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The New and Improved Internet Explorer 7

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Timothy F. Newkirk
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Microsoft has been rightly criticized in the past for the poor performance and security issues of it's Internet Explorer browsers. But, those days may be over. Following in the user friendly path of the increasingly popular Mozilla Firefox browser, the new Internet Explorer 7 browser frame is noticeably simpler and less cluttered, allowing a larger area of the screen devoted to webpages. Borrowing Firefox's tabbed browsing feature, you can view multiple sites in a single browser window on IE 7. They can be grouped and saved into categories, allowing you to open multiple tabs with a single click. Although, unlike Firefox, the tabbed browsing bar cannot be removed in IE 7. But, like Firefox, searches on IE 7 using your favorite search engine can now be entered into a search box within the toolbar, eliminating the need for separate toolbars. IE 7's new page printing feature automatically scales a printed webpage so that it's not wider than the paper it will be printed on. There is an option to print only selected text. Also, you can page zoom both text and graphics right from the status bar. RSS feeds are automatically detected on sites by the coloring of a tool bar rss icon in IE 7. Clicking on the icon allows you to preview and subscribe to the site's RSS feed. Strangely, there are no skins or themes built into IE 7 as in past versions. As well, users of Microsoft's TweakUI powertoy will be disappointed that it cannot be used to customize the new browser.

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The Internet Explorer 7 Browser Interface
Security on IE 7 has been much improved it appears- a serious problem with previous versions of IE. Especially, there are new ways to better protect against the theft of personal data. You can enable or disable ActiveX controls as needed through the Information Bar and the Add-on Manager. The browser can automatically block malicious sites from emulating trusted sites. When used in the soon to be released Windows Vista operating system, the browser will run in isolation from other applications in the operating system. Exploits and malware will be restricted from writing to any location beyond Temporary Internet Files without user consent. This will be a particularly good feature, by pretty much eliminating viral infections of the hard drives except through software downloads. Plus, Microsoft assures us that IE 7 is more compatible than ever across platforms- good news for OS and Linux users, etc. Because of it's universal use and flexibility, the new IE 7 may attract back many who have moved on to other browsers for reasons of user friendliness and security.

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A native of California, Timothy F. Newkirk is a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley. Among many other endeavors, he has worked as a newspaper reporter and editor and is a longtime political activist. He continues to advocate for (more...)
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