December 8, 2005 9:28 AM PST

Public beta of IE 7 nears

Microsoft is planning to make a beta of Internet Explorer 7 for Windows XP available to the general public within the next four months.

Dean Hachamovitch, general manager of Microsoft's Internet Explorer team, said in a posting on Microsoft's IE blog this week that his team will publicly release an updated prerelease build of IE 7 for Windows XP before the end of March 2006.

"We want to make sure that everyone has an opportunity to try a prerelease version of IE 7 and tell us how it works with their Web sites, their applications, their add-ons, and how they use the Web overall," Hachamovitch said.

Only Microsoft staff and specifically chosen beta testers can currently get their hands on the latest prerelease version.

The first beta of IE 7 was launched in July. It is expected to include several changes, including tighter security and tabbed browsing.

A later blog posting outlined how Microsoft is changing the way Internet Explorer handles "security zones." These zones are used to set security levels depending on the perceived trustworthiness of a Web site. Microsoft is concerned that these zones can be abused by malicious hackers if they can trick IE into treating a dangerous site as if it were trustworthy.

"We realized that the intranet zone--and its lower restrictions--is not relevant at all to the typical home user running IE. One of our interns this summer, Robert Liao, changed IE's logic so that a Windows machine that is not on a managed corporate network will treat apparent intranet sites as Internet sites. This change effectively removes the attack surface of the intranet zone for home PC use," Microsoft said.

Graeme Wearden of ZDNet UK reported from London.

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I don't want to be the poor sap who tries the new IE first!
I would hate to be the first to try the new IE7 Beta. It's probably going to be a big piece of you know what at first, and then after all that they may never get it right.

They need to find a replacement technology for ActiveX. Firefox doesn't need it, so why should IE?

Brandon Rusnak
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.rusnakweb.com" target="_newWindow">http://www.rusnakweb.com</a>
Posted by BMR777 (61 comments )
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Firefox does need it :P
It only gets by because Internet Explorer does :P You said they need a replacement for it? If they found one, do you think Firefox would use it? I doubt it. ActiveX works just fine with the security enhancements in SP2, and was fine for anybody with common sense even before it.

And loads of people have been using the Internet Explroer Beta 1 for ages now. I have been using it for two or three months myself with less problems may I add than I had when I used Firefox.
Posted by Lord Kalthorn (86 comments )
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Remind me again....
... why I should care......
Posted by Earl Benser (4310 comments )
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Because...
...unforunately, pretty soon Microsoft will leverage their Windows monopoly to make this the default browser on the majority of PC desktops.
Posted by open-mind (1027 comments )
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You should care because
even with Opera 8 (which I use), I have to have IE as a back-up. Ditto for FF &#38; Safari.

Sad truth is, most websites cater for IE. If the millions of non-IT people browsing the web want (not)new features liked tabbed browsing, their only going to get it through IE.

If there was ANY alternative that worked as well as IE on all the websites I visit, I wouldn't need to have IE as an icon in my Quick Launch.

I WANT to throw away IE. But some M$ products are still the best choice - even this wireless keyboard &#38; mouse. My # 1 choice, buying software/firmware/hardware is - is it the best product for the job. My # 2 choice is - is it made by someone that is NOT M$ :-)
Posted by (409 comments )
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