05 June, 2006

IE Causes Problems with Project 2003

On Friday I installed Microsoft Project Standard 2003, and the main view window was completely blank. I went through the menus and options, tried updating Windows and the Project Service Pack, and tried to repair and also re-install. Nothing helped. I called Microsoft -- they give you two free calls for their $600 package.

It took 20 minutes to get an agent (roughly 10 minutes of hold and 10 minutes for a Call Taker to start a trouble ticket). I spend another 35 minutes with a Project Specialist, and nothing he had me try worked. He promised to call me on Monday, and he did, but after another 20 minutes, he was stuck again. He promised to have a more senior person call by Tuesday.

During the two calls, I learned that through disabling the Display Project Guide feature, everything else works. I also learned that this feature requires Internet Explorer -- I wonder why that is? I mean apparently Microsoft has not learned their lesson about making applications dependant on IE. And further, if the Project Guide feature is not required to use Project, and yet it is dependant on IE, why set it on as a default?

After the last call, I was thinking, since I have had to adjust other security settings with IE to figure out how to solve various problems when running content locally that this may be just another case of IE requiring lower security settings for a local website... err local software now, Microsoft Project. I had already figured out how to enable the My Computer security task (inside IE: Internet Options | Security), since without a registry change you cannot get to these settings, so I opened the settings window and set it from High to Low. And would you know it, Project's Project Guide feature worked.

Now I am just baffled by Microsoft -- let's review the facts:
  • The develop a feature in a $600 software package that requires Internet Explorer
  • Your security to run local content through your browser (My Computer) must be set to Low for this feature to work
  • They set it to be on by default, and if your security is not set to Low, the software application is useless until you discover how to disable the feature
  • You cannot change your local content security unless you change the Registry manually
  • The poor Tech Support guy (who seemed to know a lot, and was friendly), does not have any information on this
  • Did I mention I paid $600 for this software?
  • How about that I do not as a practice use IE due to security issues, and when I must, prefere to have it set to High
  • The Tech Support guy had me remove my Google Toolbar and also had feared that it may not work if IE was not my primary browser
So, the next time you hear someone shy away from a Microsoft application, perhaps you will understand why.

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