Internet Explorer 9 Review
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Two years. That’s how long it took Microsoft to move from version 8 of Internet Explorer to a new edition. The ninth version of the web browser passed through 8 Platform previews, one beta and a Release Candidate to reach end users’ computers as a final release.
Given the amount of attention it received with each improvement rolling out, it is no surprise to anyone that they broke the mold once again in order to shape their browser into a modern web navigator that evolved towards the current site-centric UI concept.
Getting it on the system is still done as a streamlined update, so a restart is required if you want to benefit from the new navigation experience right away.
Compared to previous editions, the interface in Internet Explorer 9
has been adapted to fit the site-centric concept Microsoft is going after. And they managed to do a great with shifting the focus from the browser to the web content by placing the tabs alongside the multifunctional address bar (One Box).
The result is the slimmest frame in the history of web browsers, only 55 pixels in height with the tabs alongside the address bar. Thus you can focus on the page and the content it delivers easier. Even if you place the tabs under One Box Internet Explorer manages to match the slenderness of Google Chrome
Some users may find the default tab configuration a bit cumbersome to work with since fewer tabs fit along One Box. But this design was elected based on Microsoft’s feedback from users which revealed that most people work on average with five tabs at a time.
Organizing tabs into groups has been is available in this version as well, but, on the downside, we noticed that there is no option to save an entire group to favorites. In the context of such a slim frame introduced by IE9 this comes as a downside.
It is hard to believe that under this frail-looking structure there are actually plenty of configuration options. For those longing for the menu bar it has not been discarded yet but merely hidden. Pressing “Alt” key will bring all the traditional elements into view. However, the most frequently used and also the most important options are available under the “Tools” menu pinned at the end of the tab bar.
If some options are not available there you should find them by right-clicking either the blank space in the upper part of the interface or one of the tabs. Going with the first choice allows you to bulk the interface with elements such as the menu bar, commands bar and even the status bar.
“Tools” menu gives you access to safety features, the most prominent in this version being Tracking Protection and ActiveX Filtering. The first one is designed to cut off the browser’s communication with specific websites that gather information about your web navigation habits.
If you enable this service, Internet Explorer 9 automatically blacklists a set of domains snooping at your information. This list is created based on the websites you access. There is also the possibility to add Tracking Protection Lists (TPLs) from companies and organizations that made from helping the users protect their privacy a purpose. You can find several sets of predefined TPLs on this page
ActiveX Filtering has the same privacy protection goal as Tracking Protection, only it acts on ActiveX controls, which are prevented from being loaded in the page. However, although enabling this filtering will lead to faster browsing it can also prevent you from accessing content you want, such as videos. The good news is that you can easily disable ActiveX filtering straight from One Box (click on the blue restriction icon to see the options).
An additional layer of protection, this time against phishing websites and downloading malware, is SmartScreen Filter. It is not a new feature like the aforementioned two, but it continues to do a great job. During our tests we used a batch of 23 phishing websites, out of which 5 were no longer alive. From the remaining 18 only two got through, resulting in a total of 16 phishing sites being blocked through IE9’s SmartScreen Filter.
HTML5 is quite the buzzword in the web browser world these days, each popular product boasting better support for the standard, and the leader of the pack in terms of market share makes no exception. However, a simple look at the HTML5 test page shows that Microsoft is still pretty far behind Chrome with a score of 130 out of 400. Google’s product came in first with a whopping 288 points. Even Mozilla Firefox 3.6.15
did better, scoring 155 points. Of course, this dispute is not even close from being over so there is still plenty of time for improvement as the standard still has some 3 years ahead the final specification.
On the same HTML5 note, Internet Explorer 9 does not offer support for WebM video standard, which enjoys Google’s full attention, sticking instead with the proprietary H.264 format. However, it looks like the Mountain View company prepared a surprise shortly after IE9 RTM’s official release and readied a plug-in that permits it to play WebM video
. It is a technological preview, but Google is not wasting any chance to spread the open-source web video standard.
Internet Explorer 9 can without a doubt be labeled the best IE in Microsoft’s history, delivering fast, modern browsing. Tab ripping may not be among the original features in the application but pining websites to Windows taskbar definitely is, with their dynamic Jump Lists that let you open a specific part of the page; if you pin Twitter or Facebook to taskbar when you right click them you have the option to open the website on a specific page, such as Messages, Mentions or Favorites for Twitter or News, Events, Friends for Facebook (check the images below).
The latest IE evolved beautifully towards the site-centric concept, thus shifting the focus from the web browser itself to the actual web content. Handling tabs is a pretty comfortable experience, download notifications are discreetly shown in the lower part of the window and the new download manager is able to keep a history list of the activity as well as offer protection against malicious files.
