Our Look at the Internet Explorer 9 Platform Preview

Have you been hearing all about Microsoft’s work on Internet Explorer 9 and are curious about it? If you are wanting a taste of the upcoming release then join us as we take a look at the Internet Explorer 9 Platform Preview.

Note: Windows Vista and Server 2008 users may need to install a Platform Update (see link at bottom for more information).

Getting Started

If you are curious about the systems that the platform preview will operate on here is an excerpt from the FAQ page (link provided below). There are two important points of interest here:

  • The platform preview does not replace your regular Internet Explorer installation
  • The platform preview (and the final version of Internet Explorer 9) will not work on Windows XP

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There really is not a lot to the install process…basically all that you will have to deal with is the “EULA Window” and the “Install Finished Window”.

Note: The platform preview will install to a “Program Files Folder” named “Internet Explorer Platform Preview”.

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Internet Explorer 9 Platform Preview in Action

When you start the platform preview up for the first time you will be presented with the Internet Explorer 9 Test Drive homepage. Do not be surprised that there is not a lot to the UI at this time…but you can get a good idea of how Internet Explorer will act.

Note: You will not be able to alter the “Homepage” for the platform preview.

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Of the four menus available there are two that will be of interest to most people…the “Page & Debug Menus”. If you go to navigate to a new webpage you will need to go through the “Page Menu” unless you have installed the Address Bar Mini-Tool (shown below).

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Want to see what a webpage will look like in an older version of Internet Explorer? Then choose your version in the “Debug Menu”. We did find it humorous that IE6 was excluded from the choices offered.

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Here is what the URL entry window looks like if you are using the “Page Menu” to navigate between websites.

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Here is the main page of the site here displayed in “IE9 Mode”…looking good.

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Here is the main page viewed in “Forced IE5 Document Mode”. There were some minor differences (colors, sidebar, etc.) in how the main page displayed in comparison to “IE9 Mode”. Being able to switch between modes makes for an interesting experience…

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As you can see there is not much to the “Context Menu” at the moment. Notice the slightly altered icon for the platform preview…

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“Add” an Address Bar of Sorts

If you would like to use a “make-shift” Address Bar with the platform preview you can set up the portable file (IE9browser.exe) for the Internet Explorer 9 Test Platform Addressbar Mini-Tool. Just place it in an appropriate folder, create a shortcut for it, and it will be ready to go.

Here is a close look at the left side of the Address Bar Mini-Tool. You can try to access “IE Favorites” but may have sporadic results like those we experienced during our tests.

Note: The Address Bar Mini-Tool will not line up perfectly with the platform preview but still makes a nice addition.

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And a close look at the right side of the Address Bar Mini-Tool. In order to completely shut down the Address Bar Mini-Tool you will need to click on “Close”.

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Each time that you enter an address into the Address Bar Mini-Tool it will open a new window/instance of the platform preview.

Note: During our tests we noticed that clicking on “Home” in the “Page Menu” opened the previously viewed website but once we closed and restarted the platform preview the test drive website was the starting/home page again.

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Even if the platform preview is not running the Address Bar Mini-Tool can still run as shown here.

Note: You will not be able to move the Address Bar Mini-Tool from its’ locked-in position at the top of the screen.

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Now for some fun. With just the Address Bar Mini-Tool open you can enter an address and cause the platform preview to open.

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Here is our example from above now open in the platform preview…good to go.

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Conclusion

During our tests we did experience the occasional crash but overall we were pleased with the platform preview’s performance. The platform preview handled rather well and definitely seemed much quicker than Internet Explorer 8 on our test system (a definite bonus!). If you are an early adopter then this could certainly get you in the mood for the upcoming beta releases!

Links

Download the Internet Explorer 9 Preview Platform

Download the Internet Explorer 9 Test Platform Addressbar Mini-Tool

Information about Platform Update for Windows Vista & Server 2008

View the Internet Explorer 9 Platform Preview FAQ

Akemi Iwaya is a devoted Mozilla Firefox user who enjoys working with multiple browsers and occasionally dabbling with Linux. She also loves reading fantasy and sci-fi stories as well as playing "old school" role-playing games. You can visit her on Twitter and .