January 31, 2006 9:00 AM PST

Microsoft releases IE 7 beta to public

Microsoft took the wraps off Internet Explorer 7 Tuesday, releasing the new "preview" version of its Web browser to the general public for testing.

The program, still a work in progress, is available for download from the Internet Explorer section of Microsoft's corporate Web site, the company said. The company, which began limited testing in July, had promised to deliver a public beta by the end of March.

"The big update is that it's public," said Margaret Cobb, group product manager for Internet Explorer at Microsoft. "All previous releases were limited."

IE 7 screenshot

The latest version works only with Windows XP Service Pack 2 and includes many of the features Microsoft has been touting for months. Among them are new security and privacy protection capabilities such as mechanisms designed to combat phishing attacks, spyware and other threats.

Another new feature lets users clear their browsing history more easily and thus wipe out passwords, form data and cookies in one click, the company said.

The new browser also includes tabbed browsing and a search box on a more streamlined toolbar, concepts that should be familiar to users of Firefox, a rival browser distributed by the Mozilla Foundation.

product review
IE7 beta
Read CNET's review of the beta version of Microsoft's Internet Explorer 7 browser.

Microsoft said that the new Printing Enhancements and Shrink to Fit printing features enable users to adjust margins, change the page layout, remove headers or footers, and increase or decrease the print space.

Tabbed browsing lets users open multiple Web pages in a single browser window. Microsoft has tried to best Firefox with something called Quick Tabs. That feature provides an at-a-glance, thumbnail view of all open tabs in a single window.

In addition, the program is supposed to let users more easily subscribe to syndicated feeds from news and sports sites, blogs and stores. The browser detects feeds enabled by Real Simple Syndication, or RSS, technology, illuminating an icon on the toolbar. Users can preview, subscribe and scan syndicated headlines directly through the browser, Microsoft said.

Click here to Play

Video: A look at Internet Explorer 7
Microsoft releases beta of latest browser

IE 7 also includes a number of new features for Web developers, including support for up-and-coming Web-programming technologies known collectively as AJAX.

Microsoft plans to release a final version of IE 7 later this year, around the time the company debuts the next version of its Windows operating system, Windows Vista.

136 comments

Join the conversation!
Add your comment
IE 7 Is Great
I've been runing IE 7 since its release back last july and i have never had a problem with the program at all, ever. Initially a few websites, namely yahoo's mail client, would not work with it, but that was their fault. I am extreamly happy wth this piece of software and it made me convert from mozilla back to IE in July. It is very polished and the tabs work supurb. Keep up the good work MS.
Posted by nizzy1115 (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Glad you like it.
I will be trying it out pretty soon on a test system.

I do wonder, from a web developers stand point, does it support at least as many web standards as Firefox and Opera? (Yes I mean that as a real question)

I know they have said they will support the W3C web standards in version 7.x, but is it version 7 or is it planned for a later version.

For me, I will tell you right now that I will not be switching to IE only for any reason. If Microsofts competition falters again IE will once again become stalled and we will end up with IE 7.x for the next 15 years.

From the pictures I've seen the only thing that actually looked interesting was the page preview thingy, but everything else just looked like everyone elses stuff. Same ol' same ol'.
Posted by System Tyrant (1453 comments )
Link Flag
Thanks Chris...
You're check is in the mail.

Sincerly,
Citizen Gates & Big Brother Ballmer
Jurassic Park HQ
Redmond, WA.
Posted by Llib Setag (951 comments )
Link Flag
Yahoo and other big sites
A lot of sites broke in the initial release of IE7; not necessarily all their fault. IE team is working closely with the big consumer web sites to make the smoothest transition though. In fact, there will still be some things you see in this release, such as layout issues, etc. that we will be working with site owners to correct. The goal for this release of IE7 is to make it easier for site owners to test compatibility, so that when the broader IE7 beta goes out most of the issues are resolved.
Posted by allenjs (6 comments )
Link Flag
I'm pretty happy, too.
I'm pretty pleased with IE 7. I'm immediately seeing a speed increase over IE 6.

