Microsoft Internet Explorer 9 beta preview

Microsoft is set to unveil Internet Explorer 9 beta at a launch event later today.

The company will unveil a host of new features allowing users to pin their favourite sites to the taskbar and start menu in Windows 7. Microsoft has re-designed Internet Explorer 9 to give websites most of the focus inside the browser window. The software giant has also focussed heavily on web standards and HTML5.

IE 9 will take advantage of the power of the GPU for all page rendering and developers can exploit this using CSS, DHTML and javascript. A new JS engine (codenamed Chakra) will also be built into Internet Explorer 9 with greater interoperability and standards support all round. Features such as rounded corner CSS support will be built in. Microsoft is also planning broader support for HTML5 in Internet Explorer 9 through its new script engine. Microsoft recently performed W3C Web Standards tests on IE9, including HTML5, SVG 1.1 2nd edition, CSS3 media queries, CSS3 borders & backgrounds, CSS3 selectors, DOM level 3 core, DOM level 3 events and DOM level 2 style. Microsoft, with the help of W3C, performed a total of 2,138 tests on a variety of browsers. Internet Explorer 9 scored above 90% in average across all tests, while every other browser, except Safari 5 and Chrome 5 didn't come close to scoring 90% or above in any of the test categories.

New features

Internet Explorer 9 will excite Windows 7 fans. Features include the ability to pin websites to the taskbar. Web developers will be able to create specially designed pages that allow end users to take the site URL and pin it as a button on the Windows 7 taskbar. Tabs can be torn off outside of the browser and snapped using Windows 7's Aero UI. The software giant has also removed all the menus in Internet Explorer. Like Google Chrome there's now just one options menu. There's also a combined search and address bar to make it easier for users to search.

Microsoft will be unveiling a number of launch partners including eBay, Hulu, CNN and Amazon who have all created special sites for the new functionality. Neowin is also Internet Explorer 9 enabled. Once Microsoft makes the Internet Explorer 9 bits available for download later today, you will be able to take advantage of all the new features right here at Neowin. We'll have more on Internet Explorer 9 later today, including coverage from the UK event where Gorillaz are set to pair up with Microsoft to introduce Internet Explorer 9.

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does it loads so freaking slowly to anyone at the first start after turning on the computer? it usually gets frozen to me...

Meh... As a web developper, I'm very happy about how it renders sites and that eventually it will be widely used, but I don't see it being my primary browser. (On most of the analytics the sites that aren't tech oriented, IE is about 60% of the views. Being able to make a website that "just works" in IE will give me time to do much more interesting stuff with my life )

Its a night and day difference between IE8 and Ie9 itself!...its much faster and great. Looks Microsoft is going in a right path!

It's pretty good, there is a huge improvement from the launch of IE8 beta, I guess it has lots of good things under the hood. Microsoft will return eventually on the market but they have to work really hard to keep up with competition.

Really don't see what the fuss is about.
Exactly what is so incredible awesome about it? The UI, although better than IE7/8, is still awkward and ugly IMO. All it does is move functionality to harder to reach places to make it _look_ minimal and I don't see what it does that other browsers don't already.
Color me unimpressed.

k7of9 said,
Really don't see what the fuss is about.
Exactly what is so incredible awesome about it? The UI, although better than IE7/8, is still awkward and ugly IMO. All it does is move functionality to harder to reach places to make it _look_ minimal and I don't see what it does that other browsers don't already.
Color me unimpressed.

IE9 UI is 100 times more beautiful than Firefox 3.6 and Google Chrome's UI's. Plus IE8/IE9 on Windows 7 is the most secure browser in the world because of Protected Mode. Also the new Windows 7-specific features of IE9 make it unique.

pezzonovante said,

IE9 UI is 100 times more beautiful than Firefox 3.6 and Google Chrome's UI's.

That's an opinion, not a fact like you put it.

This thing is crazy fast. There are some bugs but it is beta but so far it's quite nice. I just need to find where to tweak my download options so, like chrome, it leaves the bar up and I can launch my downloads from right within the browser.

