IE7 Gold has gone live
Yep, its finally here. Microsoft has released IE7 to the general public and is available from:
English only at the moment, but as other languages are released, you will find them here:
More info about other languages here:
A history of Internet Explorer, showing how far we have come, is here (an article of mine published August 25, 2005):
My dedicated Internet Explorer 7 Web site is here:
You know things are going to be big when everybody is watching a site with bated breath, hitting refresh every so often, waiting for the switch to be thrown (and somebody at Yahoo gets trigger happy).
You also know things are going to get big when hackers create fake IE7 download sites. People are apparently being tricked into visiting the site and downloading the product via a spoofed email message, claiming to be from firstname.lastname@example.org." Please do not be fooled.
"Trojan download site spoofs IE7 release outlet" The Register
Microsoft will provide free, unlimited customer support for IE7 throughout the product lifecycle. At the moment only English has been released; other languages will be available in coming weeks.
As a reminder, IE7 will be offered as an automatic update. Those of you who are using WSUS in a corporate environment, even at its default settings, need not be concerned that your users will somehow end up with IE7 without warning. IE7 is an "update rollup" therefore it is not auto-approved.
If you don't use WSUS, instead preferring the traditional Automatic Updates set to download and install automatically, IE7 will not install without permission. The user will see a large window advising that IE7 is available to install, and the user will have three choices; install, don't Install, or install later.
If you are responsible for a corporate network and want to be sure that IE7 is not offered to users, and you're not using something like WSUS, there is an IE blocker available here:
It is very exciting for me that IE7 is finally here - it feels like we've been in beta forever, and there are many fun memories for me.
I remember seeing Quick Tabs for the first time while in Redmond (July 2005) and I remember their later unveiling by the team in September 2005. Then, along came the FireFox plugin, Viamatic foXpose in November 2005 (well, they do say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery).
There was the day I installed a very early build of IE7 on my laptop while I was overseas, only to give myself a hell of a scare when the install seemingly fried my machine. I am *so* glad I am an Internet Explorer MVP or I would have found myself in quite a pickle.
There was the honor of being the first Web site in the world to break the news about the new IE7 logo back in August 2005:
http://www.ie-vista.com/breaking_news.html (right down the bottom).
There was the release of IE7 Beta 2, which broke my primary Web site in April 2006. I remember I was travelling back from CodeCamp in Wagga when the build went live. It was a real struggle to work out what was wrong, and how to get it fixed, while still in transit. Dave, Bob and Marcus at Microsoft went all out to help me get the problems fixed, pretty much dropping everything to help out. (Yes, I know the screenshots are missing - they were lost in a Community Server upgrade, but I still l plan to find those shots, and get that blog entry fixed, one day soon).
So, what am I going to do with my time now? Wait to start work on IE8 I suppose.
Before installing IE7
Best practice is to:
- The first thing to do is READ THE RELEASE NOTES. There are known issues and you may save yourself hours of grief if you make sure you are informed before you install IE7.
- Set a restore point (just in case)
- Turn off Automatic Updates (believe me, you'll thank me later if you've already installed an IE7 beta or RC build)
- Disable protect software such as antivirus, antispyware and crash guards.
- DO NOT TURN OFF YOUR FIREWALL!!!
- Shut down all running programmes - that includes Messenger, Windows Defender, and OneCare - don't forget to check the systray icons as well.
- If you are running ZoneAlarm 6.5, disconnect from the internet, uninstall ZoneAlarm, make sure Windows Firewall is enabled, reconnect to the internet then install IE7. This is because ZA stops the IE installer from writing to essential registry keys, causing the installation to fail.
IE7 Gold's installer runs various registry permission checks before installation starts to minimise the risk of aborted/damaged installs, but there is no guarantee that the installer will pick up everything. It is best to ensure that problematic software that may block access to the registry be disabled.
If you still see registry permission problems, please check out the advice here:
- [OPTIONAL] Go to HKEY_Current_User, Software, Microsoft, InternetExplorer. Make sure the DWORD InstalledByUser exists and that it is set to 0. I'll admit to not being 100% certain about the need for this DWORD to exist. IE7RC1 installations failed if the DWORD was not there, but the installer also delets the DWORD after installation of RC1 is successfully completed. You won't find it on a standard RC1 installation, but at the same time, the existence of the key is not known to cause a problem. When the missing DWORD has caused an installation failure, all that happens is the install rolls back, you see the failure window, and a shortcut is dumped on your desktop. So, if you wish, you can try adding the DWORD if you have a mysterious installation failure that you have trouble finding a cause for.
- Install Internet Explorer 7. Reboot *twice* before running your new Web browser for the first time.
- Don't forget to re-enable your antivirus, automatic updates and other protective software now that you're finished.
- Do not reinstall any version of Microsoft Windows in any way after you install Internet Explorer 7. Do not upgrade Windows in place or upgrade to a new edition. You must uninstall IE7 and reboot twice before attempting to repair, reinstall or upgrade Windows:
Note that the uninstall directory is generally at c:\windows\ie7\spunist
The bug that broke IE6 when a repair install of Windows was completed with IE7 installed has, apparently, been fixed, but it is still strongly recommended that IE7 be uninstalled first.
In a corporate environment things like turning off running anti-malware applications may not be easy, or possible but remember this is "best practice" advice, not "do this or your computer will blow up" advice.
The IE team have also posted a warning about anti-malware applications:
Troubleshooting Internet Explorer 7
First, make sure you have rebooted TWICE after installation.
The first thing to try is to run IE in no add-ons mode.
