The RC (release candidate), for IE 9 is out and I decided to give it a try this week. I’d been hearing a few things here and there – it was faster, lighter, more chrome-like! IE 8 had been kind of boggy lately and I wanted to see for myself. The download was actually in my Microsoft Updates, so I didn’t have to click this link to get it. The install will require a reboot.
The site promoting IE 9 is beautiful – the presentation and colors and speed were really quite impressive. The phrase I’ve heard and read is that this is the browser that not only gets out of the way, but brings web sites to the forefront. By right-clicking on the top bar, you can pretty much remove everything and just have more wide-open spaces – very clean.
There are technical enhancements – such as supporting HTML5 as well as other modern web standards, tracking protection (not perfect, but neither are the other browser’s opt-out tracking) and performance comparison (IE vs. Chrome & Firefox).
This article will focus on some of the more productive, useful and fun things you can do with IE 9.
Faster – Yes – Definitely much faster. I brought up web page after web page and they loaded with hardly any hesitation
Pinning is something we learned about with Windows 7. Well, we can do it with IE 9 too. Here’s how: go to a favorite webpage using IE 9, let’s say it’s Facebook. When Facebook is open, simply grab the tab with your mouse and pull it down to your task bar until you see ‘pin to taskbar’, then you can let go. I did this for both Facebook and Twitter. Below are my icons. Besides being so convenient, I can right-click on the twitter icon and send out a tweet, look at my DMs and @mentions. Same for Facebook, you can see by my icon below that I have a message to look at. I can click on friends, events or news and a window opens that shows me what I’ve selected. Then, I can keep it open or close it back up. When I tried Twitter the first time, it worked, but I did have problems afterwards with it not taking me to my twitter account. It wanted me to log in, although my icon already had my twitter name listed. So maybe that’s buggy from time to time.
If you enjoy being Chrome-like and conducting your search from the address bar, you can now do it with IE 9 – just type your search. As you type, you’ll see a message to turn on suggested sites if you wish. Doing this prompt Bing to figure out what you’re looking for.
Put Tabs On Their Own Row
I just read about this, tried it out and really think it’s much neater and cleaner. With IE 8, the tabs just seemed to become invisible and hard to find, now with IE 9, I have chosen to move the tabs to their own row and wa-la – I can see at a glance what I’ve got. It does look much better, but I’m a huge fan of Firefox’s Tree Style Tabs where I can put my tabs on the side, where I prefer them. Oh well, maybe IE 9 will get that. Here’s a shot of tabs on their own row.
You may or may not know the dangers of Active X – the bad guys can do some real damage by running these controls. If you disable this, you’ll be disabling all Flash – except for the sites that you specify. You’ll know you need to enable flash because you’ll get a little pop-up like the one below. Just click the ‘turn off ActiveX filtering’, to enable flash for what you want to watch. I don’t know if IE remembers this or not – it would be nice if it did! To disable flash, go to the Tools icon in the upper right, roll down to ‘safety’ and click on ‘ActiveX filtering’.
Popular Sites-Easy Access
You’ll notice as you use IE that after a little while when you open your browser, you’ll see snapshots of the sites you’ve visited most or just recently. Just click in the box and be taken back instantly – nice. If there’s a site in there you particularly don’t want on your page, hover your mouse at the upper right corner and remove it. You can also choose to hide all your sites or choose ‘Discover other sites you might like’. For this to work, you’ll have to turn on the ‘suggested sites web slice’.
So here are five cool features of IE 9 – download it and try it out today. Perhaps we’ll look at other features at a later time.