I'm actually impressed. Microsoft has really outdone themselves with this one. I like the text rendering, the modernized UI, and the overall look and feel of the browser. All it needs is a dedicated bookmarks bar and I might just make the switch from Chrome.

It looks good and quite smooth. But, I'm not sure how I feel about having address/tab bar in the same toolbar. If they're going to do that why not try adding address bar inside the tab somehow and it seems you still have to click on tabs or be active on tab before you can close it (lame). Stop/refresh/go need to be combined, bookmark toolbar bulky as ever. Anyways, its only in beta stage so, lets see how far they go with this...but def not enough to switch over for sure.

Does anyone know if there is a quick way to migrate Firefox settings to IE? Because I'm planning on downloading IE9 when I get home tonight.

wow... I actually have lag on my browser now... IE9 is not made for older portables it seems...
And fonts don't look good at all imo.

The UI, as per IE-usual, looks horrific. I don't know who they get to do the designs, but they really need to be fired.

spacer said,
The UI, as per IE-usual, looks horrific. I don't know who they get to design these builds, but they really need to be fired.

so I take it Chrome looks horrible too? Stop being a hater for the sake of it and give credit where its due.

Actually, I use Chrome exclusively. And I happen to think that Chrome's UI is the best of any browser because of its minimalistic setup.

It's obvious IE9 is trying to do the same, but they failed IMO. The URL box is too small, the tabs are in the worst place they could be, and the back/forward buttons are god awful.

They need to fix the placement of the tabs. Having more than say 8 tabs open with a setup like that will be hell, unless you've got a large horizontal resolution to work with.

Just by looking at the screenshot here's 2 issues I have with it:
- Empty titlebar....if there's nothing to put in it (like the title of the page) then move some stuff up there (like the buttons etc)
- Small space of tabs (wtf why would they do that)

Roobaj said,
No spell check, No addons and Internet Options look just the same as they did in IE6.

What a shame, MS.

Ugh. IE has had addons for ages, just nobody makes them.

What I really find awesome is how the new Download Manager uses a reputation system to tell you if the file you're downloading is not safe. Great idea !

The Performance Add-on advisor is great too !

So far it looks pretty awesome. I will get the beat and give it a go. This will be the first time I have used IE in many years.

All the haters should swallow their pride. You have to give MS credit here, IE9 is a browser that looks very promising.

Looks good, although the tabs look awfully cramped. I get they are trying to save vertical space (like every browser now), but if they made the back button the same height as the forward button, they'd have space to put the tabs underneath.

Will give it a go, although it will likely be the same thing as IE6/7/8 that stops me using it - how "clunky" clicking links feels. No idea if it is actually any slower, but it has always felt like it.

Yayayayayayayayayayay! I'm super excited and will start making plugins etc for it as soon as it's available I'm a Chrome guy at the moment, but I can see myself using IE9!

Love the prominent colour for back/forward buttons too, kinda cool, must be a way to force the colour to match your site theme though

gate1975mlm said,
But still no spell checker in IE9!

Dunno, no one said anything about it but it's still beta, gotta get enough people asking for it and sending in feedback.

murkurie said,
yay, no tabs on top, I hate how everyone is switching to that

MS said "screw that, what about tabs in the taskbar instead?" haha.

It might actually redefine the way we use web browsers. Instead of having a single window for the browser, we will have separate windows for every domain, which will be nicely aggregated on the taskbar (hence the addressbar and the tab bar in a single horizontal space).

I like that!

Mainer82 said,
I hate how modern browsers are downplaying Bookmarks now, I have 2187 bookmarks and about 70 folders...
On top of that, pinning tabs/sites to the task is going back to the way it was before we had tabs, who wants multiple IE windows open at once and have to sort through them via that task bar..? That's why we who like things organized have tabs in one browser space window.

Mainer82 said,
On top of that, pinning tabs/sites to the task is going back to the way it was before we had tabs, who wants multiple IE windows open at once and have to sort through them via that task bar..? That's why we who like things organized have tabs in one browser space window.

The reason we switched to tabs was because in Windows XP, it was so unmanageable. To have 20 windows open meant to have all sorts of windows showing up in the taskbar and at the time we had no organization and just had text.

