Last week, I reported that Microsoft had quietly placed a new, bug-fix version of Internet Explorer 5 on its download site. This week, I cover more things that IE does and does not do.
Developer Bill Menees reported a problem with IE 5. Menees' ClockBand program replaces the TaskBar Clock with one that can show the date, day of the week, seconds, and other stuff. It works fine if you install it under IE 4.0 and then upgrade to IE 5. But Menees says ClockBand isn't displayed if installed after IE 5.
Developers of other resizable TaskBar toolbars are reportedly having the same experience. Try ClockBand yourself at members. home.net/bmenees/ Miscellaneous.htm.
I asked a Microsoft representative to comment on this problem.
A week later, no definitive information has turned up. Maybe next week.
Meanwhile, there are other "gotchas" that Microsoft does know about - and that you can do something to fix.
For example, there has been talk on the Internet about a security bug in IE 5. Say you view a secure Web page that requires a password. Now, anyone who has access to your PC can get into that same page without your password - even after you've closed IE and logged out of Windows 98 or Windows NT.
All the intruder needs to do is go back through your IE history and find that "secure" site. When the password dialog box appears, clicking Cancel, then Back, then Forward allows the intruder in. This "new" bug is actually a known problem with IE 4.0 as well.
A work-around in IE 5 is to pull down the Tools menu, then click Options. Click the Advanced tab, scroll down to "Security", and turn on "Empty Temporary Internet Files Folder When Browser Is Closed".
In IE 4.0, click View, Internet Options, Advanced, then scroll to "Security", and turn on "Delete Saved Pages When Browser Closed".
Another serious security problem is the DHTML Edit bug. This mainly affects IE 5, although you also may have the problem in IE 4.0 if you ever downloaded updates.
This so-called Dynamic HTML (DHTML) bug allows a bad webmaster to copy files with known file names from your hard drive without your knowledge. Microsoft recently issued a patch for this problem. Another patch is available for several security holes in mshtml.dll, a file used by both IE 4.0 and 5.
To get the fixes, go to www.microsoft.com/ windows/ie/security/default.asp, then click "DHTML Edit Control Update" or "MSHTML update", respectively.
Good news for IE 5 users
If you're already using IE 5 successfully - and you're ready for some more tools and toys - a plethora of them are available for download from Microsoft. Here's a sampling.
New York Times Bar: news every 10 minutes, stock quotes, and more.
Alexa: sits on the bottom of your browser window and lists Web sites that are related to the one you're currently looking at.
Web Developer Accessories: ever waded through pages of HTML code to find just one feature of a Web page? This tool allows you to highlight just part of a page, then right-click it and select "View Partial Source".
I haven't tested any of these yet, but they sound interesting.
To find them, go to www.microsoft.com/windows/ ie/webaccess/default.asp.