Dwight Watt - Newspaper Article #98 4/6/2011

Question: Is the new Internet Explorer 9 better?


Internet Explorer 9 is the latest Internet browser from Microsoft. It was released a few weeks ago. So far Microsoft has not included it as part of Windows Updates so Windows is not automatically updating to IE9 yet.

Internet Explorer 9 (IE9) has a totally different appearance to the interface (what you see and use) than previous versions. IE8 cleaned the interface a little but IE9 has done a drastic cleaning of the interface. If you have used Chrome or Safari or Opera for a browser, the new interface is similar.

With the new interface there is very little that shows on the desktop and gives you a lot more space for the web page to display, meaning less need to scroll. Where you used to have a bar that went all the way across to control the page and type in addresses and then there were big spelled out buttons fro Favorites and such this is now reduced down and appears as the first tab where you can have tabs to different pages open at one time. In that tab is space to enter the website address (url) or to enter what you want to search for. If doing search then click the magnifying glass, or just enter if you had typed a url

There is a down arrow in the tab also that gives you the previous sites you have visited recently as in previous versions. Then the is a torn sheet symbol that puts you in compatibility view to use when a web site does not work well in IE9 but works in older versions. The refresh button is next with two circular arrows (gets an updated version of the page). Then the x is available to close the tab.

You can still display many toolbars if you want (but use up the available real estate) by right clicking on the toolbar and checking or unchecking them.

Favorites is no longer spelled out but you get same dropdown with History by clicking the star on the right. Tools are in the wheel with cogs as in last few versions.

One neat item added on IE9, but limit your use is that you can drag a favorite or a tab to the task bar at the bottom of Windows and pin it there so you have a shortcut to that page from the taskbar in Windows and do not have to start IE. This only works using Windows 7.

The Yellow bar when you download files has moved. It is a clearer worded box that appears at the bottom in a gold colored box.

IE9 is available at Microsoft.com for free and is easy to download and install. You can only have one version of IE on your PC at a time (except if you are using 64bit Windows you can have the 32bit an d64 bit IE both installed). It appears to run a little faster than IE8 in my short use of it. It is a cleaner interface and unless you used lots of the stuff showing before should be easy to change. However a few things moved so you may have to look first several times. This release should keep IE as the leading used browser. However IE has lost a lot of market share in recent years. A couple years ago 80% was the share IE had and today I saw it is down to about 57%. Firefox and Chrome have made tremendous growth in that time.

IE9 has a lot good new features and is an improvement. However if you like your version of IE and comfortable you may want to consider not upgrading. Most people will like the new IE.