I had installed IE9 during the early beta (very early) and had to uninstall it due to some issues with internal websites and applications. I decided to wait until IE9 fully released before installing it again. Since IE9 Released to Web on Monday, March 14, 2011, I went ahead and installed it on my production machines yesterday. I thought I would share my experience in a quick blog post.

Since I didn’t take a screenshot of IE8 on my machine prior to upgrading, I did so on my home machine before I installed IE9 on it. The key here is that I am used to having the lay out in a certain way.

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I regularly use the Bing search bar in the upper right and do take advantage of the Command menu area below that. I also have Favorites on my Favorites bar so that I can easily access key sites. I also do quite a bit of tab browsing so I tend to have quite a few tabs open during the day (as well as multiple instances of IE).

After installing IE9, the layout was immediately different as shown below.

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The “menu” area is much cleaner right out of the box. I immediately noticed that the tabs are right next to the address bar and as I opened up multiple tabs, my experience wasn’t the best. I immediately spent a few minutes making changes to the layout so that it would fit my needs better and here is what I ended up with.  It was all a matter of right clicking in the “menu” area and turning on all the bars available as well as choosing to show tabs on a separate row – very easy and simple to do.

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If you compare this screenshot with the IE8 one at the beginning, you can see I pretty much made the layout look the same. The only thing missing is the Bing Search bar in the upper right. With IE9, I can just type my search items right into the address bar and when I hit enter, a Bing Search is automatically executed and I get my Bing search results. Awesome!!!

Another new capability that I really like is around starting a new (blank) tab. I now get a list of some frequent sites I’ve visited that are easy to see and click.

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Final Synopsis

I did not do a comparison of specific features or performance in this post as that was not my intent.  Instead, I just wanted to provide a quick post on my initial experience with IE9 especially as it related to layout and fear of “newness”.  If a person really is set on having IE with a specific layout, there is a very good chance that IE9 will still support that.  It may just take a little reconfiguration – like what I did. 

One improvement I will point out is around editing of my Blog site – specifically the Upcoming Events Page.  I constantly fought to get edits to save when using IE8, but everything worked smoothly with IE9. 

I encourage you to download it and give it a try yourself: www.beautyoftheweb.com.  There is also great information at the IE9 Springboard site.

Harold Wong