Internet Explorer 9 has been on release for something over a month. Promoted as the fastest, most usable web browser around, Microsoft is playing catch-up (hoping to leap-frog) Firefox and Chromium which have stolen all the plaudits and a huge chunk of browser market-share over the last two years.
Installing it is neither as difficult of as painful as it’s predecessors, but there are some things you should note…
The Internet Explorer 9 official page is at http://windows.microsoft.com/ie9.
Owing to the massive amount of software infrastructure behind it, the bar has been raised on minimum system requirements. In order to install IE9 you will need to be running:
- Windows Vista (x86 and x64) with Service Pack 2 (SP 2) OR
- Windows 7 (x86 and x64) OR
- Windows Server 2008 (x86 and x64) with Service Pack 2 (SP 2) OR
- Windows Server 2008 R2 x64
Before you try to install Internet Explorer 9, make sure that installation of other updates or a system restart is not pending; if it’s not nagging you for a re-start, it’s probably okay, but to be sure:
- On Windows 7: Open System and Security in Control Panel, and then click Windows Update.
- On Windows Vista: open Security in Control Panel, and then click Windows Update.
The Service Packs include the latest software services and patches, supports new kinds of hardware and emerging hardware standards. SP2 includes all the updates that were delivered after the release of SP1. In addtion to the Service Packs, you may need further Windows Updates, specifically:
For Vista, a catchily-named ‘Platform Update Supplement Beta is available (KB971512 ) which updates Windows Graphics, Imaging and XPS Library for gaming, multimedia, imaging, and printing applications. It includes updates to DirectX, DirectCompute, and XPS Library.
Another ‘Platform Update Supplement Beta’ is available for Windows Vista and for Windows Server 2008 (KB2117917) which provides fixes and improvements to graphics, media foundation, and printing. It is dependent on KB971512 which must be installed before this one.
In the case of Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2, there is a ‘performance and functionality update’ available (KB2454826) , which contains a collection of improvements and solutions to known issues:
- New functionality and performance improvements for the graphics platform
- Performance improvements when you print from XPS-based applications to GDI-based print drivers
- Resolutions for some streaming issues that are related to Microsoft Media Foundation
The installer does a minimum system check and complains if you don’t meet it, so you might as well go get the service packs if you want to go ahead.
Forget it. XP is not supported by IE9. Really. Don’t bother.
Make sure that you have an Internet connection when you install Internet Explorer 9.
Microsoft has gone the way of many software distributors in making available a small ‘stub’ installer (530Kb) which is designed to go get the rest direct from the Microsoft website. This ‘dial-home’ installer is seen as more secure than a stand-alone executable and allows the installation of the latest patched and fixed version of the software. The stub requests a further 20Mb which takes around five minutes on a reasonable net connection.
Before you start:
- Save all data (in fact, make sure your back-ups are up to date; there’s no time like the present).
- Close down all other application programs. IE9 will get you to do this anyway.
You may need to temporarily disable your anti-spyware and anti-virus software . Make sure your firewall is enabled. Don’t go off-track and surf for downloads while these are turned off, just install IE9, then turn them back on.
You can now run the stub installer. Double-click on the installer’s .exe (application) file – in my case IE9-Windows7-x86-enu – or right-click it and select ‘Open.’ All Windows versions will ask for permission to install.
Microsoft has tried hard to remove the requirement to reboot the machine. The IE9 installer will ask you to shut down almost every application, including other browsers and background processes, so that it can update all the libraries and, more importantly, protect you from the conequences of a crash if it happens. When it finishes, I advise a reboot in any event.
In all, a full download, installation and reboot took less than 10 minutes on my Dell Mini-10 Netbook and slightly longer on the old Athlon tower.. That’s not as quick as its competitors but it’s better than IE7 and IE8.
Some people have still complained that the IE9 Installation freezes and doesn’t complete, particularly on older hardware. Be patient. The installer has a lot of libraries to download, unpack, copy to destination and register. While it may look like the IE9 installation has frozen, it will finish eventually!
The interface has changed little since the first Beta version, but users of IE7 or IE8 may be surprised at the minimalist layout, which clears clutter (menus, buttons, controls – all that superfluous stuff) in order to maximise the on-screen real-estate for the web page.
More on Internet Explorer 9 soon. AJS