Microsoft Office Live Connector makes Internet Explorer 7 "Downlevel"

Posted 19 February 2009, 14:22 | by | | Perma-link

ASP.NET 1.1 Browser Capabilities are evil. We've already updated the out of the box BrowserCaps in our Machine.configs for our ASP.NET 1.1 sites as per SlingFive's recommended updates, and our clients were happy - Safari, Opera and Firefox all saw the site as they should do.

I was happy too - until I installed Microsoft's latest Live offering - Office Live Connector  - this updated my Internet Explorer user agent string to:

User-Agent: Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 7.0; Windows NT 5.1; .NET CLR 1.1.4322; .NET CLR 2.0.50727; InfoPath.2; .NET CLR 3.0.04506.30; .NET CLR 3.0.04506.590; .NET CLR 3.0.04506.648; .NET CLR 3.5.21022; .NET CLR 3.0.4506.2152; .NET CLR 3.5.30729; WWTClient2; OfficeLiveConnector.1.3; OfficeLivePatch.0.0)

(additions in bold)

I will go back and fix the BrowserCaps shortly, and when I do, I'll update this post, but in the mean time, I've removed the offending keys from IE's user agent string via the registry*

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Internet Settings\5.0\User Agent\Post Platform

Now, I may have just broken my Office Live integration, who knows, but that's a price I can live with until I've fixed the browser caps correctly.

Update: 24 March 2009

Looks like it's deeper than that - I've just upgraded my machine to Internet Explorer 8 and the downleveling has happened again - I'm seriously going to have to take a look at what's in my UserAgent, and understand the BrowserCaps section properly - no one else in the office seems to be having this issue however, so it's clearly me.

Update: 30 March 2009

Hmm, removing the World Wide Telescope (WWTClient2) seems to have also resolved the issue, which is odd, as I've had that installed for some time.

Belated Update: 23 June 2009

Thanks to this answer on StackOverflow, I was able to find an actively updated Browser Caps by Owen Brady. Not only that, but Owen's quite knowledgable on this issue, and a quick email exchange led me to discover that ASP.NET 1.1 gets upset when your User Agent string is greater than 128 characters - which is why removing the Office Live stuff worked I guess, but installing IE8 took me back over the limit Angry. Anyway, the other thing Owen pointed out was to set the default tagwriter to the HTML 4.0 tagwriter, rather than the 3.2 one:

<!-- 08-06-06 Think its safe to force the newer tagwriter -->
<!-- tagwriter=System.Web.UI.Html32TextWriter-->
tagwriter=System.Web.UI.HtmlTextWriter

*Use with caution, don't edit the registry unless you know what you're doing, I'm not responsible if you break your machine, etc., etc.

Filed under: Fixes