The address bar has turned into a multifunctional area that not only serves the URL of the page you’re one, but also works as a search bar for search engines and incorporates “Refresh” and “Stop” buttons. Moreover, it is the place from where you can easily annul restrictions for ActiveX controls and the tracking mechanism. The Good
IE9 simply got better. From the multifunctional One Box, minimalist interface that provides more screen for the web content, the dynamic Jump Lists or the discreet notification system to the improved SmartScreen Filter, the download manager sporting malware protection or the Tracking Protection system, the browser just got back into the game. The Bad
Opening previous browsing sessions is still done in an uncomfortable way, either from the hidden Tools menu or by opening a new tab and choosing the option from the lower part of the screen. If you choose the latter method when the tabs open the new tab will not be replaced by one of the tabs in the session. It would also be nice to have the option to save tab groups to favorites section for later referral.
We noticed that toggling ActiveX Filtering off/on from the "Tools" menu does not actually affect page rendering. In our case applying or lifting the restriction worked only from One Box.
For some websites it failed to display the favicons and these were replaced by the IE logo, which made identifying a bit more difficult. The Truth
Internet Explorer 9 moves faster and much better than its predecessor, has a slicker look and adds huge improvements to privacy protection. The new interface is more powerful despite its reduced size. Most of the options have been intelligently docked into icons serving entire menus.
|User Interface:|| (5/5)|
|Ease of use:|| (5/5)|
|Overall:|| ( /5)||
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|Comment #1 by: Giz of Oz on 16 Mar 2011, 05:53 UTC|| reply to this comment|
Tried it and pretty soon tired of it. Some web pages excruciatingly slow to load, requiring compatibility view to to fix the problem - sometimes way too often. Google Chrome and Firefox much more preferable for my browsing needs. Can't wait for the new Firefox!
|Comment #1.1 by: phil on 22 Mar 2011, 00:30 GMT|
I agree, Tigerdirect.com for example takes 20-25 seconds to load up versus 2-3 seconds on Opera and Goole Chrome. Sorry, IE9 i cannot give you 5 stars, you are not quiet there yet...
|Comment #2 by: corr on 16 Mar 2011, 06:03 UTC|| reply to this comment|
look at the title
'Interent Explorer 9 Review'
|Comment #2.1 by: Ionut Ilascu on 16 Mar 2011, 08:20 GMT|
slip of the finger; all fixed now, thanks.
|Comment #3 by: Silviu on 16 Mar 2011, 06:35 UTC|| reply to this comment|
The review is almost not touching one of the biggest advantages of IE9 over its competitors, that is hardware acceleration. It would have been nice to compare that to Chrome
|Comment #3.1 by: Ionut Ilascu on 16 Mar 2011, 08:55 GMT|
We'll publish a comparative report for a wider browser context and it will includes hardware acceleration as well as other tests. We have some preliminary results from when IE9 and Firefox were in beta: http://news.softpedia.com/news/Browsers-from-Zero-to-Double-Rainbow-Hardware-Acceleration-156926.shtml
|Comment #4 by: gz on 16 Mar 2011, 07:00 UTC|| reply to this comment|
Only two browsers can save any web page into one compressed MHT file. IE 9 saves it twice as fast as IE8.
Seems that most Internet users do not save their views on the screen. If they did, they would pick "freeware" Opera browser, which saves MHT files - instantly.
Seems most Internet users do not care about compliance to international web browser standards. IE has nearly always been the worst in compliance, deliberately sabotaging the whole Internet.
Perhaps we can get the ISO or the United Nations to give another multi-million dollar fine to Microsoft, for deliberately trying to destroy the Internet.
|Comment #6 by: Kriss on 16 Mar 2011, 12:25 UTC|| reply to this comment|
If u tag show tabs in a seperate row,and u have bookmark bar,it's awful...the bookmark bar should be above....it wouldn;t be that confusing.
|Comment #7 by: Williewoody on 16 Mar 2011, 13:26 UTC|| reply to this comment|
Why oh why has there NOT been more adverse comment on the fact that peevishness at Microsoft has meant that those of use still WELL content with XP are precluded from using this. I would have THOUGHT that there would have been UPROAR!!!
