Your Tab Settings…

Hello again!

If you are already using Internet Explorer 7 you might have noticed our tab settings. Perhaps you already changed one or more of them to better suit your browsing habits.

Whenever we create a setting, we always have many discussions about what its default should be, what it should be called, and where it should go. In some cases we have great information (such as usability studies, customer surveys, and instrumentation) to help guide us in our decision making. In other cases we have less information. When we get features out in betas, we scour the newsgroups, blogs, bug reports, and reviews to see if we get any related feedback.

In this post I’d like to show you our tab settings, explain what they mean, and talk a bit about why the defaults are what they are.

Let’s look at our Beta 3 tab settings, and then we can walk through them:

Tabbed Browser Settings

Figure: Tab settings (Tools->Internet Options->Tab Settings)

“Warn me when closing multiple tabs”
This one is relatively straightforward. If you select this option you will get the “Do you want to close all tabs?” dialog when you close multiple tabs.

We default to prompting users because:

  1. The dialog was one of our top tab requests from Beta 1. We know many people want it.
  2. There’s an easy way to turn it off if you do not want it.

“Always switch to new tabs when they are created”
When you select a link and choose to open it (from the context menu, Ctrl+Click or middle mouse click), we default to opening it in a background tab. Selecting this option will open those tabs in the foreground.

We default this one to opening in the background because:

  1. Opening in the background best exposes the power of tabs.
    1. Helps people easily queue up multiple pages to read.
    2. Lets you spend less time waiting for pages to load.
  2. Our feedback from Beta 2 has been very positive.
  3. There’s a shortcut to have a specific link open a tab in the foreground – use Ctrl+Shift+Click rather then just Ctrl+Click.

“Open only the first home page when Internet Explorer starts”
There are some people who love to have a tab group as their home page, but do not necessarily want to have 8 pages load every single time they open Internet Explorer. If this setting is selected, every time you launch Internet Explorer the first page of your home page group will open. To open the rest, you simply select the home button.

The default is to launch your entire home page group because:

  1. We avoid introducing new concepts where possible (in this case a quasi home page).
  2. Feedback we received indicates most people like the current behavior.

“Open new tabs next to the current tab”
In the Beta 2 Preview new tabs would always open at the end of the tab row. With this setting newly opened tabs will insert next to the tab you are on instead.

This option is the default because:

  1. Related tabs are much more likely to end up grouped together.
  2. When you have too many tabs to fit on screen, they go into the overflow. With this setting on, tabs are less likely to open off screen in this situation.
  3. The MSN Toolbar shipped with this behavior, and they have been happy with the response so far.

“Open home page for new tabs instead of a blank page”
There are actually 3 options for what appears when a new tab is created. The first is the about:Tabs page (this was new in Beta 2), but when you decide you don’t want to see it anymore, you can select to have a blank page or your first home page as the page that appears when you click the new tab icon (or hit Ctrl+T).

The default is to open it in a blank page because this is faster, and we can predictably put focus directly to the address bar for blank pages. This way when you create a new tab you can just start typing. Fast is good.

The setting to open your home page here was introduced due to feedback we received!

Note: This setting only applies after the About:Tabs (or “Welcome to Tabbed Browsing”) page has been dismissed. To dismiss this page check the “Don’t show again” box and then select “Close” on the About:Tabs page.

“When a pop-up is encountered”
There are three options for how to open pop-ups:

  • Let Internet Explorer decide how pop-ups should open
  • Always open pop-ups in new tab.
  • Always open pop-ups in a new window.

The last two are fairly self explanatory, the first “Let Internet Explorer decide…” is my favorite option, and needs a bit more explaining. Basically what this will do is open any pop-up without size or other restrictions in a new tab, the rest will open in a new window. For users experienced with tabbed browsing this is typically the best option, as it allows most windows to open in tabs, but allows pop-up style windows to open in a new window.

The default we have in Beta 3 is to always open in a new window because we had it set to always open in tabs in Beta 1, and the feedback was that this made things harder for many people who don’t understand tabs. If you’re a tab user check out the “Let Internet Explorer decide” setting.

“Open links from other programs in:”

  • A new window
  • A new tab in the current window
  • The current tab or window

The default we have in Beta 3 is to open links from other programs in a new tab in the current window. This improves the behavior from IE6, which navigates an existing window and can cause users to lose the page they were on. By taking advantage of tabs this avoids unnecessarily creating new windows. Currently this is our only setting with a default value that introduces tabbed browsing to people who may not have used it.

