If you've noticed Internet Explorer running slowly lately--or just halting altogether--here's one possible cause: dialog boxes.
On Friday, the same day that Microsoft recommended users update its latest update for Windows 7 and 8--Microsoft issued a hotfix for Internet Explorer. A support article issued Friday describes how web applications that implement consecutive modal dialog boxes may cause Internet Explorer to become slow and unresponsive over time.
Microsoft issued the hotfix for Internet Explorer versions 7 through 11--so, basically every major version.
What's a "modal dialog box"? Simply put, it's a dialogue box that an application interjects, forcing you to take some action. It could be a box asking you want to do with a downloaded file, a query wanting to know if you really want to close a window, et cetera. And if they happen consecutively, Microsoft warns could become either slow or simply stop working altogether.
Note that only users who stay up to date with Internet Explorer are being penalized; specifically if you've updated the MS14-037 or MS14-051 cumulative security updates, you're vulnerable. Microsoft's support page lists the updates you'll need to apply, which for now is nothing more than an update package. Still, you'll need to restart your PC to apply it.
Unfortunately for Microsoft, Friday was one of those days you'd like to forget. Fortunately, Microsoft's hotfix for Internet Explorer is a much simpler update than the registry fixes than you'll need to apply to back out of the botched August update that Microsoft began rolling out this week. Nevertheless, it's still a headache that you'll either need to deal with tonight, on the weekend, or when you return to work on Monday morning.