Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

A tale of two browser upgrades

Upgrading from Windows Internet Explorer 7 Beta 2 Mix’06 Preview to Windows Internet Explorer 7 Beta 2:

  1. Uninstall existing copy of IE7
  2. Reboot system
  3. Download new IE7
  4. Install new IE7
  5. Reboot system
  6. Run browser

Upgrading from Mozilla Firefox to Mozilla Firefox

  1. Receive an ‘update is now available’ box
  2. Click to restart browser
  3. Browser restarts with update

Now that isn’t entirely fair – IE7 is still in beta and when it’s finally released it’ll probably only require one reboot without the need to uninstall the existing version of IE6 first – but in terms of upgrades Firefox makes things so much easier.
But yes, the final, proper version of Windows Internet Explorer 7 Beta 2 is out. I’m installing it now.


  1. I’m interested in hearing how it goes for you. I tried to install it (just upgrading from IE 6) and had problems. I think that my errors began when Spyware Blaster asked if I wanted to let IE change the start page. I refused, the install failed, the troubleshoot guide didn’t print out, the roll back to IE 6 failed, and now I cannot uninstall the program. It also messed up a dll which Zone Alarm and Nero call, so I had to track down how to fix that. I spent 77 minutes on the phone with a very well meaning (seriously) tech support person who taught me that A) he could also read the Microsoft support guides and B)based on the music played while on hold, people in India have an appreciation for classic 70s rock that I don’t share.
    I have been able to run a stand alone version of IE 7 Beta 2 and what I see is nice. Not nice enough to get me to contemplate switching from Firefox, but still nice.

  2. I cannot stand the UI for IE7. It looks like some kid was having fun in Visual Studio dragging around and deleting everything.

  3. It works fine for me. It’s just that the install process is a bit long-winded.
    Chris: I’m indifferent to the interface. It’s a big change but it is a lot simpler.

  4. 1. I didn’t have to uninstall IE 6
    2. I don’t particularly like the user interface changes, but perhaps I’ll get used to them.
    3. It took much longer to install than Firefox. Why?

  5. This is an adsurd comparison. The final IE7 upgrade will probably look something like:
    1.) Run Windows Update (if autoupdate is on, this is optional)
    2.) Reboot at your convenience later
    3.) Run IE7

  6. You say that, but something tells me that Microsoft would not make IE7 a critical update (or at least not straightaway) so it would require visiting Windows Update and manually selecting to install it.
    Firefox will always be quicker to install though – no reboot required and the install is much faster anyway. Installing IE7 last night took almost 5 minutes – with Firefox it rarely tops 30 seconds on this machine.

  7. And when you download the entire package, Firefox is about half the size of IE7 (which comes in at around 11.6MB).

  8. Neil, you forgot one important step in the update process of IE 7. Finding out how to uninstall IE 7. When I went to do this, I couldn’t find it in the Add or Remove Programs dialog. I went to Add/Remove Windows Components and removed IE6 without realizing that I was doing that since there wasn’t a version number on that entry.
    I then had to dig around on MS’s website trying to locate how to uninstall IE 7. I finally found that I needed to check the “Show updates” checkbox in order to see the entry in the Add or Remove Programs dialog.
    Personally, I don’t care how easy/hard it is to update. I’m not going to ever use IE at home ever. At work, I have to for a stupid website that the company uses for vacation reporting. Plus, I wanted to see what they had done to IE. Man, they really have changed the UI.
    I was shocked to see that Windows Update wasn’t in the first beta they released. I see that it’s in this release. Not that I use IE for updates anyway.
    I just hope Firefox sticks to the good old tried and true menu bar/toolbar for now. It will be hard for folks using other platforms than Windows Vista to get used to a UI that is so alien to them if they do go the Vista Ribbon menu way.

  9. Comparatively, Dave M., your uninstall was easy. I waited to hear back from Microsoft’s tech support on the issue and It took them over 48 hours to return my call. By the time they did, I had resolved the issue. When I tried to uninstall IE 7, it came up in Add/Remove programs just fine. However, it would not uninstall. The error read that only the person who installs the program may uninstall it, please log into that person’s user account to uninstall. Problem was, I was the user and logged in under my own account.
    After researching the issue, I found that I was missing a key in the registry to allow me to uninstall. HCKY_Current_User\software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer. I created a key called InstalledByUser. For the value, I entered in my account name (or 0 would have worked as well). Then I went to add/remove and got the uninstall to work (and it rolled back to IE 6). After rebooting, I tried the install again – this time allowing all of the start page changes to the program. IE 7 Beta 2 is now installed and working.
    Since I use Firefox 99.9% of the time, this was really just an exercise in curiosity. I’ve reported the errors and the fix to Microsoft. I still like the stand alone version of the product better than the one with all of the hooks into your OS.