“Use most recent order when switching tabs with Ctrl+Tab”
In addition to the general tabs settings, for advanced users there is a setting in the “Advanced” tab of “Internet Options”…

Advanced Tab Setting

Figure: Advanced tab setting

This setting makes our hotkeys for switching tabs (Ctrl+Tab, Ctrl+Shift+Tab) behave like Alt+Tab in Windows. That is, it allows tabs to be switched in a most recent order (which is great for comparing web pages). When you have this setting selected we also close tabs in a most recently used order as well, so you’ll see a lot of jumping around in the tab row.

The default is to have this off:

  1. We value predictability over the more focused compare scenario.
  2. We want to be consistent with other apps that use tabs throughout the system.

Anyhow, as you can see there are many ways to customize your tabbed browsing experience. Take a look through, try out the various options and tell us what you think!

- Aaron Sauve
Program Manager

Comments (118)
  1. Alex says:

    I’ve tried IE 7 and did not like its new UI (i hope that is just me). I do see lots of improvements though.

    Is there a way to go back to 6.x simple UI (switch theme or something) and turn off the tabs?

  2. Arjan says:

    This is a bit off-topic.

    But I found a new site today where alot of browser bugs are listed:

    I tested them against IE7 beta 3 and some exploits did crash my browser.

  3. AaronSa [MSFT] says:

    Alex, we don’t have a one click way to get back to IE 6 UI, but you can get close if you turn off tabs (Tools->Internet Options->General tab->Tab settings), turn on the menu bar (you can do this in the tools menu), customize the Page and tools menu out of the command bar, and set the registry key discussed here:

    The appropriate disclaimers for the registry key are discussed in Tony’s blog post.

    Hope that helps!

    – Aaron

  4. Gabe says:

    I hate to be negative, but it’s hard to get excited about this when I’ve been using Firefox effectively for so long. Firefox had a wizard for converting IE user settings to a FireFox equivalent. Is there such a wizard for the new IE?

  5. Mark says:

    Official answer: No there isn’t although Microsoft doesn’t say that they won’t make one.

    Unofficial answer: Not for user settings overall, but for favourites and feeds here it is:

  6. I would like to see the ability to replicate a page onto a new tab.

    So, if I am logged into my Yahoo email, I can create a new tab that is also logged into my Yahoo email.

    Currently, this can only be done by File-New Windows.

  7. Mark says:

    I’ve sent this bug report time and time again starting from Beta 1, but it’s still not been fixed and honestly I just don’t know where to turn to: Some programs (ironically enough mostly Microsoft ones) open links in new windows. For instance: Microsoft Word XP (and I’m guessing the other versions too), Windows Live Messenger, Outlook Express etc… Just try it, set the setting to open in the same window in a new tab and open a link from one ofthe aforementioned programs. It’ll open a new window.

  8. Justin says:

    From a usability standpoint, I think this dialog box needs a redesign.

    I have several issues with this:

    The option "open only the first home page when IE starts" caused me to stare for a solid 30s before I understood what the option was for.  This sentence needs to be rephrased or explained better.  Why does a dialog box require a blog post to explain what each of the settings are for?! Should the labels not be concise enough to do the job?

    "Open new tabs next to the current tab" – Left of current tab? Right of current tab? While the flexibility is nice here, this checkbox only confuses me and makes me want ADDITIONAL functionality.

    Tabbed browsing – I don’t think this dialog box defines the decision model properly.  I’m left wondering: in which case would a window open in it’s own new window?  When would it open in a tab?  Where does the tab go?  These options in this dialog box, once again, makes me want ADDITIONAL functionality/options that are not presently available.

    With regards to the CTRL+Tab functionality: I find this default off setting actually quite inconsistent.  The Vista Window Manager/Explorer has ALT+Tab jumping to last used window first.  Why would the CTRL+Tab behaviour in IE not do the same thing?  While using the system on a daily basis (5472 currently) I find this ‘default off’ setting obnoxious.  It appears to be more predictable to have the IE experience consistent with the rest of the operating system.

  9. barryd says:

    Now please be more flexible when closing.

    When I close a tab I always end up to the right of the closed tab, not the previous active tab. So damnable annoying. Heck there’s a firefox plugin to fix it! So please give us that as a built in option.

  10. David H says:

    I think that the new settings and the TAB options in general have really grown on me.  They are a very effective way to stay organized.  One suggestion I would like to make (about IE 7) though would be the option to have the taskbar disappear when minimized similiar to the way outlook operates.  While running, you could leave an icon in the task manager to show that it is in fact On.