Because I do web-based content management work all day long, I always try every new browser that comes out... Opera, Firefox, Flock, etc.

I've been a big fan of the tabs, but IE does it the closest to how I'd expect tabs to work.

The thing that's really prevented me from using any of the other browsers long-term, though, is the fact that you can't search inside a form element or textarea. (Apparently coming with Fox2)

If I could see improvements in IE 7, I'd ask for:

- CTRL-PGUP and CTRL-PGDN to change tabs. (Other browsers already have, right?)

- Ability to set CONTROL-N to open a new tab instead of a new window/instance. (Yes, CONTROL-T does this, but I'm set in my ways and will never remember that.)

- Ability to merge tabs into multiple instances back into a single instance of IE.

- Bring back the customizable and standard UI. This new one is ugly. Even though I use Stroke-It ( <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.tcbmi.com/strokeit/" target="_newWindow">http://www.tcbmi.com/strokeit/</a> ) or the Intellimouse buttons for forward and backwards, what genius put stop and home on the complete opposite side of the browser?
Posted by TV James (680 comments )
Link Flag
The best news is...
Firefox 2.0 Beta comes out soon.
Posted by drhowarddrfine (67 comments )
Link Flag
Alt browser to IE: Oxygen web browser
You know there is an alt web browser to IE which is very good. It is Oxygen, it is free &#38; open source. It is here:
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.netdive.com/oxygen/download.htm" target="_newWindow">http://www.netdive.com/oxygen/download.htm</a>

What makes Oxygen really the best browser are few reasons: one of them is that it has Java native built in, thus eliminating a cumbersome download of Java. It is also light, free from any extras such as email, etc.
Posted by Dean_Ansari (61 comments )
Reply Link Flag
It SUCKS.
I downloaded it and gave it a try. It is more out of date than IE and is based on Mozilla 1.1. It sucks.
Posted by System Tyrant (1453 comments )
Link Flag
Oh Oh...
Not another shill for anoox. (NetDive and Anoox joined by the hip if you don't know)...
Posted by KsprayDad (375 comments )
Link Flag
Where's the beta?
Uh, is it just me, or is there no sign on Microsoft's web site of an IE7 beta release today?
Posted by jason.augustyn99 (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Me too
I thought I was going crazy not seeing in on the page they linked.
Posted by WebDev503 (5 comments )
Link Flag
Story updated
They updated the story to say it will be available "shortly".
Posted by jbrunette (1 comment )
Link Flag
nah.. me too
I have been looking for this elusive beta that all tech websites keep trumpetting. I see nothing..
Posted by dasugo (6 comments )
Reply Link Flag
ajax: up and coming
man ... soo off beat, ajax is just a term that was coined recently, the technology was there from IE 5 or 5.5
Posted by codecanvas (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Microsoft Invented AJAX
With all the MSFT bashing, and all the current hype about AJAX (XMLHttpRequest), why is it that virtually NO reporter ever credits Microsoft for inventing this technology?

The line "which includes support for up-and-coming technology AJAX" seems to suggest that Microsoft is, yet again, late to the party.

There's only one problem with this implication -- it's WRONG. It's a party that Microsoft invented with IE 5.5. AJAX is a genuine Microsoft innovation (though they don't get credit for coining the term). Microsoft didn't steal XMLHttpRequest or copy it from anyone. It originated within the XML and IE teams at Microsoft.

Come on guys, give MSFT a little credit once in a while. This idea that Google or Sun or Apple invents everything in the computing universe is a little tired.
Posted by stevemur (12 comments )
Link Flag
The Beta IS on Microsoft's site...
The public beta is available on Microsoft's site, they just didn't make it too easy to find. Here is the link: <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.microsoft.com/windows/IE/ie7/ie7betaredirect.mspx" target="_newWindow">http://www.microsoft.com/windows/IE/ie7/ie7betaredirect.mspx</a>
Posted by dchoward1977 (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Thanks
I returned a favor and downloaded it with Firefox since I used IE to download Firefox.