Surely this is just pushing punters at Chrome or Firefox?
|Comment #7.1 by: anon on 22 Mar 2011, 19:04 GMT|
don't have money to get win7?
|Comment #7.2 by: Susie Q on 27 Jun 2011, 18:12 GMT|
Thank you! I just switched and did not realize what was happening. I do still have XP, it is not my computer, but the school's. Talk to them about buying new widows and WHY would they make such a major change and not warn us with the blurb to update!!!! FIREFOX here I come.
|Comment #8 by: McStud on 16 Mar 2011, 15:39 UTC|| reply to this comment|
The 32bit version I'm using seems to be just as fast as Chrome. Lack of any customization is a pity.
|Comment #8.1 by: Giz of Oz on 19 Mar 2011, 09:12 GMT|
"Lack of customization..." Yep, another reason to turf IE 9 for Firefox...
|Comment #8.2 by: Ace on 21 Mar 2011, 20:10 GMT|
It's nice and all. I just hate the fact that they moved the favorites. I use them constantly and it's going to take some getting used to.
|Comment #9 by: nemonator on 16 Mar 2011, 22:48 UTC|| reply to this comment|
Is it not free if you have a MS? So should the "price/value" be a "5/5"? It would make since if you are giving Firefox and and Chrome that score and they are free. IE9 is an awesome web browser, it has at least caught up to the others.
|Comment #9.1 by: Ionut Ilascu on 28 Mar 2011, 07:07 GMT|
The key word for this rating category is "value", which cannot be awarded 5 stars at the moment.
|Comment #10 by: younten jamtsho on 17 Mar 2011, 05:59 UTC|| reply to this comment|
interface is copied from Google Chrome. And it failed to work in some of AjaxToolkit features.
|Comment #11 by: Robert on 20 Mar 2011, 16:15 UTC|| reply to this comment|
Just about every other browser more successfully renders CSS3 and HTML5. Microsoft needs to get out of the business of making browsers if they can't make theirs code compliant.
|Comment #12 by: Madren on 24 Mar 2011, 05:34 UTC|| reply to this comment|
I wonder when will IE support mouse middle button clicks on favorite bookmark?
|Comment #13 by: Dugg88 on 13 Apr 2011, 12:39 UTC|| reply to this comment|
IE9...what a complete load of rubbish ... after installing it i couldn't get anything to work on my laptop,browser pages wouldn't open,kept losing internet connection. Decided to un-install IE9 and reinstall IE8.... ahhhhh safe,reliable,dependable peace again..
|Comment #13.1 by: Deb on 11 Sep 2011, 20:01 GMT|
I totally agree I hate it with a passion, it's slow loading, crashes all the time, I lose internet connection as well, and of course it always tells you something on the web caused it but didn't have these problems with my other IE version. Constantly wants to remove my add ons I use and can get nothing done on sites because of crashing. I feel like this version tries to decide what I should use and not use.
Oh and now I'm having the kernel problem which I never had at all until I upgraded. Ugh, and double ugh hate...hate...can I say it again HATE IT! And if I can find IE 8 going back to it.
|Comment #14 by: PS on 14 Apr 2011, 01:43 UTC|| reply to this comment|
Works well when it works - but lots of little problems make it as frustrating to use as IE 8 like fonts that won't print in pdf's, sites that freeze, etc. MS seems to be more and more lost in the complexity of its software.
|Comment #15 by: Chuck on 14 Apr 2011, 03:27 UTC|| reply to this comment|
Installed 9.0 - noticed cleartype was on - found out you can't turn off cleartype in 9.0 - uninstalled 9.0 - using 8.0 again - unbelievable.
|Comment #16 by: Mike on 26 Apr 2011, 00:54 UTC|| reply to this comment|
Internet explorer stinks! Why would they combine the URL box and the tabs onto one line?! You can't see the URL and if you have more than 5 tabs open, which I always do, then they start getting too small! Chrome has a bigger browsing window AND has more room for the omnibox and tabs.
|Comment #17 by: iwillneverstop on 27 Apr 2011, 15:29 UTC|| reply to this comment|
I really don't get it. To many bad comments about IE9. I tried it myself and I see that it's fast, clean and safety. It's now my default web browser again after a long time Firefox was my default web browser.
If you want to have a good browser for yourself, you need to spend time finding yourself such as how to ads-block, how to change the UI the way you want, how to integrate your favourite services into your browser so you can access them easily.
Personally, I installed Bing Bar, so I can access Microsoft Services easily. I installed Quero Toolbar, so I can change the UI the way I want, I can configure the IE to search very efficiently. I installed Fanboy Adblock Tracking Protection List to block ads. I learned many shortcuts and then I can manipulate very fast.