Internet Explorer (No Add-ons) via Start menu
Internet Explorer (No Add-ons) via right click on desktop icon
Some weird and wonderful problems have been "fixed" by running IE7 in no add-ons mode. If no add-ons mode fixes your problems, then you are going to have to try and work out what third party product is causing your problems by disabling one add-on at a time, restarting IE, then testing. If disabling one doesn't work, re-enable it, restart IE, and try the next one. Once you work out what is wrong, feel free to post a comment here and share what you have learned.. you will do good
Problems with Web sites that use Add-ons (Active X controls)
Use Manage Add-Ons to check all installed add-ons. You may find that the one you need has been disabled because Internet Explorer follows certain rules when it comes to add-ons. If the add-ons are in use at the time IE7 is installed they will automatically be enabled. It is only new add-ons that are disabled until you give them permission to run.
You may have an old add-on that has been updated to work with IE7. Delete the add-on for the affected site and install a new copy.
The control you need may be damaged. You can not see this via Manage Add-Ons - you must go in the old way (Tools, Internet Options, Browsing History Settings, View Objects). If a Control is damaged it will say so in the Status column. If it is damaged, right click and select Delete, then download a new copy.
So, what do we do if the advice about add-ons doesn't help? Well, that all depends on what the problem is, so let's go look at some common causes of breakage.
1. Adjust the size of your cache and delete your History and Cookies
Traditionally Internet Explorer has set the size of its temporary internet files folder to a percentage of total disk space. In recent years, with the massive increases in hard drive capacity, this has led to the cache being set to ridiculously large sizes... far too large for IE to be able to cope reliably. Web sites may slow down, pictures may stop displaying, hyperlinks may stop working (actually, they haven't stopped working, its just that IE is collapsing under the weight of all that saved data), you may see the classic "page cannot be displayed" error... and that's just for starters.
If your cache is set far too large, IE7 will reduce it to 1024MB the first time that you click on the Settings button for Browsing History Settings button, but I have found this is still too large.
Click on IE, Tools, Internet Options, General Tab, Settings
Set your IE cache to between 50 and 250 Meg (I recommend 50 - 100)
Next, delete all temporary internet files, including offline content (IE tools, Internet Options, General tab, Delete button). Delete your IE history and all cookies. Then, restart IE.
2. Third party software interference
This is not the same as disabling add-ons. Shut down all other programmes, not including your firewall, to see if things improve (don't forget about the icons in the system tray). Antivirus and antispyware products that are set to scan internet data can cause problems. Your firewall may be set to block pictures.. your antivirus or anti-spyware scanner may be removing data or disabling features to protect you from the bad guys.
Spybot and other programs, for example, may stop you from changing your home page. Some firewalls may block advertisements (and other graphics) so that you only see a red x, or block scripting. Some will block access to sites according to keywords.
Example: Just last week I was tasked with fixing a PC that was unable to access any Web site. "Page cannot be displayed" was all that we saw, no matter what site we checked.. yet at the same time Messenger was working, Outlook Express was working, I was able to Telnet to sites, Ping worked as did Tracert. Under such circumstances you'd assume that Internet Explorer was broken, yes? After all, everything else Internet related was working. Nope! It wasn't IE.
An essential clue was that it was only programmes that used Port 80 that were broken (including the antivirus programme, which used Port 80 for updates).
On this occasion a previous technican had installed, and then tried to remove, ZoneAlarm, but something had gone wrong. The True Vector service was still in services.msc, and set to Automatic, but could not be set to disabled (access denied) or removed from the registry (permissions error). In addition there was a "network monitoring device" in Hardware Device Manager. It took some careful work with a very special third party tool to delete the True Vector service registry entry despite the broken security permissions, and disable the "network monitoring device" via Device Manager, to "fix" Internet Explorer.
Second example: I was working with Nick of softeq.com to try and resolve a problem with his banking site... the login button wasn't working. It was an interesting problem. Running IE is no add-ons mode fixed the problem therefore that tells me, right there, that IE itself is not the root cause of the site's failure. If we disabled a TrendMicro add-in (for a Trend product that has been uninstalled) then the log-in button worked (the add-in was WinNTCheck.dll and is related to the Trend Micro Client/Server Agent for SMB). But, the "fix" was not dependable. IE would suddenly fail again.
If we enabled SSL 2.0 and "Allow pop up block to show input prompts" the site also started working. But, it is important to note that I have always disabled "Allow pop up block to show input prompts" on my machines and the site worked for me - Nick and I use the same Bank, therefore if there was a problem with their sites then I would know about it. Something else was wrong.
The basic fact that running IE in no add-ins mode fixed the problem points to a problem with a third party product, not IE per se.
3. Try spoofing IE6
Many sites serve different CSS styles to suit the Web browser that is visiting the site. Reality is that IE has done a real bad job in the past when it comes to CSS, and it is inevitable, when MS suddenly starts getting things right, that a lot of sites are suddenly going to break.
If changing the UAS (User Agent String) does not help your problem, please report the site in the newsgroups and to MS using the standard feedback options. Also, please send feedback to the site's owners so that they will be aware that they have to update their sites.
Yes, malware. Viruses, spyware, foistware, malware. There is stuff that may have been undetectable when it was installed. The real bad guys use cutting edge code to try and infect you. There is no antivirus or antispyware product on this planet that can protect us from everything. There will always be a window of opportunity between a virus/explioit being used, and detection being added to various protective softwares. This is why you *must* rescan on a daily basis, even if previous scans were clean and you have not been on the internet since.
4. Try a different Web browser
If an alternative browser works, at least we can rule out a basic problem with your internet connection.
I understand that by focusing on third party software and sites as being "at fault" I am going to frustrate some people, but the reality is that it is not possible for IE to be coded to suit the myriad internet related software programs out there and all the different ways of doing things. If MS codes to suit one programme, another *WILL* break. So, do what you can to track down what may be causing your problem and report it to the programme's owners. Encourage 'best practice' (as far as it is possible to quantify 'best practice').