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Monday, April 13, 2009

Internet Explorer and Windows Explorer are not the same thing

Today, after filing a 'bug report' with the Commonweath Bank of Australia's NetBank, I have got a call from their staff and I was then passed across to the NetBank's support.

The support staff then told to bring up Windows Explorer and then go to Tools | Internet Option menu.

I was taken aback as I know my Windows very well and hence I asked her to repeat that again. This is my Windows Explorer's Tools menu:

As you can see this does not have the "Internet Options" menu item. When I pointed this out to her that Windows Explorer did not have an "Internet Options" menu item, she became rather stroppy.

Realizing what she really wanted was the Internet Explorer, I fired up IE8, which she knew I was using, as it was pointless arguing with someone who clearly had less clue than me:

Which clearly shows the presence of the "Internet Options".

Well she was partly correct. The Windows Explorer could embedded a copy of IE6 in it and when that happened, IE6 would have merged the Explorer's menu resulting in the Tools Menu containing the Internet Options as show here:
This was captured in a XP machine with IE6 installed. This is only available after you have navigated to a web page.

It is important to use precise language in a support situation otherwise it can result in conflicts. As an advice to support staff, you should use steps that are as independent as possible from environment issues; in this case the version of Internet Explorer makes a lot of difference. Hence if the support staff wanted the customer to go to Internet Options, it would be far better to use the following navigational path:
Start | Control Panel | Internet Options

This will work for all versions of Internet Explorer and would avoid all sorts of misunderstanding.

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