Internet Explorer 7 Logo

Microsoft just released Windows Internet Explorer 7, Beta 2.

I’ve had some issues with past releases, so I am going to approach this latest release with a bit more caution… I can’t really get away with a statement like that without clarifying, can I?

I installed IE7, Beta 1 and a subsequent candidate release… It worked great, for the most part. My problems with it started when Network Neighborhood in XP started to crash every time I launched it. Then other things tied in with the browser started acting buggy… xml rendering, printing, etc. I finally decided to remove it. Had a heck of a time doing so. After two unsuccessful uninstallation attempts I was able to get it off of my machine. I’ve still had some issues with my system ever since IE7 left its mark… but it’s at least been more stable.

So, as I said earlier, I’ll approach this new release with some degree of caution. Beta software means not ready for primetime. I gotta remember that :)

I am certainly intrigued by what’s being offered now… Microsoft has setup a site devoted to IE7 Add-Ons, with plugins galore to help you extend Internet Explorer. CSS rendering was improved in the last release candidate… but that enhancement should be present in this latest release – and probable refined even further. Add to that tabbed browsing, web search right from the toolbar, advanced printing, easy discovery, reading and subscription to RSS feeds, and much more and IE7 is quickly becoming the browser most of us had hoped it would become five years ago.

I won’t bash Microsoft (much) for slacking off of IE development for as long as they have. I’m sure they had their reasons. I’m glad they’ve decided to refocus their efforts and truly make IE7 a better product than its predecessor.

Will I switch back to IE from Firefox? I dunno. Not any time soon. (And definitely not on my Mac.) But I can sleep better at night knowing that IE7 is going to be better for all of us.