I'll place it on a test machine and see what I think.
Posted by Wildcat0695 (22 comments )
Link Flag
of course, nowhere to be found on MSDN
just anothe reason to keep using FireFox.

Mozilla posts it right on the front page, encouraging development.

MS is still trying to keep things under wraps, while technology and innovation keeps passing them by.
Posted by Lite Rocker (42 comments )
Reply Link Flag
IE homepage
If you go to Microsoft's Internet Explorer Homepage

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.microsoft.com/windows/ie/default.mspx" target="_newWindow">http://www.microsoft.com/windows/ie/default.mspx</a>

a link to the beta can be found right on the front page. No one is trying to keep this under wraps, they just hadn't posted it yet.
Posted by someguy389 (102 comments )
Link Flag
Great Job
The IE team did a great job. I've installed on 2 machines at work, the install went without a hitch. Getting used to the new locations of some of the icons and features takes a bit, but all in all it looks great and works great.

The reason it may appear as hard to find is, as the article noted, MS would like developers to run the beta rather then consumers which makes sense.
Posted by robertcampbell2 (103 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Thanks BOB!
You're check is in the mail.

Sincerely,
Citizen Gates &#38; Big Brother Ballmer
Jurassic Park HQ
Redmond, WA.
Posted by Llib Setag (951 comments )
Link Flag
My first impression
I've only been using IE7 Beta for a few hours but while the tabs are a welcome addition, I find it much slower than Firefox, and even IE6. (Its definitely a beta)

For the unenlightened that still use IE, it will give them a taste of the features the rest of us have been enjoying for the past few years.

For the rest of us, it's nothing new.
Posted by rcrusoe (1305 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I agree...
anyone who has used Firefox will be right at home with IE7. Put differently, IE7 rips off Firefox right down to the specific key sequences used to resize text (good ol' Ctrl-+/-). The anti-phishing stuff is nice, though Firefox may have something similar (not sure there). Opera still wins points for including speech recognition and text-to-speech features.

I used IE at work, Firefox at home. Glad to see that MS has taken some benchmarking leads and made my internet use at work somewhat as pleasant as my home use.

P.S. Has anyone noticed that news.com pages are filled with the solid yellow background for around a half second before text is displayed against the correct white background? Oh what fun...
Posted by jason.augustyn99 (2 comments )
Link Flag
And I find the opposite
I've using it and comparing with Firefox and IE 6 and haven't found any speed difference among any of them...
Posted by robertcampbell2 (103 comments )
Link Flag
Other considerations
Besides the features, there are a few other things we should consider as well.

How big is the program? I've downloaded patches for IE 6 that were bigger than the installation for all of Firefox. That's alot of code for doing basically the same thing.

How flexible is the program? Firefox has a modular design that allows pluggins. IE has the ability to do pluggins to an extent like the google toolbar. I'm waiting to hear on IE 7 on how it is but I'm not expecting much.

One feature I would like to see in IE is the ability to restore it to default settings for everything. That would have been very useful after working on many computers that had the browser corrupted by a malicious website. I don't know if firefox can be restored to original settings by removing and reinstalling it as I haven't had the need yet, but not being tied to the OS does have advantages.

It seems the best thing IE7 has going for it now is that it's still in beta. That atleast give microsoft time to improve it more before full release.
Posted by Seaspray0 (9714 comments )
Link Flag
OOOOOOO.... Tabs!
Too little too late as usual with Microsloth.

