I had a strange experience while writing one of my weekly newsletters. One feature of web browsers is that you can drag an HTML file into the web browser and the browser will show the web page that the file creates.
Normally, I preview the newsletter in Firefox as I write it. As a final step, I actually use Pro Dada (the mailing list software I use) to mail me a test message.
In this case, I had been reading Microsoft’s site about Windows Genuine Advantage and the Windows Genuine Advantage Notifications (Microsoft treats them as two different programs, so we need to think of them that way). I use I.E. on Microsoft’s site, one of the very few places where I think it is appropriate to use I.E.
I went back to editing the newsletter…I dragged and dropped my email newsletter’s HTML file into Internet Explorer — and got a loud “BONK” and a warning banner at the top of the window that said “To help protect your security, Internet Explorer has restricted this file from showing active content that could access your computer. Click here for options…”
Gee, my first thought was “there isn’t any active content in my email newsletter!”
My second thought was “those IDIOTS!”
Under the misleading guise of giving us a message that Internet Explorer is protecting us from “active content” in the file, Microsoft is arbitrarily showing this message for ANY HTML FILE that is dragged and dropped into I.E.!
I tried a test. I created a completely blank HMTL page and named it test.html.
The contents of text.html were:
These are the minimum HTML tags to create a web page. There is no content on the web page. If I wanted it to display “This is a test.” I would put “This is a test.”, without the quotes, between the <body> and the </body> tags.
So, I saved the file. Then, I dragged and dropped the file into I.E. 6, the one that came with Windows XP SP2 — in other words, the latest version!
What happened? Internet Explorer told me that it was protecting me!
“To help protect your security, Internet Explorer has restricted this file from showing active content that could access your computer. Click here for options…”
If you click on the X to close the warning, it just pops up again. Real Security? I think not.
Thanks for the help, Microsoft. How about real security in Internet Explorer?
I read yesterday that the new Internet Explorer 7 will give us a major security improvement for I.E. I hope so. I also hope they’ve taken out some of these fake messages (I assume there are others that similarly claim to be protecting you when the content they’re protecting you against doesn’t exist!
False messages like this are like yelling “There’s a burglar!” every time someone knocks on the door. Maybe worse — giving you the sense that I.E. really is protecting you!