken the liberty to copy that section of the article below. Thanks to Eric Lawrence and his EnhanceIE site.)

I found the offending User Agent string in the

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Internet Settings\User Agent\Post Platform

key and just for completeness, I searched the registry for other occurrences of “MSIE 6.0″ and found the following:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\Microsoft\Windows Search\Gathering Manager

image

I left that one alone, but interesting, eh?

So, I deleted the offending value in the

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Internet Settings\User Agent\Post Platform

key, rebooted, and wah-la: I’m running IE8 again!

Here’s my nice, clean User Agent string, and now I’m even running the 64 bit version of Windows 7 when I go to WhatIsMyBrowser.com.

SNAGHTML31bfb6

 

Whew.

Thanks again to Byron at Tripline. Check out their stuff. It looks totally awesome. Especially in IE8.

 

Solution from the Eric Lawrence at his EnhanceIE site

Problem: Nested UA String

In this case, the User-Agent string is corrupted, with two instances of the Mozilla/4.0 token. This typically is caused by a bad registry key. Problems of this nature are caused by poorly written addons or utilities that write incorrect values to the registry.

GET / HTTP/1.1
Accept-Language: en-us
User-Agent: Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 8.0; Windows NT 5.1; Trident/4.0; Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; Windows NT 5.1; SV1) ; .NET CLR 3.5.30729; InfoPath.2)
Accept-Encoding: gzip, deflate
Connection: Keep-Alive
Host: 192.168.10.1

As you can see in the example above, an IE6 user-agent string is written in the middle of the IE8 user-agent string. This bad string is dynamically generated out of a registry key. By removing the registry key, you can fix the problem.

To fix this, click START > RUN > REGEDIT.EXE. Using RegEdit, navigate to these four keys:
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Internet Settings\5.0\User Agent\Post Platform
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Internet Settings\User Agent\Post Platform
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Internet Settings\5.0\User Agent\Post Platform
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Internet Settings\User Agent\Post Platform

…and remove any elements from the “Name/Type/Value” list that contain Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; Windows NT 5.1; SV1) ;

For 64 bit computers, also check:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Wow6432Node\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Internet Settings\5.0\User Agent\Post Platform

6 Comments

  1. Ok, this is one to bookmark; I can see this coming back in the wee hours of the morning one day while testing and having no idea how to fix it ;-)

    Very interesting article, and I shall have to try out this Tripline–sounds slick!

    Reply
  2. Nice find but the real question is how it got to be this way in the first place. Is this an edge case because for example I’m not seeing it on the few thousand desktops we manage. Curious what tool might have thrown this off kilter.

    Reply
    • Darn good question, Bil. The working theory is that some software I installed along the way did it somehow, but I have no idea what it might have been. Since there’s the post at Eric Lawrence’s site about it, it must happen enough to go to the trouble to write it up. I don’t know of Eric, but his site says that he is a program manager for the Internet Explorer project at Microsoft.

      M..

      Reply
  3. Thanks for this useful post. My wife uses IE and was havng this issue, so I finally decided to fix it. We have a 64-bit PC and the registry edit that you provided for it worked just fine. Incidentally, I just deleted all the data for that registry key as I wasn’t sure what to remove. Everything is working fine now!

    Reply

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