  11. Eivind says:

    Would it be possible to add an option in IE7 or a future version to suppress link with the target="_blank" attribute to open in the same tab/window? I hate pages opening more windows/tabs, and such an option would be very handy. Of course, this shouldn’t apply to javascript, which is mostly used to open small popup windows for logging in & etc.

  12. Michael E says:

    Great job on the beta so far guys.  I’m eagerly anticipating the full release later this year.  Thanks for the definition of the "Let Internet Explorer decide…"  I’ve always wondered how that worked!

    One thing I’d like to see when opening a new tab:  Instead of seeing the text about a new tab and how it works or even a blank page, I’d like to see a list of my favorites and feeds.  I find it is much more difficult to open and re-open the auto-hiding favorites list and CTRL-click the ones I want to see.  If laid out properly, I think a CTRL-T followed by a single click would get me to my favorite faster than typing.

    I’ve tried to CTRL-I/J to pin the favorites, but I find it narrows the window too much to leave it open all the time.

  13. EricLaw [MSFT] says:

    @Barryd: Set the "most recent order" checkbox to cause your tab closure experience to behave the way you’re asking.

  14. José Jeria says:

    I find this dialog very "busy". Its difficult to read it because of all the text and options. Not to forget that this is a dialog that appears from another dialog.

  15. First of all, Aaron, thanks to you and the IE team for providing this blog post explaining the rationale for the currently implemented behavior, and for soliciting feedback from the community!  πŸ™‚

    With respect to tab switching order via Ctrl+Tab, regarding the statement: "We want to be consistent with other apps that use tabs throughout the system":

    What other applications currently provide the "left-to-right" switching order?  I briefly tested a few other Microsoft apps on my system, and Excel was the only one that I noticed using the right-to-left order.  (Even this example is questionable, as Excel uses multiple Taskbar buttons, rather than multiple tabs, to display the multiple open workbooks.)

    By contrast, the application Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 provides an excellent implementation of switching between open windows in "most recent" order on Ctrl+Tab, including an "Alt+Tab"-like window that appears while the operation is in progress showing all of the available open windows that can be switched to.

    With regard to the concern of the "most recent" switching behavior potentially having predictability issues for novice users: Is this really a legitimate concern, given that novice users are in most cases going to be switching between tabs by clicking the target tab with the mouse anyway?  The Ctrl+Tab keystroke shortcut is most likely going to be utilized much more heavily by "power users", and it might be better for this shortcut to have the more powerful behavior of being able to quickly switch back and forth between the two most-recently-used tabs by default.  

  16. Brad says:

    Did you purposely skip over Quick tabs?

    Overall, I like the beta a lot, and this week I’m really trying to wean myself from FireFox just to see if IE7 truly gives me everything I used in FireFox.  One difference (of the FF features/plugins I actually use) I’ve noticed is that when I’m browsing on a news page (or whatever) that mentions a website (, but is not displayed as a hyperlink, I can highlight the url name in FF and right-click and open that site in a new tab.  I haven’t yet found an equivilent funtion in IE7 that does that.

  17. Roland says:

    It’s been a pleasure to see the tab settings improve each time a new build occurred.

    Beta 1 was a solid release tab-wise, but beta 3 is top-notch, especially with draggable tabs.

    Thank you for putting so much effort into this!

    One problem with tabs remains though:

    If Microsoft IntelliPoint mouse software is installed, IntelliPoint grabs the middle mouse button clicks (mouse wheel clicks), and it’s no longer possible to open a link in a new tab by middle-clicking.

    Please tell the IntelliPoint guys about this problems so that they can fix it in a later IntelliPoint version.


  18. Pat says:

    I use Avant, and have my tabs configured to open the first tab after close.  They offer lots of ways to do this: previous, next, last visited, and first.  This is so easy to implement, I hope you are as flexible.

  19. AaronSa [MSFT] says:

    Marc, we have fixed a few bugs where links from other programs would not open in new tabs.  That said, there are a few cases where the program launches IE directly outside of our normal navigation flow, and there is not a good way to intercept the navigation ourselves.  Messenger is one of those cases unfortunately.

  20. AaronSa [MSFT] says:


    Thanks for the feedback, I will make sure to strike up a discussion with IntelliPoint.

    I’m really glad you enjoy the new dragging functionality added in Beta 3.  It was one of our top user experience requests from both the blog and the site, so we were really happy to get it out there!


