Over the weekend, a longtime Windows user wrote to me with a problem I thought Microsoft had fixed ages ago. Silly me -- with the company's recent admonition to IE9 and IE10 users to upgrade to IE11 or install the "SnowMan" Windows Fix it, IE11's infuriating tendency to clobber Windows 7 gadgets has come back on the radar screen.
Here's what JH said:
With the "SnowMan" attack on IE9 and IE10 spreading, I decided to (finally) download IE11 (even though I use Firefox.) Unfortunately, as soon as the update was finished and I rebooted, my old gadgets (clock, CPU/RAM meter, calendar and Avast indicator) either lost most of their graphics (CPU/RAM) or disappeared altogether (clock and Avast.) Only the calendar was unaffected.
Now I know those are old gadgets ('cause the others are all long-gone due to security concerns) except for the Avast gadget (added by the latest versions of Avast) but I really use them (especially the clock and calendar.) So I had to restore to get my gadgets back.
I assumed that Microsoft had fixed this long-known problem ages ago, but a quick run to the Microsoft Answers Forum proved me wrong. There appears to be a workaround that involves resetting the "zoom" DPI setting for Windows itself -- but the workaround doesn't help everyone, and those fortunate enough to get their gadgets back claimed they're too small to be usable.
Of course, Microsoft has exactly zero incentive to make gadgets co-exist with Internet Explorer 11. There are no gadgets in Windows 8, only in Windows 7 and Vista. In October 2011, Microsoft abruptly cut off support for gadgets, shuttered the website that hosted them, and generally warned Win7/Vista customers to stop using them. While there are certainly good security reasons for cutting off some types of gadgets, it isn't at all clear that simple gadgets -- the kinds most people, like JH, use -- pose a security threat.
But they do pose some competition to Metro tiles, at least if you turn sideways and squint real hard.
Regardless of motivation, all gadgets got thrown out with the bathwater 18 months ago. I don't expect to see any Redmond crocodile tears shed for their demise. Fixing IE11 so it plays well with gadgets doesn't seem to be in the cards.
You can have IE11, or you can have gadgets. Those are your choices in the big leagues.
This story, "IE11 still zaps Windows 7 gadgets," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Get the first word on what the important tech news really means with the InfoWorld Tech Watch blog. For the latest developments in business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.