At Mix 06 today, they released the new preview version of IE 7, and on the IE 7 weblog, they announced that they had made the same version available to the public. I suppose I really ought to have paid attention to the disclaimers on the IE 7 website, but you know us geeks… who can resist a new toy? Besides, having been (at one point in my career) Microsoft’s product manager for IE (Version 1, and for a time Version 2), I really wanted to see what was new! So I went ahead and downloaded it.
I have to give the folks at Microsoft full credit. This version actually installed. The last IE 7 beta I downloaded not only wouldn’t install properly, but it wouldn’t uninstall either. Luckily I had Firefox on my PC at that time, so I could still browse. For me, anyway, Firefox is still a very foreign experience. It just doesn’t feel right. Anwyay, a day or so layer, someone on the IE support forums suggested a Windows rollback, which worked.
So, IE 7 Beta 2 Preview did install. And, after a reboot, I was able to bring it up. Very slow loading. But, lo and behold, there was the MSN page, inviting me to take a tour of the features. So, I did. And at that point things started to go wrong. First, the pop-up blocker warned me that it was blocking a pop-up (the self-same tour of features), which left a great big ugly white square on the screen that didn’t redraw. In fact, nothing worked. So, I executed the three-finger salute, and checked task manager. Ah hah! Iexplorer.EXE consuming 99% of CPU resources.
I killed it, and tried again. I browsed a few sites, and while it was sluggish, it seemed to be working. Perhaps it was just the tour that was the problem.
Next, I browsed to the very popular saunderslog.com. Hmmm… first thing I noticed was some minor differences in rendering from Version 6 to Version 7. Nothing super bad, but I’ll be editing my CSS again. Bummer. Then I tried out a few of the buttons on the top of the browser. Stuff like the RSS button and so on. And that’s when things started to go bad again. I got the subscription center open, but couldn’t close it. The Yahoo toolbar kacked. Tabbed browsing looked good, but wouldn’t render properly.
To make a long story short, I killed the browser again (it was starving my CPU, once more), and then hit the control panel and uninstalled it. The good news — at least you can uninstall this one.
IE 7 Beta 2 Preview looks very promising, has a slick new UI, and lots of cool new features. I can hardly wait for a working version.