Promit's Ventspace

December 24, 2009

IE Integration in Windows 7 Sucks

Filed under: Non-technical — Promit @ 2:47 pm

I’m not sure who thought this was a good idea or why. I’m also wondering who on the QA team passed this feature, because it’s catastrophically broken even from a technical standpoint.

Basically, under Windows 7, IE8 makes each of its tabs a separate “window” as far as the taskbar goes. It then benefits from the normal grouping stuff in Win7, with live previews etc. The problem is that this is an idiotic idea — and one I can’t figure out how to turn off. It means that every time I switch between windows using the taskbar, I can’t just go back to the tab I was using. I have to find the entry for the tab I want, out of anywhere between six and twenty options, and then click it. The only thing this has accomplished is to slow me down immensely. It’s ineffective at the best of times, and on a laptop with a touchpad it makes the taskbar unusable.

Worse still, the feature DOES NOT WORK. In a variety of situations, especially ones surrounding sleep and hibernate modes, the taskbar simply forgets some of your tabs exist. I have ten tabs open right now, but only seven show up in taskbar. And that’s a pretty good record, I’ve found that sometimes I’ll have a dozen open and only two available from taskbar — and the one I want is inevitably not there. So instead I click on some unrelated tab and then have to find the desired one again.

I’m generally favorable to MS and their products, but the level of incompetence surrounding IE is staggering. That Google can simply walk into the market with a better browser is a testament to that. There’s a huge number of good reasons Microsoft is being pushed out of the browser market. It doesn’t sound like they’re going to get back on a competitive track anytime soon, either.

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8 Comments »

  1. You’re right, this is just bad. IE is an embarrassment and has been for some time. The worst result of MS doing this sort of thing is that it ends up being copied by competing products, whose makers often can’t seem to distinguish between Microsoft’s good innovations and their… mistakes. All in the eye of the beholder, right?

    Comment by Tom — December 25, 2009 @ 1:33 am | Reply

  2. It actually doesn’t do this if you go to your Taskbar properties and set “Taskbar buttons” to “Combine when taskbar is full”. I also like that setting better because it actually shows the labels for taskbar items, which is nice when I have multiple instances of Visual Studio open and I want to know what the hell I’m clicking on.

    Comment by MJP — December 25, 2009 @ 5:29 pm | Reply

    • I like the grouping it does for every other application, it just fails miserably when applied to IE.

      Comment by Promit — December 25, 2009 @ 7:20 pm | Reply

  3. Funny, I feel much the same way about most of the changes made to Explorer (the file manager, not the browser) in Vista and Win7. I’m starting to suspect Microsoft has a special team dedicated to figuring out how best to “slow users down immensely”. Perhaps they just want us to spend more time in the OS itself, rather than the apps we’re running.

    Apart from that, the IE integration sounded nifty on paper, but since I don’t use IE, I haven’t tried it in practice. Guess I haven’t missed much.

    Comment by jalf — December 26, 2009 @ 8:19 pm | Reply

    • Overall I like the changes to Explorer, but there’s one glaring exception since Vista. The automatic column selection is batshit insane. Any time it tries to activate a media selection, it makes incredibly terrible choices. I can sort my pictures by user rating and date taken, but not by size? What the hell? Nevermind that it applies artist and genre sorts to folders where none of the contained items are even the right file type for that…because some day, for some reason, an MP3 happened to wander through that folder? I don’t even know.

      Comment by Promit — December 26, 2009 @ 8:23 pm | Reply

      • There’s so much wrong with Explorer starting in Vista and mostly not fixed in Windows 7, it’s just amazing. I’d sworn to never use a third-party “file manager” because the ones I’d seen looked pretty nasty, but MS finally drove me to it. Fortunately, there are actually good ones nowadays. I picked up XYplorer about 6 months after Vista’s release and have been extremely happy. If I’d known it was so good I would’ve used it on XP. I even use it on my XP VMs now.

        Comment by Tom — December 30, 2009 @ 1:01 am | Reply

  4. I actually quite liked the way tabs each have their own entry, and thought I might have a go with IE after being a long time firefox user. I quickly changed my mind after I found IE to crash on every 6th page. (!!)
    Now I’m safely back with firefox.

    Comment by Moo — December 26, 2009 @ 8:23 pm | Reply

  5. I still prefer Mozilla, but they are getting dangerously close to being an old memory. It eats up memory and speed like a big fat pig! The next time I have to wait 5 minutes for Firefox to start I will probably move over to chrome permanently. I know I have a few plug-ins running. But at least they can start them in a different thread after Firefox opened up completely. Dam, it’s not that difficult!

    Comment by Nugpot — December 30, 2009 @ 3:50 pm | Reply


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