Microsoft makes public beta 1 of IE 9 available for download

Microsoft makes public beta 1 of IE 9 available for download

Summary: On September 15, Microsoft made the first public beta of Internet Explorer (IE) 9 available for download.

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TOPICS: Browser, Microsoft
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On September 15, Microsoft made the first public beta of Internet Explorer (IE) 9 available for download.

Microsoft has fielded four developer test builds of IE 9 since March. From my sources, I hear there are likely a couple more betas of IE 9 in the pipeline before the final version launches, possibly in April 2011 around the time of the Microsoft Mix 11 conference. (Microsoft is not talking about when or if there will be other betas or when the final will launch.)

Microsoft's goals with IE 9 include making its browser more standards-compliant, less cluttered and faster. A screen shot and information about the browser, which leaked last month from Microsoft Russia, gave a good indication of what to expect, including the combined address/search bar, tear-off tabs and a much simplified UI.

In promotional materials posted to its Web site earlier today, Microsoft execs noted that "Web browsing is the No. 1 thing people do on their Windows-based PC, and as such, they increasingly expect the same experience they associate with their PC applications from their favorite Web-based e-mail service, photo site or social network site. This kind of immersive experience does not occur on the Web today, and using a browser is often associated with limited performance and interactivity. Microsoft developed Windows Internet Explorer 9 to help change this."

I recall shortly after IE 8 launched that a number of users, including yours truly, were complaining about how slowly various sites performed in IE 8's tabs, especially when IE 8 was running on Windows XP. Microsoft officials denied there was a problem, and even went so far as to say that IE 8 was just as fast as Google's then-newly-launched Chrome browser (which it wasn't, as anyone running the Chrome beta could see for her/himself).

Since IE 9 won't work on XP, Microsoft may head off some of its speed issues at the past. Microsoft also has gotten a number of Web site developers and content providers on board early, convincing them to create IE-9-optimized versions of their sites to help improve performance and the overall user experience.

My ZDNet colleague Ed Bott has a review of IE 9 Beta 1 which includes his experiences putting the first public test build through its paces over the past week.

I'd be interested in hearing your impressions if you test drive the IE9 beta. I'll be sharing mine, as well, once I get a chance to check it out.

Topics: Browser, Microsoft

About

Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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32 comments
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  • I have it installed...

    and it is a lot better then the other releases of IE. As a beta, it still has problems. I tried write this comment using IE9 but the "Add Your Opinion" button would not work. Microsoft did a good job with IE9 Beta as this one of the least frustrating experience I have had with IE. Hopefully they make it better by the final release.
    CPPCrispy
  • RE: Microsoft makes public beta 1 of IE 9 available for download

    I have installed it as well and have two problems with it:

    1) No inline spell check. MS says they know that people spend more of their time in the browser. What are they doing there? They are writing. Blog posts, facebook, twitter, forum posts, email, etc. I would be willing to bet that today more stuff gets written in a browser than in word processing programs. Since the browser is a major authoring tool, wouldn't the user experience benefit from spellcheck?

    2) Addons don't run in sites pinned to the taskbar. Now a site I would select to pin to my taskbar would be one I used often. Frequently used sites are exactly the ones I want my customizations applied to.
    txscott
    • RE: Microsoft makes public beta 1 of IE 9 available for download

      @shollomon
      100% with you on the spell-checking. Hopefully it'll be in the future betas or final release.
      artstate
    • RE: Microsoft makes public beta 1 of IE 9 available for download

      @shollomon <br>You can get in-line spell checking for any IE7/8/9 by installing IE7pro add-on (just google it). It works in identical manner to Firefox and using the same open dictionnaries.<br>I wrote this message using it with IE9beta, and the good thing is that I didn't have to re-install it or anything after switching from IE8; so far all my add-ons seem to be working flawlessly without any reinstallings.<br><br>@ shollomon (I answer here because I can't get to reply your last post)<br>IE7 Pro got a big problem when IE8 was released, and I agree many of the features still won't work properly with it. Yet I've been using it for years both for the spell-checker and the ad-bloquer and it has been perfectly stable for a long time.<br>I use both firefox and IE8 (now IE9) in parallel (I like having two browsers because it allows me to have different sessions on many websites) and I really couldn't tell the difference for those two particular features of IE7Pro, which are the only two that I keep active to begin with (everything else can be turned off and is inobstrusive).
      danielgr
      • RE: Microsoft makes public beta 1 of IE 9 available for download

        @danielgr
        IE7 Pro is the most dodgy addon imaginable. I've tried it on several occasions and it is not very good. Spell check is a hit or miss proposition depending on the web site. Its developers are shady and secretive, its message boards are full of nothing but spam, it is sort of maintained but mostly abandoned and many of its features are broken. I wouldn't recommend anyone install it.
        txscott
  • Still lacking Adblock

    If IE9 can get Adblock, this browser would be 100% useable, unlike previous IE releases.
    The one and only, Cylon Centurion
    • RE: Microsoft makes public beta 1 of IE 9 available for download

      @NStalnecker Adblock is easy on IE if not free. 20 bucks for a lifetime license for Adblock Pro, works great on IE9, but not if you have pinned the site to your taskbar, then no addons work.<br><br>You might also check Simple Adblock which is free for IE. Its not as good as Adblock Pro, which is not quite as good as Adblock +
      txscott
      • Thanks