Plus we did not exactly lose tabs, if I read correctly, tabs can be torn off the IE9 windows and put in the superbar. So when you think about it, with Aero Peek and the flexibility and organization of Aero and the IE9 UI, you still got really nice organization.

I think Microsoft loves the idea of making websites like apps and bringing them back instead of using a browser to do virtually everything with the ugly UI's they have now-a-days. So we will have Facebook in the superbar and clicking on it brings up Facebook and a jumplist shows stuff you can do on the Facebook website. Because really, I never find myself using jumplists when I'm always using everything in the browser.

I have to say that's the worst looking browser I've ever seen, why so little room for tabs, it could be easily solved by tabs on top.

thealexweb said,
I have to say that's the worst looking browser I've ever seen, why so little room for tabs, it could be easily solved by tabs on top.

but then I'd have to use the vertical scrollbar more......

The browser is about the content it renders, not about its own chrome. Glad MS are seein the light.

yowan said,
Tabs should be on top
why? so then Google Chrome and/or Firefox users may say IE9 has no originality?
But I agree that there should be a tool that allows to move tabs when the user feels like to

I have to say it looks very nice, but why no tabs on top? It makes sense to use that space, bunching the tabs and the address bar in the same horizontal slot just makes no sense to me. Maybe there will be some yet-to-be-revealed feature like the task bar previews in Win 7 that make it more sensible, guess I'll have to see. Certainly excited to use the hardware acceleration, even if really no sites use it effectively today.

you guys do not have to wait for the beta release to see and feel the new look of UI9. Paul thurrot has a complete review of the new IE and particularty how it well-integrated with the windows experience. I am not going to post the actuall link but you can bing Paul Thrurrot to read the review.

The Black Mamba said,
you guys do not have to wait for the beta release to see and feel the new look of UI9. Paul thurrot has a complete review of the new IE and particularty how it well-integrated with the windows experience. I am not going to post the actuall link but you can bing Paul Thrurrot to read the review.

It's one thing to see screenshots and it's another things to actually use it for yourself.

LaP said,
I like the UI but i really hope we can move the tabs up or down the adresse bar.

Remember that this is a beta so if enough people want something changed I'm sure MS will work towards it. Feedback is key here.

taiwanlittlehand said,
Internet Explorer 9 Beta will be available at 10:30 am PDT Wednesday

Here is 6:31 PM, how much do I need to wait?

sopharine said,
Who designed the forward/backward buttons? It show no consistency to the windows explorer

It doesn't resemble the CURRENT Windows Explorer. This may be first clue toward the Windows 8 Explorer interface.

lordcanti86 said,

It doesn't resemble the CURRENT Windows Explorer. This may be first clue toward the Windows 8 Explorer interface.

But it resembles PAST Windows Explorers. Specifically Longhorn.

They cleaned up the UI which was a complaint of mine. Hopefully all those annoying setup popups are going and it's more stable and then i'll be happy to switch. Chrome, the browser I use now, has problems on some websites. Things not rendering correctly or pages not loading completely. But it's just so damn fast it's hard to switch.

"Once Microsoft makes the Internet Explorer 9 bits available for download later today, you will be able to take advantage of all the new features right here at Neowin."

What the hell are those features?... just pinning?


I was meaning specifically how is neowin somehow ie9 pimp but all it appears to be is this code:
<meta name="application-name" content="Neowin.net" />
<meta name="msapplication-tooltip" content="Where unprofessional journalism looks better" />
<meta name="msapplication-task" content="name=Latest News;action-uri=http://www.neowin.net/;icon-uri=http/www.neowin.net/images/icons/jumplist/news.ico" />
<meta name="msapplication-task" content="name=Community Forums;action-uri=http://www.neowin.net/forum/;icon-uri=http/www.neowin.net/images/icons/jumplist/forums.ico" />
<meta name="msapplication-task" content="name=Chat;action-uri=http://www.neowin.net/irc/;icon-uri=http/www.neowin.net/images/icons/jumplist/chat.ico" />
<meta name="msapplication-task" content="name=Spy;action-uri=http://www.neowin.net/forum/index.php?app=spy;icon-uri=http/www.neowin.net/images/icons/jumplist/spy.ico" />
<meta name="msapplication-task" content="name=Contact Us;action-uri=http://www.neowin.net/contact/;icon-uri=http/www.neowin.net/images/icons/jumplist/contact.ico" />
<meta name="msapplication-starturl" content="http://www.neowin.net/"; />