Try it and spend time playing with it, hope you enjoy.
|Comment #18 by: bones38506 on 28 May 2011, 00:39 UTC|| reply to this comment|
its slow and it sucks i like I.E. 8 better
|Comment #19 by: CindyB on 21 Jun 2011, 03:13 UTC|| reply to this comment|
This is the worst browser I have ever used..it is very slow to load pages, or won't load pages completly. The different reminders and pop ups are very annoying. I can't find a single thing about this version that I like. I have used Microsoft for a very long time..maybe it's time to try something else!
|Comment #19.1 by: Rose on 04 Jul 2011, 03:23 GMT|
Thanks for all the info. I am not real computer savy and I did not want to install IE9 until I read some reviews on it. A reminder pops up from time to time suggesting I download it to my computer. I have been happy with IE8 and after reading the reviews, I think I will stick with it. Thanks
|Comment #20 by: redpirate888 on 01 Jul 2011, 22:00 UTC|| reply to this comment|
I switched back to IE8. IE9 was not faster, didn't load pages faster, experienced many freeze-ups, and online games severely lagged or froze up. I never had that problem with IE8. After I switched back to IE8, everything ran smoothly, quickly, never froze, and all online games played perfectly. What exactly were they testing for 2 years at Microsoft when they were developing IE9? Apparently it wasn't streaming video, loading pictures, or playing games. And, apparently, I am not the only who noticed this or experienced these problems. My computers, laptop and desktop, are MORE than equipped to handle any task....so all blame to IE9 problems with videos, pictures, and games goes to the developers at Microsoft. I would not recommend IE9 to anyone until they work out all the kinks....and there are many.
|Comment #21 by: andy on 06 Aug 2011, 17:38 UTC|| reply to this comment|
When I tried IE9, the first and biggest problem I found was that when you type search text into the new multi-function add/search box, and you don't like the results, you must re-enter all search text (super annoying). With the separate search box in IE8, you could tweak what you entered and search again. This was really such a negative feature that I uninstalled IE9 and went back to IE9.
|Comment #21.1 by: Ionut Ilascu on 08 Aug 2011, 11:38 GMT|
All results are displayed in the search engine of your choice, which has a search field itself; how annoying can it be to tweak your query in the text field of the search engine?
|Comment #22 by: john on 07 Aug 2011, 12:51 UTC|| reply to this comment|
That would all be great if the thing actually started even half the time when I open it. Mostly it just locks up immediately and I have to kill about 3 or 4 IE processes before trying to open it again. After about 4 go arounds on that, it starts and works.
|Comment #23 by: Colina on 27 Aug 2011, 22:27 UTC|| reply to this comment|
I started this with a whole essay about how IE9 doesn't work - but why waste words and energy. It sucks. Every single person on its design team should be sacked. I have gone back to IE8 which is marginally better.
The combination of Google's "instant" and IE 9 is a recipe for suicide.
|Comment #24 by: trungpt on 20 Sep 2011, 11:12 UTC|| reply to this comment|
Only one word: great. Hope that IE10 will keep it up.
|Comment #25 by: Daniel Tal on 11 Oct 2011, 14:03 UTC|| reply to this comment|
IE 9 sucks. Its slow, clunky and does not always load pages. The pop-up and save file options interfere and are constant. I have to load pages 2 or 3 times. It has hurt my productivity. I have used IE browsers for a long time. I am thinking of going back to Firefox which I am not a fan off.
Like IE 8, it is integrated into Windows - you can't uninstall it very easy which has caused my problems with IE 8 and now with IE 9.
Microsoft is a company without any vision or quality control. Avoid!
|Comment #26 by: cookie on 13 Oct 2011, 07:18 UTC|| reply to this comment|
The best browser for me, I recommend it for my friends.
|Comment #26.1 by: rt on 19 Oct 2011, 07:10 GMT|
Recommending IE9 is a sure way to end a friendship.
|Comment #27 by: indy on 17 Oct 2011, 23:36 UTC|| reply to this comment|
My story is that IE9 bogs down and I have to wait while it informs me "Internet Explorer has stopped working .... a problem with the Web page cause IE to close and reopen the tab..."etc
I have no idea what to do about this
|Comment #28 by: thupm on 20 Oct 2011, 06:41 UTC|| reply to this comment|
With Pinned sites, the websites I love is just one-click away. I also can protect my privacy with Tracking Protect List. Thank you Microsoft, great job.
|Comment #29 by: freedom 101 on 29 Oct 2011, 02:01 UTC|| reply to this comment|
windows keep freezing and need to be recovered. nothing is handy at all...
|Comment #30 by: john on 30 Oct 2011, 12:53 UTC|| reply to this comment|
For me, IE9 is the only browser that works well with Windows 7.
|Comment #31 by: igor on 31 Oct 2011, 03:07 UTC|| reply to this comment|
No spyware like Google Chrome, No memory eating like Firefox.
|Comment #32 by: fred on 31 Oct 2011, 03:53 UTC|| reply to this comment|
Nice review, IE9 deserves Excellent - 5 stars rating like this. Thank you, Softpedia.
|Comment #33 by: harry on 31 Oct 2011, 04:18 UTC|| reply to this comment|
Maybe you don't know:
To block ads in IE9: just go to http://fanboy.co.nz/adblock/ie.html. Click "Fanboy Adblock List for Internet Explorer 9" Add TPL (Tracking Protection List).
