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This has been baffling me for a while. Of the machines I use in visiting Stack Overflow, two of them are machines with the same setup: Dell with Windows XP with IE8. Since they were issued to me by the same company (one to use in the office, one to use at home), they have identical setups as well. But they display certain page elements differently! One is an Optiplex GX620 desktop, the other is an Inspiron 9100 laptop, but somehow the hardware doesn't seem like something that should be overriding how my browser displays things. Nevertheless, the laptop seems to display things differently than what is expected.

Differences have included the following:

  1. This issue persisted on the laptop after Jeff fixed it, but was repaired for everyone else and on the Desktop.
  2. When viewing Vote Counts on a post, the grey line is left immediately beneath the upvotes but a number-sized white space is below that before the downvotes. On the desktop, it displays properly with the two adjacent and divided by a grey line.
  3. Code blocks seem to have a blank line at the end on the laptop.

The following image illustrates how the last two elements look on the laptop.

alt text

As far as I can tell these two setups are identical (I have not messed with any settings and they were both initialized identically as well), so what else could be causing the display difference?

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Just to be sure: did you clean out the IE cache / temporary internet files? How about the cookies?

Just to make sure this is not because of some old files still around...

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Did 2 cache clearings back during the issue discussed at Meta. Also checked for IE7 emulation, that is also not a culprit. I just did one right now, there's been no change. – Grace Note May 25 '10 at 13:33
Exactly what I was going to say... – T.J. Crowder May 25 '10 at 13:35

tYou could try completely resetting Internet Explorer to its default settings on both computers and see if the issue persists.

Go to Tools -> Internet Options -> Advanced tab -> "Reset" button in the "Reset Internet Explorer settings" area at the bottom of the screen.

enter image description here

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I'll see if our sysadmin can try that tomorrow. It's disabled for me as "Some settings are managed by your system administrator". – Grace Note May 25 '10 at 14:43

I don't believe that a desktop and a laptop can ever display identical screens, as many settings are different by default.

There might be differences of font, ClearType, screen-size and many more, that will cause the HTML to be displayed differently. And nobody knows for sure all the "optimizations" that Microsoft does for laptops.

You might try other browsers than IE, just because IE is too-well integrated into the OS, and this experiment might tell you more about the problem.

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