Been there, done that, years ago on better web browsers (Firefox/Safari/Mozilla/etc/etc).

woop-tee-doo Billy "BOB".
Posted by Llib Setag (951 comments )
Reply Link Flag
yeah.....
You hate microsoft, we get it.
Posted by Rolndubbs (194 comments )
Link Flag
So True...
Microsloth pushing people around, stealing innovation and still
can't keep up. Woop tee doo indeed.
Posted by dlgeezer (13 comments )
Link Flag
Yeah, not new
Even Avant Browser, a browser container for IE manages tabs. They should improve important things.
Posted by ::.: dave :.:: (1 comment )
Link Flag
Standard compliance?
My only concern is standards compliance. I'm really tired of writing
standard code then having to hack it to get it to work in IE. Anyone
have any insight here?
Posted by vchmielewski (59 comments )
Reply Link Flag
IE is eight years behind the standards
Or they have it wrong. And IE7 is not much better.
Posted by drhowarddrfine (67 comments )
Link Flag
Well a bad sign would be...
The MS guy that's come on here saying that there's been a lot of issues with sites working with IE7. He then says "not always their fault"... lol, excuse me, if a site displays correctly on every browser except one, is it not the browser that's wrong? :oD Except that would suggest there's such a thing as web standards.
Posted by Mutex (40 comments )
Link Flag
What's so great?
I've installed it, visited a few pages and I will uninstall it in a few seconds. Nothing new to browsing experience... The interface is ugly and poorly copies Firefox.

I'm curious though to see the final release...
Posted by R-dox (15 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Look IE is great, NOW, as a beta before its releaced
Please, sure IE7 is about as good as firefox is, NOW, and lets see, Firefox has thousands of add-ons, that are being updated all the time. I mean please, most people are running IE5, its like 4 years old, IE is just like the Xbox, if you look at Xbox graphics now, the PC is so much better, back when it was releaced, yeah, sure its great, but in a few years, PC's, which can be updated, or improved on whenever (hummm, just like, uh, Firefox) passed the Xbox in terms of gameplay, now the Xbox360 is out, I have played it, yeah, the graphics and gameplay is better then PC, for maybe a year, and then PC will return to the top.

All I am saying is that IE looks as good as Firefox, but without the support, the add-ons, the updates, and the shear flexiblity of it all.

Thanks, but I'll stick with Firefox for now...
Posted by jzsaxpc (43 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Why can't IE improve too?
Your analogy is bogus. The Xbox and Xbox360 could not be upgraded and improved as the PC can, but BOTH Internet Explorer and Firefox can be incrementally upgraded. Obviously Firefox has a head start with the add-ons, but that doesn't mean IE couldn't catch up. I'm not saying that it will, but you're approaching this as if IE is going to be a static entity in the future. I doubt that. MS now has competition, the entire reason they are starting to improve IE again. I don't think they are going to make these investments in improving the product and then just ditch it. They know that as long as competitors survive, they will have to keep up or risk their market share.
Posted by someguy389 (102 comments )
Link Flag
Hello All
Well I just want to say that internet technology (IT)is ever evolving. Like any industry there is be it textiles, cars, logging, ect., it is an industry. We all love it or we would not be here. My hats off to all of the people who work in it from, website design, to development, to testing, and to all of technology in general. It does not matter where these people work, the point ladies and gentlemen is that they do work. They work for us. They do a job that some of us only have an inkling of.
Now about this browser from MS, I would think the phishing feature would be really nice, however firefox may have as someone earlier stated have something similar.
I think I will use the old adage, patience is a virtue, and wait to try it. I want to see what people really think of it before I upgrade it. I really like the Firefox open source. I have read not too long ago that open source is many many technologist from all over the world, who develop things for the firefox. I like new things in technology and I like trying them to see if I like them. So I will stay with Firefox and also IE. I have both. Waiting out the beta though as this new browser from IE gets tested. The developers will tell how well it performs. I also get a squeamish feeling when I think about security and what kind of problems that can create.
I am glad to see that MS is in keeping with the industry though. I don't know the reason really why they falter as far as keeping pace with everyone, but I am glad that they do what they do. So... I guess what you can say is different strokes for different folks. I have no beef with MS because it is technology. It is better than I myself could do. There are many things to try, and I learn everyday at least one thing about IT. I'm glad it is there. I like it. I have fun with it and I am always going to use it. You people do a wonderful job out there no matter what field you work in and no matter who you work for. Even if it is for yourself. So thanks to Mozilla, MS, Linux, Gateway, open source, security, and everyone I have not listed. I like all of you.
Now...waiting to see what kind of lowdown this new browser will bring.
Posted by Eskiegirl302 (82 comments )
Reply Link Flag
IE7
I'll try it for a while but, it seems to load like windows, looks all there but wont work for a bit loooonger
Posted by fstocking (5 comments )
Reply Link Flag
IE 7 Hates the competition!
After installing the IE 7 Beta 2 I was not able to use Opera as my default browser. It didn't disallow the setting but when I clicked on a link in an email in Outlook Express it would not display the link, instead it would bring up a Windows Explorer window of the directory C:\Documents and Setting\"My User Name". Everything worked fine when I set IE 7 to be the default browser.
Posted by ljarrell (3 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Got to give props too
I do have to give MS a bit of praise though. At least I was able to use the restore function in XP to get rid of the offending software.
Posted by ljarrell (3 comments )
Link Flag
No problem here
I had no such problem with Outlook and Firefox as my default browser.

