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.