Seems minor but I love that they removed the typical verbose titlebar icon/text. I wonder if they have made that an option however. Some sites use long page descriptions. It will be interesting to see how many of the IE options I am accustomed to will be accessible now that they removed all menus. We'll find out soon enough.

The small space for tabs would bother me if they just pile up. If they've done something like the Win7 taskbar, with sites automatically and/or optionally grouping into one tab with hovering previews, I could live with it. If they haven't, they should.

Either way I'll give it a go, I always do, but for the first time since... ever, I'm actually eager to try it and not just doing it because I want to what new ways its found to break my site designs.

I know I've hated both office 2007 and windows 7 interfaces upon first seeing the screenshots (and damn was I wrong), but the address bar ANd the tab bar together? me no likey

"Microsoft, with the help of W3C, performed a total of 2,138 tests on a variety of browsers. Internet Explorer 9 scored above 90% in average across all tests, while every other browser, except Safari 5 and Chrome 5 didn't come close to scoring 90% or above in any of the test categories."

So, of the five major browsers (IE, Firefox, Chrome, Safari, Opera), three did OK but two didn't? And that turns into "every other browser, except"?

Stopped reading at that point. Too much like a Microsoft press-release.

tomjol said,
"Microsoft, with the help of W3C, performed a total of 2,138 tests on a variety of browsers. Internet Explorer 9 scored above 90% in average across all tests, while every other browser, except Safari 5 and Chrome 5 didn't come close to scoring 90% or above in any of the test categories."

So, of the five major browsers (IE, Firefox, Chrome, Safari, Opera), three did OK but two didn't? And that turns into "every other browser, except"?

Stopped reading at that point. Too much like a Microsoft press-release.


3 didnt come close, 2 did. 3 beats 2 AFAIK. So yes, that it is "every other browser, except"
Hurt that your fav browser couldnt do it or something?

honda said,

3 didnt come close, 2 did. 3 beats 2 AFAIK. So yes, that it is "every other browser, except"
Hurt that your fav browser couldnt do it or something?

...

IE scored above 90%. Chrome and Safari AT LEAST came close. Opera and Firefox didn't.

That's three vs two the other way round, smart arse.

tomjol said,
"Microsoft, with the help of W3C, performed a total of 2,138 tests on a variety of browsers. Internet Explorer 9 scored above 90% in average across all tests, while every other browser, except Safari 5 and Chrome 5 didn't come close to scoring 90% or above in any of the test categories."

So, of the five major browsers (IE, Firefox, Chrome, Safari, Opera), three did OK but two didn't? And that turns into "every other browser, except"?

Stopped reading at that point. Too much like a Microsoft press-release.

The text you quote is perfectly clear, IE9 was above 90% average, safari+chrome did above 90% in some tests, but their average was still below 90% and firefox+opera didn't score above 90% in even one of the tests...this isn't rocket science.

J_R_G said,

The text you quote is perfectly clear, IE9 was above 90% average, safari+chrome did above 90% in some tests, but their average was still below 90% and firefox+opera didn't score above 90% in even one of the tests...this isn't rocket science.

I didn't say it was unclear. It is, however, misleading.

From the text, we know that IE scored above 90% average, you're right on that. You're also right to say that Chrome and Safari got 90% in at least some of the tests, but we don't know what their average was. Firefox and Safari didn't get 90% in any tests. So, 1 browser averaged over 90%. 2 browsers got 90% in some tests but, as far as we know, didn't average over 90%. 2 browsers didn't get 90% anywhere. So, of browsers which "matter", the same amount "did OK" as "did badly", right?

