Internet Explorer 7: Is It Worth It?

Dennis Faas's picture

After all the warnings and horror stories I've heard about problems with the beta versions of Internet Explorer 7 ("IE7"), it took a little courage for me to try it out. So far, I haven't seen any ill effects from installing IE7 beta, but was it worth the download?

Short answer: No!

Long answer below. ;-)

Internet Explorer 7 Beta: Installation

I downloaded the 12mb IE7 beta installer from Microsoft and fired it up. Not surprisingly, the first thing the installer wanted to do was to scan my PC to make sure I was running a legitimate copy of MS Windows. Since this wasn't an issue for me, I let it proceed.

A second later, the installer tells me it wants to get the most recent updates for IE and install them. I clicked "OK" to proceed and a twiddled my thumbs for a few minutes waiting for it to finish.

Finally, Internet Explorer 7 started installing. When it finished, I had to reboot my PC. Why Microsoft can't make programs without so many major changes to the OS that cause a forced reboot is beyond me.

Internet Explorer 7 Beta: Setup

The first pages IE7 showed me are a Settings Page and Feature Tour. I made a few adjustments to the settings and then dove head-first into the tour.

At this point, I was completely under-whelmed. When it was finished, there was nothing in the features list that I didn't already enjoy using with Mozilla Firefox.

"Maybe it's lighter and faster than Firefox", I thought to myself.

Let's try it and see.

Internet Explorer 7 Beta: Initial Thoughts

The new installation of IE didn't change my home page, but it did change my default search site. It wasn't too hard to change it back, but it bothered me that my settings were not saved during the upgrade.

Ah well, such is Microsoft.

The next thing I decided to do was check out my home page, since it has all the links to my most frequently used sites. It's also deliberately set up to open any clicked links in a new browser window. In this case, Internet Explorer 7 failed my first "test" by opening the links in a new IE browser window instead of a new tab. I haven't checked, but there may be a way to change that. I honestly can't complain too much about this problem, since I had to change my Firefox settings to get similar results.

Internet Explorer 7 Beta: Surfing The Web

After surfing the web for a while, things really started going downhill.

Websites seemed to open in new browser tabs very slowly. Within a short while, I felt like I was back on a dialup Internet connection. And it never did seem to improve. In fact, I had to switch back to Firefox to write this article, because I got sick and tired of waiting on the browser to open new pages.

Internet Explorer 7 Beta: Stability Issues

After surfing a bit more, I closed the IE7 browser. To my surprise, a window appeared with a message stating that Internet Explorer 7 had caused an error and asked if I wanted to send the Error Report back to the mother ship (Microsoft). I clicked cancel and restarted IE7.

A few minutes later I decided to compose a page in my wiki; at this point, IE7 completely locked up my computer. That was the final straw, and I decided to uninstall IE7.

Internet Explorer 7 Beta: Uninstallation

Of all the things that IE7 did right, uninstallation was one of them. I was completely amazed. I didn't have to reinstall Windows, after all! The uninstall was rather lengthy, but my IE6 is back to normal (after the required reboot, of course).

Internet Explorer 7 Beta: Conclusion

Without a doubt, IE7 Beta wasn't ready for my computer.

I own an older PC, but I seriously doubt that was the reason why it ran so slow. Firefox and Opera both fly at warp speed compared to the beta version of IE7. Stability issues were enough to make me want to rip my hair out.

For this reason, I would not suggest installing IE7 beta. Use at your own risk!

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