imnuts' Blog
Random stuff from my mind…

Problems with IE7 Beta 3

Recently, Microsoft released the Beta 3 build of Internet Explorer 7 that had bug fixes, updated features, and is supposedly better than the Beta 2 build that was released to the public. However, in the days since its release, this latest beta has been proving to be a lot of trouble and very problematic for several users. While many folks are successfully ‘upgrading’ to the latest build, there are also several people out there having a whole host of different issues. For some, it just doesn’t install for some reason, others install properly, but don’t indicate it, or fail to install without indication. There may be problems where people do not uninstall the previous version of IE7 and have issues, although this should be rare. There are also people that install it just to test it out and then want to uninstall it and can’t. Overall, this release has been not so great.

So, what makes it seem like IE7 Beta 3 is not so good? Well, one of the first things that makes this look like a not so good release is the fact that uninstallation instructions where posted shortly after it was released to the public. The fact that these instructions cover such a wide range of different situations one may encounter is not really good. A public beta should not need instructions for removing it besides a simple “Uninstall this like any other program/update”. Granted, there are always going to be a few that have issues, but the fact that this was posted publicly shortly after the release is not good. Also, the fact that the page has several comments from a wide variety of users experiencing problems is not good. There should not be so many problems with a program released to the public. Granted ‘beta’ sort of says there may be issues, there should not be that many problems as many average users do not understand what ‘beta’ really means.

What else is there that points to this being a not so good release, well, user feedback elsewhere. There have been several posts and topics created at support forums, such as PROnetworks and Neowin, with users experiencing issues after installing IE7 Beta 3. Things like IE no longer working after installing, failed to install but removed IE6, preventing other programs from working, and a load of other issues. Why are people having so many issues with a public beta, especially one that would be used to the scale that IE is? My guess is that the version that was released (Build 5450) did not go through enough internal testing prior to release and had unknown issues which popped up soon after thousands started installing. The fact that it did not experience issues during pre-release testing says that it should be ok, but if the systems that it was tested on where essentially the same, they just confirmed that it works on that platform, and not something different, or for users with different configurations.

Even though the update has been causing a ton of issues for the people that have been brave enough, or lucky enough to get it installed, there are some really nice features that are in the new version that were not in Beta 2. Things such as tab-reorganization, where you can rearrange the tabs into whatever order you want them in. News feeds will now auto-update in the background while IE is running, so you don’t have to constantly go to the site and update the feeds manually. Along with updating the feeds, you can also mark the messages as read too. Users will also see an improvement to website compatibility, although there will still likely be several sites, mainly secure sites, that won’t want to work properly. Then, you also see the standard bug fixes and security updates that have been applied to prevent issues, although it apparently wasn’t enough.

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