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IE7 released

Last updated on July 23, 2020

Microsoft has finally graced Windows XP users with Internet Explorer 7. While it’s redesign isn’t as severe as the one planned for Office 2007, it’s certainly a taste I haven’t acquired yet, even after playing around with it in Vista. At least the XP version doesn’t break some implementations of Outlook Web Access.

The positive additions include a tabbed interface and a good one. I particularly like how you can add a new tab by clicking a blank one and the “Expose-like” “Quick Tabs” button (although it shouldn’t be a tab itself). There’s also an integrated feed reader with auto-discovery and an integrated search bar that has arrived too late for me to dump the Google Toolbar.

Overall, a lot of these features are playing catch-up to Firefox and Safari. For newbies, there’s a host of security improvements designed to overcome the design flaws of the popular ActiveX and anti-phishing technology, but the former often gets in the way and the latter to slows down browsing. Wouldst that Microsoft would see the error of ActiveX’s ways and find a way to retire its support gracefully.

In terms of questionable UI changes, Microsoft now hides the menu bar by default, and activating it puts it below the unmoveable address bar; I seem to remember someone mentioning that Microsoft wanted the address bar to be long to provide more clues as to a site’s authenticity; URLs are now displayed atop popup wndows. In any case, there doesn’t seem to be a way to put it under the window title bar where it “belongs.” Alas, as someone who uses Outlook Web Access a lot and depends on IE’s Search feature that isn’t supported in other browsers, I will have to get used to it.