To use "every other browser, except" where the "every other browser" totals 2 and the exceptions total 2 is misleading. That was my complaint...understanding what people ACTUALLY SAID instead of WHAT YOU READ isn't rocket science.

6205 said,
Just give me the names of those a**holes who designed back/forward buttons. It's like some ugly Longhorn dejavu... What is wrong with these buttons? --> http://i52.tinypic.com/2eztt3p.jpg

The buttons you've linked to (the current IE 8 buttons) don't look anywhere near as nice as the new IE 9 buttons (in my opinion). I suggest you wait until you've tried it out before you pass judgement; you might find you like them.

I'm eager to see what it looks like when you have a lot of tabs open. hopefully they will move to their own row because putting it next to the address bar leaves no room!

psyko_x said,
I'm eager to see what it looks like when you have a lot of tabs open. hopefully they will move to their own row because putting it next to the address bar leaves no room!

It probably does, that's my guess. But the thinking here is that the tabs you often leave open are for sites you visit all the time so those you can now just pin to your taskbar which cuts down on the number of tabs even more.

The interface look very bad... so little space for tabs, an hell of ugly buttons... Man what they were thinking?
Why they didn't make IE9 look like Office 2010 and other Win7 apps?

I'm also worried about this over-minimalistic interface. IE is the defacto browser for many non-techsavvy people, I'm afraid they don't like it/get lost.

NienorGT said,
The interface look very bad... so little space for tabs, an hell of ugly buttons... Man what they were thinking?
Why they didn't make IE9 look like Office 2010 and other Win7 apps?

I'm also worried about this over-minimalistic interface. IE is the defacto browser for many non-techsavvy people, I'm afraid they don't like it/get lost.


There is just about the same amount of space for tabs as there are in IE 8, with the command buttons and the 'Favourites' button. Also, as others have pointed out, you can probably move the tab bar if you really dislike it in that position. It only takes up the space of 1 1/2 tabs anyway, so I don't class it as much of a loss. What people must realise is the vision for IE 9 - most of the web browsing will be done through apps in the taskbar and there will usually be little need for many tabs inside each app window

As for you being concerned about non-techsavvy people becoming confused, that is their fault. They will need to learn some day and it really isn't hard to try to understand a user interface, especially one as intuitive as IE 9's.

When does IE9 go RTM? My PC is set up 1000% perfect, I'd rather not install a beta... but I want this sooooo bad. yes, sooooo bad. with 5 o's.

greenwizard88 said,
When does IE9 go RTM? My PC is set up 1000% perfect, I'd rather not install a beta... but I want this sooooo bad. yes, sooooo bad. with 5 o's.

I think MS will provide a way to revert back to IE8 if you don't really like IE9

greenwizard88 said,
When does IE9 go RTM? My PC is set up 1000% perfect, I'd rather not install a beta... but I want this sooooo bad. yes, sooooo bad. with 5 o's.

Windows by nature can rollback any changes if you really don't like it. (System Restore) and (Previous Versions) are two of the most overlooked features that make Windows kind of slick for testing crap or even document changes.

kInG aLeXo said,
More features == More bugs\exploits to be discovered.
Wondering what exploiters would be able to do with this.

The same thing they do with all the features in Firefox, Chrome, etc....

honda said,

The same thing they do with all the features in Firefox, Chrome, etc....

Yup but this is IE ! MS gonna bundle it with the next version of Windows and may even release it through windows update, so more people are gonna target it than those targeting FF, chrome anyways.

kInG aLeXo said,
More features == More bugs\exploits to be discovered.
Wondering what exploiters would be able to do with this.

You know, you're right!! Microsoft should definitely stop adding features to all their softwares!

JonathanMarston said,

You know, you're right!! Microsoft should definitely stop adding features to all their softwares!

And why just Microsoft? Every software developer in the world should stop adding features in order to fix security flaws, stop innovating!!

/sarcasm

NTCTZEN said,
In the first screenshot, are they trying to spell A through Z with the taskbar icons?

Nice observation, i hadn't noticed it before you mentioned.

NTCTZEN said,
In the first screenshot, are they trying to spell A through Z with the taskbar icons?

