Internet Explorer 9 beta now available, brings radical overhaul

By on September 15, 2010, 2:53 PM
Microsoft's had a tough decade in the browser space, plummeting from a daunting 90%+ market share in 2003 to a still commanding, but decaying ~60% that is largely comprised of corporations and clueless home users. The company hopes to halt that rapid descent and once again become a relevant player with Internet Explorer 9, which entered public beta today and can be downloaded below.

IE9 touts a revamped interface that is very obviously inspired by the competition. It's the latest -- and perhaps the last -- major browser to realize a little goes a long way. The UI has been torn down to the bare essentials: a combined address and search bar, as well as forward, backward, home, favorites, and tools buttons. The dated menu bar is hidden (you can access it by tapping alt).

Features include the ability to pin sites directly to Windows 7's taskbar for quick access (just drag a tab to the taskbar), and a new download manager that checks for malware and lets you pause or restart downloads. There's also an add-on performance advisor to let you know when extensions are slowing down your browser, a speed dial-esque "new tab" page and plenty more.

Much of what IE9 has to offer isn't tangible at first glance, but manifests in terms of performance and compatibility. Hardware acceleration harnesses the power of your GPU to load graphics-heavy pages, and the browser is more compliant with HTML5, CSS3, and SVG2 standards. Even simple things like tearing tabs between windows feels snappy -- more so than Firefox 4.

We know most of you will be hesitant to give IE a shot after using Firefox, Chrome, or Opera, but after playing around with IE9 for a couple hours I can honestly report that it's a whole new experience. Is it the best? Maybe not, but it deserves 15 minutes of your time, that's for sure. You can grab a copy in our download section...

Download: Windows Vista 32-bit | Windows Vista 64-bit | Windows 7 32-bit | Windows 7 64-bit

User Comments: 40

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Guest said:

Great...crashes on startup...guess it has a hard time loading my home to go Microsoft, another award winning browsing experience

Julio Franco Julio Franco, TechSpot Editor, said:

Compared to older IE versions it seems super snappy, kind of feels like Chrome but it's still beta and it just crashed for me as well. On the upside, rather than showing the annoying loading bar after crashing, it recovered and loaded all my tabs again in about a second, not bad.

Font rendering is a bit weird but that's because of GPU acceleration, Firefox 4 beta has the exactly same behaviour because of that feature.

kyosuke said:

@Techspot-Writers: can we not mention Vista anymore just XP and Windows 7.

As it is now Vista is the middle child that will forever be ignored, neglected and will turn goth or emo. Where XP is the oldest who married somebody Microsoft didn't approve of so they "disowned" XP and Windows 7 is the youngest that get's all the love and attention.

Guest said:

Have you ever thought of just throwing the baby out with the bath water?

fwilliams said:

Even if it is almost as good as the other browsers now, the other browsers are continuously getting better. IE9 will start and stay where the others are now and will be out of date in 6 months.

Guest said:

Just downloaded and installed IE9. I love it. Goodbye Firefox.

Guest said:

Dont tell me there isn't a version for XP of this?

anguis said:

no XP support? will never use IE9 because of that. not going to swap between browsers when im on a different OS (laptop has XP, desktop triboots with XP, 7, and linux). No linux support on IE9 either. Firefox remains supreme.

Not to mention, fwilliams is exactly right. Firefox will just continually 1up IE.

St1ckM4n St1ckM4n said:

I like having no space for tabs. That's the most ingenious thought-process ever...

Guest said:

Ok. The simplicty is amazing, I like it much more than Chrome. But what about the tabs right next to the address bar? That's just plain stupid. Come on MS, you can do better than that.

Firefox and Chrome still remain king and prince, respectively.

St1ckM4n St1ckM4n said:

In addition, there's still a lot of wasted space above the address bar and tabs. Could put the buttons into a single one, and move to the left, making the vertical size even smaller.

Per Hansson Per Hansson, TS Server Guru, said:

If it will not be released for XP I wont be surprised, Windows 2000 never got IE7, even tho it was not EOL at the time it was released

As for this beta release, does it install side by side with IE8 or does it overwrite it?

daz80 said:

How can i fix the Text / Font? Its kinda blurry..

Guest said:

If they cannot bother with XP users, will not bother with this crashware and value the alternatives even more since they do not take users for granted.

Guest said:

Anyone know how i uninstall IE9? Gave it a try and i seem to have the buggiest version on the internet. After i installed it, my All CPU Meter gadget no longer works. I just have a black box.

My PC keeps freezing up and IE9 doesnt appear as a program in CCleaner or All Programs in Control panel.


Phraun said:

It was fairly snappy, and I was amiable to using it-- until I tried to download the 64-bit flash preview release, at which point IE9 stated that my security settings would not allow the download... Even though they're dropped into the ground with protected mode disabled. At that point, I re-opened Chrome.

Also, who was the genius that decided to put the tabs and URL dialog on the same bar?

windmill007 said:


Does this version allow Ad On's? Without Adblock you might as well open your door and say come on in viruses. How anyone can stand to view the web without adblock anyways is beyond me. When will Microsoft get that? ADD-ONs Addons!!

LightHeart said:

I don't like it and have uninstalled it. To uninstall: Control Panel - Uninstall a program - View Installed Updates - Find IE 9 and uninstall.

It crashed several times, some pages would not open at all, no space for the many tabs I use, only slightly faster than FF 3.6.9., bad UI with no option to change. I will check out the released version whenever that happens to see if they fixed it.

Guest said:

Good bye Firefox, I miss you. (Switched to IE9)

alcarin2030 alcarin2030 said:

People are still using that outdated crap that is Windows XP? Wow...

Guest said:

Who else think the guys than say "bye firefox hello IE9" have to do something with MS?

