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Internet Explorer 9

Feature Improvements and Privacy

Author: Sheri Mora/Thursday, March 3, 2011/Categories: Security, Tech News

Internet Explorer 9 will be a welcome upgrade to those of us that typically use other browsers, even if only for the user experience. This month has given us two major upgrades in browsing experience, IE9 and Firefox, and if you are a fan of the latter, then you’ll really like IE9. Using it is a fast, smooth experience and so far I’ve found very few sites that were not compatible with it. Seeing how browser performance was a major factor in why many jumped ship to go to Chrome, this will be huge and I expect a lot of those ex-pats to head back to IE land.

The address, tabs, and title bar are all in a very useable but compacted space, so the browser is all about the web page. A neat feature but dubious in its practicality is the ability to pin a website on the taskbar of Windows 7. Personally I love the Windows 7 taskbar for quick access to the applications I use most, and my taskbar has twelve applications on it, so I don’t have much room for pinned websites, and the two or three websites I do go to all the time are all set to be homepages in multiple tabs when I open my browser. But, if you want to try it, with a site open, simply left click hold and drag the tab down to the taskbar to pin it. You will also see that the favicon of the website will be the pinned icon on the taskbar, making picking it out very easy. The new download manager is awesome. Rather than that annoying popup screen asking to run, save, or cancel, you get a nice neat bar at the bottom of the screen giving you basically the same options, but with the added benefit of a “save and run” option. And you get a Firefox like download manager utility to view your previous downloads.

Chrome uses a true sandbox to isolate websites from your operating system, a feature that greatly increases its security and which was made obvious in this year’s pwn to own hacking contest, in which Chrome was not hacked. IE8 was hacked, but IE9 wasn’t up for testing, although the good news is that now IE9 does do sandboxing for 3rd party add-ons such as Java. In previous pwn to own contests, Java was used to get through IE to the operating system, a fault which is difficult for any browser developer to overcome. That being said, you would think that such add-on control would have been commonplace long before IE9, but I’m glad it’s here now and with the ability to use security add-ons such as WOT (Web of Trust) and the continued use of Smartscreen to help protect against phishing and browser hijacks, IE9 looks to be a pretty safe choice for browsing.

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