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David Addison
by David Addison
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IE9 beta review: is it worth it yet?

12/21/2010
IE9 beta review: is it worth it yet?

No its not. I recently installed the IE9 Beta from Microsoft, available at this location. It installs via a Windows update and becomes the default IE browser. After I installed it, I asked myself, "ok, great, how do I run it?". It took me a minute to figure out that when IE starts now, it starts as IE9 Beta.

At first all was great and I performed the testing that I wanted. IE9 Beta currently supports CSS3 Border Radius (rounded corners) and box shadows (drop shadows), however, it does not appear to support CSS3 gradients just yet.

Despite the lack of CSS3 gradients, I noticed a very welcome increase in responsiveness. Simply based on my observation I would place the speed gains between Firefox and Chrome. It is not as fast as Chrome but appears to respond better than Firefox. I did not stress test it. I know from experience that Chrome has issues and can often crash under heavy loads, and reserves lots of system resources. So if IE9 can come full circle and provide better stability than Chrome it may prove to be a worthy competitor.

As far as using IE9 Beta as a daily browser, I do not recommend it. I visited a selection of sites and it is not ready for prime time. If you are a developer I recommend that you install the IE9 preview. You can still surf the web just go to File >> Open. The preview installation does not integrate with Windows. It installs as a seperate executable that you can run. Once it is installed you can visit the Microsoft Test Drive site to see lots of really cool demos.

What if you have installed IE9 Beta and you want to uninstall it? It is not as straight forward as usual. You have to remove the Windows update that installed IE9 Beta. Here is a quick list of instructions (via Microsoft):

  1. Close all programs.
  2. Click Start, and then click Control Panel.
  3. Click Uninstall a Program under the Programs category
  4. In the Tasks pane, click View installed updates.
  5. In the list of installed updates, double-click Windows Internet Explorer 9.
  6. In the Uninstall an update dialog box, click Yes. Note If you are prompted for an administrator password or for confirmation, type the password, or click Continue.
  7. Follow the instructions to uninstall Internet Explorer 9.
  8. When the uninstall program is finished, restart your computer.
  9. After you restart your computer, open Internet Explorer.
  10. Click About Internet Explorer on the Help menu. If Internet Explorer 7 or 8 appears in the About Internet Explorer dialog box, then you have successfully completed the uninstall.

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