Hah, good catch. Never noticed that

1./ That cropped back button is ugly as hell. WTF?
2./ Asuming that websites have 16pix favicons, they will look like sh*t when pinned on taskbar

6205 said,
1./ That cropped back button is ugly as hell. WTF?
2./ Asuming that websites have 16pix favicons, they will look like sh*t when pinned on taskbar
I'm assuming it will be like the iOS icons that developers can embed in the meta data of the page.

Elliott said,
I'm assuming it will be like the iOS icons that developers can embed in the meta data of the page.

Looking at WinSuperSite.com this could be the meta for it:

<meta name="msapplication-task" content="name=Windows 7;action-uri=/win7;icon-uri=/images/icon_win7.ico" />

Hm, I've just noticed the orange back/forward buttons in the first screenshot (look at the image on the webpage) and the blue buttons in the second screenshot... maybe they change depending on which website/app you're viewing? Now, I really think that'd be cool!

Calum said,
Hm, I've just noticed the orange back/forward buttons in the first screenshot (look at the image on the webpage) and the blue buttons in the second screenshot... maybe they change depending on which website/app you're viewing? Now, I really think that'd be cool!

Seems to be that, WinSuperSite has a kind of pinkish glow. I think it possibly does a Windows 7 style "most prominent colour" check based on Paul's skin tone in his thumbnail.

http://www.winsupersite.com/images/live/ie9_beta_07.jpg

Calum said,

Thank you for that I've just read his article and it does just that. That's great news.

No problem I should really read the article instead of just looking at the pictures

This looks fantastic. I really hope the taskbar functionality will extend beyond jumplists, allowing websites to use the overlay icon. It'd be cool if the Facebook app - created using IE 9 - could show how many notifications/messages/friend requests you have, since last checking the app, in the taskbar.

that looks freakin ugly... though i'll give it a try...

how can one add back and fw buttons like that to it? how can they move the tabs to there?

GeeQ said,
that looks freakin ugly... though i'll give it a try...

how can one add back and fw buttons like that to it? how can they move the tabs to there?

okay, downloaded it and writing this from IE9 - i have admit i'm fine with the new UI... and the speed is amazing... Microsoft is getting better and better IE9 - I'm Lovin' It

I can't believe I am about to say this... Might I might actually use IE9 as a secondary browser

Now all we need is some real extension/add-on functionality and we're good to go.

Benjamin Rubenstein said,
I can't believe I am about to say this... Might I might actually use IE9 as a secondary browser

Now all we need is some real extension/add-on functionality and we're good to go.


Why only as a second browser? Is that simply because it may not have add-ons/extensions in the way Firefox does?

Calum said,

Why only as a second browser? Is that simply because it may not have add-ons/extensions in the way Firefox does?

For me that would be why. I have a set of extensions I use in Firefox that keeps me attached to that browser. I do use IE from time to time though. Work requires IE use...

shinji257 said,

For me that would be why. I have a set of extensions I use in Firefox that keeps me attached to that browser. I do use IE from time to time though. Work requires IE use...

Use FF with IE TAB. Still using IE, but dont have to open IE.

Benjamin Rubenstein said,
I can't believe I am about to say this... Might I might actually use IE9 as a secondary browser

Now all we need is some real extension/add-on functionality and we're good to go.


Me too... I'm impressed

Great comments guys.

At first, I thought the eBay webpage was a sort of application, interesting how the layout looks like that a bit. I love my taskbar, this will only help!

It was 10:30 pst, right? It's since 10 minuts behind time. ^^
The first IE release which interested me. I hope I will not be disappointed.

thekim said,
It was 10:30 pst, right? It's since 10 minuts behind time. ^^
The first IE release which interested me. I hope I will not be disappointed.

It's just past 10:30 EDT now. You'll have to wait a few hours for 10:30 PDT (it won't be PST until the end of "daylight saving time" - we should all just switch to Zulu time in the Internet age).


Its awesome, but the only problem i see with IE is its release schedule. it might take a year or two for Microsoft to release IE10.Meanwhile, other browsers will continue to deliver improvements at a pace that far outstrips Microsoft.