I wouldn't say they hate the competition. I noticed that Google stuck it out as my default search option instead of being replaced by MSN... a pleasant surprise.
Posted by someguy389 (102 comments )
Link Flag
Re: IE7 Hates the competition
I use Opera as my default browser on one of my machines and I didnt have that problem when I installed IE7.

Strange.
Posted by robertdohnert (12 comments )
Link Flag
IE7 beta
All the talk about firefox and the others i wonder where they where when windows came out years ago and who led the way, i play games and why cant i use firefox or the others in my games i wonde because games i play use IE, ie has been good for me so i will stick with it and who needs so many add-ons seeams to me some one would have to spend lot of time on a pc to get the full use anyways, myself i have a life away from the pc lol
Posted by elliottfire (14 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Oi!
Ummm...IE was not the first browser, bright eyes, it didn't lead the way.

If you are having trouble playing games perhaps you need to loosen up the security settings in FF...or hey, blame IE for allowing websites to creat content that isn't standards compliant...make sure to check with your parents before you do this.

You don't seem to grasp the concept behind browsers such as FF or Opera. They are ment to be standards compliant with a small footprint that allows users to add the functions they want/need as they see fit.
Posted by KsprayDad (375 comments )
Link Flag
Disable Antivires
Since i installed IE7 my mcafee antivirus is disabled i can see only blank window. Does anybody has the same proble??
Posted by ehelp (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Same problem
I ran into the same problem. I just did a system restore to roll back before the install. This is a beta after all so something obviously isn't working between the two.
Posted by Charleston Charge (362 comments )
Link Flag
No Thanks---I'll Keep Firefox
I switched over to Firefox from IE6 about three months ago, and I'm quite satisfied with it. It works fine with me, on approximately 95% of websites.

As far as security, I haven't seen any pop-up ads for months. I can block Javascript on questionable sites if I prefer with the NoScript extension. The Adblock extension is fully capable of filtering over 99% of ads on web pages, when it is used in conjunction with the Filterset.G updater extension. Firefox is far more secure than IE, because it is not integrated into the OS. I believe that my computer is more secure because of Firefox---I haven't had any problems with viruses, adware, or spyware in the past three months.

The theme I use on both Firefox and Thunderbird is "Aquatint"---a pleasant silver and blue theme, akin to Apple's color scheme. Now that I'm used to it, I would hate to go back to the bland tan color of IE.

I don't really care about IE7's integration of tabs, because I don't use tabbed browsing that
often on Firefox. Tabbed browsing is over-hyped. What I like about Firefox is the ability to customise the features from hundereds of extensions and themes...Firefox becomes YOUR browser, as you get to customize it any way you choose, to suit your needs or style. For instance, on mine I have a weather program, RSS, and media player integrated right into the browser.

