Fixing the IE8 Black Bar Bug

After migrating to Internet Explorer 8 on Windows XP, the menu and the favorites bar would go black with no apparent reason. So far we didn’t discover why this happens and when or if Microsoft will release an update to fix this bug. Meanwhile, learn the trick we are using to restore the menu and the favorites bar to its correct color.

The problem can be seen in Figure 1.

Fixing the IE8 Black Bar BugFigure 1: IE8 with the menu and the favorites bar turned black.

What we discovered is that if you put Windows on “high contrast mode” and then go back to its “normal” mode the problem is solved. To go to “high contrast mode” press at the same time the left Shift, the left Alt and the Print Screen keys.

Fixing the IE8 Black Bar BugFigure 2: Entering high contrast mode.

IE8 will now be worse than it was (see Figure 3). Now press left Shift, left Alt and Print Screen again. You will go back to the “normal” mode. Close IE8 and open it again. The problem will be solved, as you can see in Figure 5.

Fixing the IE8 Black Bar BugFigure 3: IE8 under high contrast mode.

Fixing the IE8 Black Bar BugFigure 4: Problem solved.

But at least with us a new problem emerged, on the taskbar: it became be a little bit taller than usual, see Figure 5. To put the taskbar back to its normal height all you need to do is to right-click it, choose Properties, check “lock the taskbar,” click on Apply. This will fix the problem. Then you can unlock the taskbar again by unchecking “lock the taskbar” and clicking on Apply.

Fixing the IE8 Black Bar BugFigure 5: Taskbar taller than normal.

Author: Gabriel Torres

Gabriel Torres is a Brazilian best-selling ICT expert, with 24 books published. He started his online career in 1996, when he launched Clube do Hardware, which is one of the oldest and largest websites about technology in Brazil. He created Hardware Secrets in 1999 to expand his knowledge outside his home country.

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