        @shollomon

        I will give it a try.
        The one and only, Cylon Centurion
    • RE: Microsoft makes public beta 1 of IE 9 available for download

      @NStalnecker <br>As with the spell-checker issue, the add-blocker is something that has been provided with IE7pro 100% free add-on since IE7 (and it remains IE8/9 compatible; right now writing without adds from the IE9beta).<br><br>It always amazes me how many people has trashed IE for years for lacking features it actually provides. Microsoft simply decided from day one not to focus on things that could be done by third parties...<br><br>@shollomon<br>When was the last time you tried IE7Pro ?<br>I really don't think it's any worse than any of the other free similar programs. Sure not everything gets filtered, but I have yet to see "the perfect ad-blocker" (never tried the pay ones).<br><br>@shollomon<br>- Regarding pining, I agree right now it's anoying not to get any of the BHOs working when pining a tab to the task bar. Sure hope they sort this out for the final version.<br>- As for the ad-blocker; It seems that your position is pretty fixed so there is not much I can say. Yet even if IE7pro isn't the best adblocker out there, it still does a decent job, and it's not like if there was "no ad-blocker" for IE. To me it is sure good enough and no deal breaker to choose a browser over another one.
      danielgr
      • RE: Microsoft makes public beta 1 of IE 9 available for download

        @danielgr
        The adblocker is even worse than the spell checker. Many false positives, many leakers.
        txscott
      • RE: Microsoft makes public beta 1 of IE 9 available for download

        @danielgr Tried it about two months ago on IE 8. Adblock + on FF is very nearly perfect. Adblock + on Chrome a little less so because they are still working out the kinks given what Chrome's structure lets them do. Adblock Pro (the pay version) is somewhere in between. About the only thing it does less well than Adblock + is repositioning the good material into blank spaces left by ads.

        One of the big problems I see with IE 9 is addons and pinning. Lets say I find a decent spell checker that runs as an addon and then I pin Gmail to my task bar and the spell check won't work.
        txscott
    • RE: Microsoft makes public beta 1 of IE 9 available for download

      @NStalnecker

      I'm using it right now, and have set it as my default. I'm impressed with the speed.

      Agree with AdBlock though. And I don't want to be running IE7Pro right now.

      Quick Tabs doesn't work. There's an option to enable it but nothing happens if you do.

      Also I can't find a setting to restore my session tabs. I'm lazy so I wan't the tabs I've been working on my previous session available when I run IE again.
      View from Here
  • Blogger editor tools became inactive

    Believe me it's cool and nice. But it is Beta 1 and there are some hiccups.
    I went to my blog to write about it and I wanted to format and upload images and I could not. All the editor tools got deactivated in this browser.
    I had to go back to the Fox to do it. Here is blog on IE 9.0 Beta. It' actually very good, otherwise.
    http://hodentek.blogspot.com/2010/09/ie-90-love-at-first-sight.html
    Jayaram Krishnaswamy
  • RE: Microsoft makes public beta 1 of IE 9 available for download

    The compact/clean UI and improved performance is much appreciated. I love the Pinned Site concept with its support for notifications. I would actually take the concept one step further and support viewing webslices from the taskbar. My gut tells me the intent of this release was to gauge community response. I'm confident we will see at least one more beta before a release candidate. One thing I'm not sure about, is why they chose to create separate icons instead of using the existing Command Bar. They could have created a docking toolbar pane in the same location.
    USArcher
  • I can't believe I am saying this, but...

    ... From what I am seeing here, I think IE9 might be a game changer in the way we interact with browsers. (*gasp!*)

    I wonder how Mozilla and Google will respond (Forget Opera).
    The one and only, Cylon Centurion
    • RE: Microsoft makes public beta 1 of IE 9 available for download

      @NStalnecker <br><br>Google may not be shaken with this much, but Mozilla needs to step it up a bit. As for Opera, I have it installed. I know its supposed to be fast but I find it the slowest in terms of page rendering. On my Win7 laptop and XP PC at work, it takes several seconds more to load a page, even compared to FF 3.6. I still keep it though, cause I'm a geek. <img border="0" src="http://www.cnet.com/i/mb/emoticons/silly.gif" alt="silly">
      View from Here
    • RE: Microsoft makes public beta 1 of IE 9 available for download

      @NStalnecker

      I'm having a problem over here with the browser as mine is crashing even running on Vista SP2.

      I can't even go to bing which is my default search engine.
      emekachika@...
  • I'm outta here!

    Mary-Jo Foley wrote: "Since IE9 won't work on XP, . . . "

    So, . . . what? MSFT is now using its browser to force people to upgrade OS's? Nice. Firefox is looking better and better as an alternative.
    mwidunn
    • RE: Microsoft makes public beta 1 of IE 9 available for download

      @mwidunn
      Well.. XP IS almost 10 years old and their support for it is going to disappear soon. So this is pretty normal... I would advise you use Chrome (at least until the next Firefox comes out) because firefox has a very slow startup on older XP machines. Windows 7 is great thought! Look into it
      artstate
    • RE: Microsoft makes public beta 1 of IE 9 available for download

      @mwidunn

      I would rather MS spend their resources on development that take advantage of the current features that the current OSes support rather than waste time trying to prop up a 10 year old OS just because people can't let go. The time is long overdue to move on.

      If XP works for you, why can't you also use a 10 year old browser to go along with it?
      Qbt