In short, I don't feel that there are any improvements in IE7 that would make switching back from Firefox necessary.
Posted by Michael G. (185 comments )
Reply Link Flag
actually
with the inclusion of extensions like ieTAB and ieVIEW, firefox effectively works on 99.9% of web sites.
Posted by mortis9 (370 comments )
Link Flag
Should Be Interesting...
I wonder if we will stats about how many times it's downloaded like the Firefox articles every week. Why do I suspect despite the praise of how Firefox is better, IE7's total downloads surpass FF rather quickly.

Oh the irony.
Posted by BlinkMM182 (63 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Fear of Change
People are afraid of changing something that they've used for so many years, such as IE. It takes courage to change, to try something new. I have no doubt that downloads of IE7 will probably exceed those of Firefox.
Posted by Michael G. (185 comments )
Link Flag
The difference is ...
Firefox users are upgrading or switching. IE7 downloaders are looking to see what's new. So far, forum users are immediately uninstalling.
Posted by drhowarddrfine (67 comments )
Link Flag
works quite well...
i tried ie7 for last 4 hours... i thought it was great... until i had to use firefox to check some bookmarks... i just can't let firefox go. it's the extensions that make it great. i'm totally open-minded to change, but microsoft must embrace a community mentality in order to built up extension developers.
Posted by mortis9 (370 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Extension
ie as a developer sdk out there, you can write "extensions" for it. It's funny why those so rare now, they use to be quite frequent years ago, you even had tab browsing and so on. They also had the nice feature in 98 active desktop with which you could download and use "widgets" that I guess was also ahead of its time.
Posted by Pascoli (74 comments )
Link Flag
IE7 crashes my system
I think 4 hours and works great is a load..... I tried it for about 5 minutes on my work computer and found it crashes on certain sites. Worse it changed some DLL's that cause my other good browsers (Deepnet Explorer) to crash as well. I should know better than testing beta versions.......

I'd recommend holding off of IE7 until it has been released for some time. Now to figure out how to restore my system back pre-IE7

I'd recommend holding off of IE7
Posted by NitroCrzy (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
That's what you get for not setting a restore point
I run IE up until I tried to log onto my bank. IE7 does not support 128 bit encoding. I just restored to my restore point I set before install. Every thing works fine with IE6 now.
Posted by wtortorici (102 comments )
Link Flag
Crash crazy
Crashed at least 15 times in a couple hours and was non-responsive for what seemed like forever before it shut down. I didn't even really get to try it out at all because everytime I tried to figure out what is was all about it crashed and froze on me. Back to IE 6.2 for me, IE7 isn't worth the headache untill it's fixed.
Posted by pdsmith (1 comment )
Link Flag
This is pretty bad.
It's just eye candy and fluff. I still can't get CSS to work right. They should just throw in the towel in this market. When will they learn?
Posted by drhowarddrfine (67 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Works Great For Me...
Ruinning it on a production DELL 9200. Nothing fancy.

Works fine. Cool Features. Tabbed browsing, new larger clearer fonts and shrink to fit printing are all welcome changes.
Posted by (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Works fine
Nothing bad so far.....although IE6 worked fine for me as well.

After all its just a browser. I wonder if News.com will give us weekly updates on how many download it like they did with fire fox?????:)
Posted by Lindy01 (443 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Probably not..
Since IE already has 90% or so of the market it would be pretty astounding if they didn't have users upgrading...that isn't news.

Firefox went from 0% to 8% (or so...don't flame me I'm just using round numbers) by word of mouth and user donations...that is news.

I switched to Firefox back around .8 or so and have NO problem switching back to IE or anything else...just give me the value proposition as to why I want to do that work...when I start hearing that IE or any other is superior to FF for reasons I am interested in...I'll switch. Simple.
Posted by KsprayDad (375 comments )
Link Flag
 

Join the conversation

Add your comment

The posting of advertisements, profanity, or personal attacks is prohibited. Click here to review our Terms of Use.

What's Hot

Discussions

Shared

RSS Feeds

Add headlines from CNET News to your homepage or feedreader.