Another thing, look in google and you will see people saying you can force the instalation on xp. The only reason I care for Slowexplorer is because on my work people dont know other thing, and is the only browser than allow setting a defaul zoom.

Guest said:

Xp outdated crap?, my God. The only thing I miss of 7 on the work is one thing, the transparect windows, other than that, name one damn thing missing in the outdated cra:S

Other than that xp is a full fetaured bullet .

Guest said:

XP is outdated. I know some people are into retro stuff but most people go with the new things. It's called evolution. On the same idea, I'm sure there are people still playing Warcraft 2 instead of Warcraft 3, you get the idea.

As for the guy who swhitched to IE9: your choice, dude(tte). Reminder it's a beta. Still I love it better than my Firefox - Iron is far better than FFX btw, and no privacy issues as in Chrome (I see peeps don't even mention Opera).

And one more thing: it's a BETA. Not the final product so don't be misleaded. Some features DO NOT WORK.

DarkCobra DarkCobra said:

OK, tried it . . . Yawn. Sure it's faster because it's EMPTY! Does crash on quite a few sites but I attribute that to the beta status. All-in-all, I'm afraid MS simply came too late to the dance as usual. No way am I switching from FF to this thing. I think the next major update to Chrome will blow this away fairly easily but FF will remain my browser of choice for the rich add-on experience.

treeski treeski said:

I currently have Chrome, Firefox beta and IE9 beta installed. Chrome will remain my goto browser, but I'm really liking IE9 so far. It's definitely giving me a much better experience than the Firefox beta.

I'll see what things are like when Firefox and IE9 come out of beta and reevaluate.

j05hh j05hh said:

I just had issues programming a cradle point router using IE9. I could not save anything that was entered. Switched to Firefox and could save just fine. Beware

Guest said:

Do you not Know What Beta Means!

Guest said:

Chrome kicks its butt in every way. I gave up at ie6 - there is absolutely no good reason to go with an MS browser anymore. NONE. well, unless you like pain that is.

tengeta tengeta said:

Just like anything that takes too long to catch up, I just don't care anymore. Thanks I guess, even though the public PC's I use will probably never have it installed.

mattfrompa mattfrompa said:

I would like to say i wish there was more space for tabs, but then I found after using it that I don't reallly open enough that it really bothers me.

Wait....I'm using IE AND crashes yet. wtf is going on here?

mattfrompa mattfrompa said:

Try out the Flash vs Silverlight: FPS Meter & Stress Test. My starting FPS was about 40 frames higher with IE9 Beta vs Firefox 3.6.10 or IE 8. I really hope Microsoft is able to iron out enough of the wrinkles before final release, because it's looking fairly impressive.

Guest said:

There are huge flaws in IE9: not only the UI is really bad, Flash also runs very slow at sites having a complicated structure (low FPS), anti-aliasing looks horrible (and they call it ClearType, while it is really different from how that looks), opacity animations don't work, no @font-face support so no webfonts. It's just another bad release from Microsoft. I don't understand how people can love it. Chrome still wins, by far.

TJGeezer said:

Tried it, like the interface okay (almost on a par with Firefox 4) but it crashed on a complex site and the 64-bit Flash add-on is flaky - slow, bad at low FPS, all things others have noted. It feels like the beta it is. I'll keep trying it to see how it comes together but it has a long way to go before it could take over from either Firefox 3 or the beta Firefox 4.

Guest said:

A lot of novice people still use XP because it's familiar to them. My grandparents have a hard time with Windows 7 because of all the changes. They've picked up since then a little bit, but I know that switching over OS's is like trying to leap over a canyon.

As for IE9, it makes logical sense to skip XP support because Microsoft is trying to phase out XP. I guarantee you there are still Windows 98 people out there, and I still have a computer with Windows 95 on it.

Though, in the business sense, if you want market share, you're going to have to introduce "legacy XP" code.

I use all three browsers on occasion. IE 8, Firefox, and Chrome. IE 8 can save .mht archives of web pages (the firefox plug-ins sometimes don't work like they're supposed to). Firefox has uber awsome addons to block scripts, java, and ads, and Chrome is a rock solid reliable machine.

Guest said:

rofl. yeah i hear ya. XP has soooo many vulnerabilities and problems, as an IT professional who works on multiple systems daily, it is my most hated operating system to work on. honestly, i'm not all for microsoft either (and i loathe apple) but windows 7 is honestly a great OS, IE 6 was crap, 7 was crap, 8 was crap, all very open to vulnerabilities, IE 9 is great so far!! extremely fast and the ability to use the pc's graphics card to render images on the screen greatly reduces the load on the cpu thus allowing most pages to load very quickly. firefox is a great browser, but it has many vulnerabilities as well...only a few less than IE8. only google's chrome browser has fewer vulnerabilties. as always, you can't please everyone.

on a side note

before you bash a program for whatever reason, keep in mind that those of us who work on, design, set up, repair, etc computers often find that most crashes, slow performance, shut-downs, or problems come from problems with the pc where the user has messed up the operating system, installed a conflicting program, NOT installed a program correctly, has missing required files or updates, or has infected their system with numerous spyware/adware/malware or viruses.

Guest said:

XP grandma operating system. lol

lol, beta programas cashing because of the user fault.

Guest said:

Ask any large (or even a lot of small) companies and they'll tell you why they are still on XP.

Guest said:

Microsoft is SOOO lost when it comes to securing (or designing anything) for that matter, they'd really have to Earn my respect and support at this point. I don't expect that to happen...ever. (- MCSE, CISSP, GCFW...)

Guest said:

did you download it from I heard that other sites have had problems I not sure if this is true or not.

Guest said:

Not all users of internet explorer are clueless thanks matthew :)

I have tried lots of browsers in the past and always found internet explorer to be the best for my own personnel use.

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