Internet Explorer 9 is out in the Beta version. Download can be found at www.IE.Microsoft.com. This upgrade is not compatible with Windows XP, so give it a try only if you use Windows 7 or Vista.
Compared to earlier versions of Internet Explorer, IE9 is a cleaner, quieter window to the Internet. You will find the familiar blue E logo, and a few essential buttons, but this upgrade is toned down, making web surfing a little easier on the eyes.
Ed Bott of www.ZDnet.com writes, “There’s no text or logo in the title bar, nothing that screams or even whispers Internet Explorer. Like Windows Explorer, the browser’s primary role is to be a frame that hosts content as unobtrusively as possible.
“All but the most essential interface elements in the browser have been removed or hidden in IE9’s default display. As a result, the contents of the site you’re viewing don’t have to fight with logos, toolbars, menus, and buttons. There’s no search box in the upper right corner. The command bar and Favorites bar are hidden. There’s no status bar along the bottom. The Refresh and Stop button are in gray instead of color, and three gray buttons in the upper right corner offer access to the Home page, Favorites, and Tools, respectively. All of those buttons change to color if you pass a mouse pointer over them. Tabs for open pages are smaller, crisper in design, and located in a band to the right of the address bar. The only element that’s bigger and brighter than its predecessor is the blue Back button in the top left corner.
“Warnings and dialog boxes no longer pop up and demand your attention. Instead, notifications and action buttons appear in a discreet bar along the bottom of the window, where you can address them at your convenience.”
The new Pinned Shortcuts provide a one-click route to your frequently used websites. The shortcut is displayed on the Windows 7 or Vista Taskbar, ready for instant access.
Bott notes that according to Microsoft, “Favorites (aka bookmarks) represent another once-popular feature that has declined in usage.
Only 18 percent of IE users have ever clicked on the Favorites bar, and only 1 in 100 has ever created a folder there.” In the new version, these features can be retrieved and displayed, but not without having to “jump through some extra hoops.”
Find Ed Bott’s further discussion of IE9 at www.ZDnet.com.
Internet Explorer 9 is not recommended for computers that run Windows XP. IE9 includes performance enhancements that utilize the host computer’s hardware.
A review at www.mashable.com notes that “IE9 harnesses the PC’s hardware to accelerate graphics, videos and text.
The result is that IE9 is able to render heavy graphic interfaces.” XP computers may not be advanced enough to run these enhancements smoothly.
Mike Harshbarger, owner of Computer Renaissance in Bradenton, can be reached at email@example.com.