It isn't very often I come across such bad advice from IT departments - actually that's a lie - in my experience most IT departments are clueless, yes neighbouring County Councils I hear about you guys a lot. But this has to be one of the dumbest things I've things I've come across.
Iowa State's student newspaper reports that Internet Explorer 8 isn't compatible with their Web Course Tools software, software which by the way is generally regarded as breaking almost every web accessibility rule in the book.
Anyway, their IT department wrongly claims that IE8 was released this weekend. It was released a month ago. Automatic rollouts will start this week in very small numbers, but even they're not automatic, and require the user to actually accept the installation.
The department also recommends students using Internet Explorer turn off automatic updates to their browsers.
What? Turn off automatic updates? Are you utterly incompetent or just INSANE? I have a general rule of thumb for dealing with people who recommend average computer users turn off automatic updates, that rule involves punching them in the face, words just cannot express the utter stupidity of such a statement.
They then recommend that people who have already installed IE8 uninstall it. Alright fair enough, if you didn't do your job properly 12 months ago and test these things and there's no other option, yes they're going to have to uninstall it. But they go on and say "run the browser in Internet Explorer 7 compatibility mode."
What? You're telling me it works in compatibility mode and you're telling people to uninstall it? You're telling me that you recommend people waste 20 minutes uninstalling it, and go back to a slower and more insecure browser than take the 0.5 seconds to press the compatibility icon next to the address bar? Are you utterly incompetent or just NUTS?
Incompetent and LAZY by my reckoning. If compatibility mode works you don't even need to hassle your users to do anything - you guys could actually make the change on your server so it tells IE8 to render in compatibility mode. How? If you're using IIS use this in your web.config file:
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<add name="X-UA-Compatible" value="IE=EmulateIE7" />
If you're using Apache uncomment this:
LoadModule headers_module modules/mod_headers.so
And then add this:
Header set X-UA-Compatible "IE=EmulateIE7"
Seriously guys, why didn't you test this 12 months ago when the first beta version of IE8 was released and implement the above fix? Doing that would have meant your users wouldn't have even noticed any difference, it all would have happened completely transparently to them. Why did you wait until a month after its release to even realise something isn't working right, and then why did you give your users such bad advice?
Raise your game, there's a reason IT departments are getting a bad rep.