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Interesting Post-Win8.1 GA IE Shenanigans and Other Complaints

I’ve upgraded three machines to the Windows 8.1 GA release now, including my primary production machine (I reported on an in-place upgrade on this machine from Windows 7 SP1 to Windows 8 on October 4 in a post entitled “True Win7 to Win8 Upgrade Goes Suprisingly Well“). I can now observe that I’m experiencing many more noticeable behavioral changes in Windows 8.1 since I completed that upgrade on Friday of last week. Most noticeable — and sometimes vexing — has been the tightened up security inside Internet Explorer 11 in the wake of this latest software update.

So far, I’ve noticed the following changes:

1. Tightened security for use of Java and JavaScript in web pages
2. Requirements to add https:// URLs to the Trusted Sites list (these had been included automatically, in earlier releases, even if the “require server verification” option was unchecked on the Trusted sites display — no longer true!)
3. Much tighter controls on log-in pages, or other pages requiring authentication of any kind
4. I get quizzed pretty much any time a web page wants to run active content (ActiveX, Java, JavaScript or whatever) to do its thing.

For me, the symptoms of this trouble popped up in working with LinkedIn, a site I visit multiple times daily, and to which I post blog and article notifications as the fruits of my labor become available to the general public. I found myself unable to login to LinkedIn at all, until I added both the plain-vanilla home page and the secure login page to my Trusted sites list in IE. I’d never, ever been required to do this before, not even in the RTM version of Windows 8.1. On the plus side, IE now balks at loading advertisements in LinkedIn and lets me block such items:

I now get to refuse ad updates when beneath the LinkedIn umbrella.

I now get to refuse ad updates when beneath the LinkedIn umbrella.

Some other interesting gotchas have cropped up, including:
1. An inability to access my contact information from iCloud in MS Outlook 2013 (this worked fine until I applied the 8.1 upgrade to my 8.0 production machine; now I have to open iCloud on the web to access contact data). So I went back to a recent backup of my PST file and have re-imported my Contacts from there. I’m guessing the iCloud/Outlook synch operation is broken, too.
2. I did have to re-install two drivers after the Windows 8.1 upgrade had completed (the ICH10 Family SMBus Controller – 3A30 item, previously updated last week using the version of the Intel chipset drivers, and the RealTek HD audio drivers, which may actually have been a legit update). I’ve noticed only a few such items in the wake of upgrading to 8.1, but they do seem to occur on a onesie-twosie basis (somewhat puzzling, since I’d updated these items under 8.0 previously).
3. My printer drivers (Samsung ML-2850 and Dell 2255cn) had to be reinstalled on networked machines in all cases, and on the machine to which the Dell has a USB connection as well.

Although the upgrade has gone smoothly on every machine to which I’ve applied it, there have still been a few mostly minor hiccups in its wake. Nothing I can’t live with, or fix, so far though.

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