Windows Enterprise Desktop

Sep 1 2010   8:28PM GMT

IE8 and Flash Are My Only Stability Problems: Lucky Me!

Ed Tittel Ed Tittel Profile: Ed Tittel

Only occasional app gotchas mar this otherwise serene runtime environment

Only occasional app gotchas mar this otherwise serene runtime environment

Take a look at my recent Reliability Monitor output on my primary production machine. Last year, this thing kept giving me fits until I finally got all the hardware squared away. But what you see here is entirely typical of my experience with this X38-DQ6/QX9650/4GB DDR3-1600 machine for the past six months and more.

The only gotchas I’m currently experiencing occur once a week or so (or twice in quick succession over two-plus weeks, as the previous graph shows). The offending application is Internet Explorer 8, but it only blows up when I meet the following criteria:

  • I have multiple tabs open in a single window and/or multiple windows open as well
  • I am running Flash in one or more of those windows
  • I leave the browser open for some indeterminate amount of time (more than half a hour, less than a day)
  • I try to close one or more browser tabs and/or windows

When I do this, the results are annoying rather than catastrophic: IE goes away for a while with a (Not Responding) status in the title bar, but eventually comes back. Somewhere along the way one or more of the tabs or Windows where Flash is running crash, and the runtime shuts them down without affecting my desktop or stability in any other way.

Nevertheless, I have to take a hickey in Reliability Monitor each and every time this happens. Each time it occurs, it costs my reliability index between 1.3 and 1.5 points (when this happened on my machine on 8/20/2010, for example, my index dropped from 9.99 to 8.40; then when it happened again on 8/21/2010, it dropped from 8.56 to 7.22). If I turn Flash off, this problem doesn’t occur. But when I turn Flash off, there’s invariably stuff I can’t see or interact with online to which I need access to do my job. So I have to turn Flash on, and take the occasional hickey when it shows up. I just wish there was a way I could charge Adobe for the loss of reliability on my system that their software is apparently causing.

Anybody got any good suggestions for dealing with this stuff? Yeah, sure, I can work (or maybe I should say “limp”) around it, but that ends up not doing me that much good, either. Is this what they call a “necessary evil?”

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