P/S: Fanboy Adblock List is also famous in Firefox world.
|Comment #34 by: dot on 15 Nov 2011, 14:53 UTC|| reply to this comment|
i dont understand all the techno-speak on this subject. but for all us computer dummies, ie9 is a mess. too many steps to do what used to be easy,pop-ups at the bottom of the page that mean absolutly nothing to me. my favorite bar has dissappeared, a new popped up, and i CANT figure out how to organize it. everytime something is new and improved, it becomes a nightmare. thanks ms.
|Comment #35 by: ron on 17 Nov 2011, 01:33 UTC|| reply to this comment|
IE9 is slick and speedy, has better security against malware, is HTML5-friendly, and offers GPU-enhanced graphics performance. Well-done, MS.
|Comment #36 by: Dani on 18 Feb 2012, 17:46 UTC|| reply to this comment|
Sorry to say, but you are way off in your review. Technically speaking, many of your assertions are accurate; however, end-user speaking they are not spot-on. Thus, and from a long-term Microsoft IE user, as well as using other browsers, IE9 is cumbersome and not nearly customizable enough. Depending on your OS and if you have a 64-bit system, especially if you are unfortunate enough to be stuck with an older OS, even Vista, IE9 is a disaster and not compatibile with any of those systems. The features of IE8 are lost and migration of settings is a nightmare. Only if you are willing to invest a small fortune of time and expense is IE9 going to cut the mustard. Unless you are upgrading to Windows 7, I cannot recommend in all good conscience that anyone update from IE8, or earlier IE, to IE9. IE8 is a well-rounded product, albeit with some very minor drawbacks. Security in IE8 is not an issue when keeping current with patches along with a sound, robust internet security and antivirus program. Hence again, stick with IE8 until MS makes the improvements necessary to make IE9 import all the features of IE8 in a similar format, as well as the advancements offered in IE9, which will allow for a much more refined user-friendly product.
|Comment #37 by: Eric on 11 Mar 2012, 16:41 UTC|| reply to this comment|
windows 9.0 sucks - there is wasted windows space at the top of the page and there seems to be no way adjusting it to utilize this space - what design person thought of this??! Also, why take away the FILE/EDIT/VIEW menu's at the top - and create stupid little icons that are easiliy lost on the right?? (you can re-add the menus but once again... why mess with something that works!!??).
|Comment #38 by: Ree on 31 Mar 2012, 15:11 UTC|| reply to this comment|
i did not like IE 9. I missed my favorites bar and could not figure out how to make the favorites bar visible at all times. Every time i clicked on a like in a search engine, it took me to another search engine. I don't feel this is as user friendly as IE 8. I uninstalled 9 and will keep 8 until something more user friendly comes out.
|Comment #39 by: Toni on 16 Sep 2012, 21:34 UTC|| reply to this comment|
This article provided me with the nuts and bolts regarding IE9. Thanks much.
|Comment #40 by: Tumblr me up at played4fools. on 18 Sep 2012, 00:01 UTC|| reply to this comment|
So, uhm do you think this tops google chrome? or nawwww jus stick to chrome?
|Comment #41 by: Ern on 13 Oct 2012, 01:27 UTC|| reply to this comment|
If it is great then suggest as to why it won't open a selected website from the one I am on??? I give up on trying to solve the entropy of progress.
|Comment #41.1 by: sailor on 05 Nov 2012, 21:51 GMT|
I'm running XP on my older desktop, and Win 7 on my newer laptop. I actually would have prefered to run XP on both.
Now I am getting a message from my gmail accounts that my IE8 is incompatable with some pages on my gmail,...and they keep inviting me to switch browsers. BUT I'm most confortable with my IE8, and particularly the 'favorites' layout that I use all of the time.
After reading thru these postings, I certainly do NOT want to upgrade to IE9, and besides it appears as though it would not be compatable with my XP machine. So what is my best option?? (I'm an older guy who spends a lot of time on boat forums, and is not comfortable making changes to my computer interface every several years at the whim of some youg hotshot software guy)
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