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IE7 Beta 2 Preview: Not Ready For Prime Time

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.

IE 7 Task Manager

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

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