  21. AaronSa [MSFT] says:

    Hi Jon,

    You had a couple of great questions:

    >What other applications currently provide the "left-to-right" switching order for Ctrl+Tab

    One thing we tried to do when creating the tab hotkeys was be as consistent as possible with what we have done in the past within windows, and with what other applications are being used today.  

    In windows, the tab control you see in all our control panels (Internet Options as an example) consistently use a linear Ctrl+Tab to switch.

    Also, externally, we wanted to be consistent where we could with hotkeys people are used to (FF etc.)

    There are other examples (as you mentioned Excel uses Ctrl+Tab to switch between windows as well).

    > predictability issues for novice users: Is this really a legitimate concern

    Alt+Tab in windows has a UI built around the experience to help people navigate the list. The Alt+Tab behavior is very predictable when just going back and forth between current windows, but if you want to use it for targetting a specific tab it is very much a predictability issue.  Made worse because we have no UI to guide the user to which tab might be next.

    We understand that the compare scenario is a very big one for some people given the feedback we’ve heard (particularly those used to, so the setting we added has definitely been well received!

  22. AaronSa [MSFT] says:


    You mentioned you find the settings dialog busy.

    I agree.  It started out lighweight in our first public release, but we’ve been lucky enough to be able to provide a bunch of new settings based on feedback which made the dialog larger.  

    It could benefit from some combo box selection, and some layout tweaks, but we have some really good setttings in there which is the most important thing.

  23. AaronSa [MSFT] says:


    > I use Avant, and have my tabs configured to open the first tab after close.  They offer lots of ways to do this: previous, next, last visited, and first.  This is so easy to implement, I hope you are as flexible

    We will probably not get to this level of customization for tabs in IE 7.  We will need to consider some of these suggestions for the next version.

  24. AaronSa [MSFT] says:


    >Did you purposely skip over Quick tabs?

    I was wondering if someone would point that out πŸ™‚

    Some people might not be familiar with quick tabs, so I’ll just point out that this setting will remove the Quick Tabs button which typically appears after you have two tabs opened.

    We hadn’t considered implementing the hotkey to navigate to a non hyperlink in the way suggested there.  How often do you use that feature?

    – Aaron

  25. AaronSa [MSFT] says:


    > Thanks for the definition of the "Let Internet Explorer decide…"  I’ve always wondered how that worked


    Yes, it’s not an easy thing to convey, but it’s a very useful feature. I’ve got it selected πŸ™‚

    We did have a discussion similar to the one you’re interested in for the new tab screen. We did not get a chance to get to it in IE 7, but it’s something to consider for the next version.

    – Aaron

  26. EricLaw [MSFT] says:

    @Brad: "I can highlight the url name in FF and right-click and open that site in a new tab"

    IEToys (see Add-ons at has a "Linkify" menu extension that offers the ability to open selected text as a URL.

  27. AC says:

    Aaron, I use that non-hyperlink plugin too. You’d be amazed how lazy people are when it comes to web addresses. Of course you also have forums and blogs that don’t allow links. It’s a real timesaver, though I doubt your average user would benefit from it. They’d just take the longer route of selecting it, copying it, opening a new window/tab, pasting it, or more likely not follow it at all.

  28. Debi says:

    I would like to see the tabs at the bottom of the screen instead of the top.  It’s more intuitive to me that way because I’m already switching programs there on the task bar.  Why not give us an option of top, bottom or even side.

    Also, I’m not consistantly knowing where a page is going to open.  Sometimes they open in the same tab, sometimes a new tab, sometimes in a new instance of IE7.  I would like to control the behavior a bit more – like favorites – maybe some folks want them to open in a new tab and others want to open in the same tab – give us a choice for the default behavior (which we can change with a right click if we want for a particular link).

  29. JRosenfeld says:

    I have open new tab next to current tab, useful when I click on a link in a page. When I close the newly created tab, I want to be returned to the page I linked from (i.e. to the left of the tab I’m closing, not to the tab on its right, which is an unrelated web page).

  30. Aaron, thanks for your reply!

    > we have no UI to guide the user to which tab might be next

    Although I ask this in ignorance of the internal architecture of Visual Studio and of IE, I wonder if the IE team could borrow and adapt the very nice Ctrl+Tab UI used in Visual Studio 2005? πŸ™‚

    (I do understand it’s rather late in the IE7 dev cycle to be bringing in a significant new module of code to address what amounts to a non-critical enhancement request.  Maybe this could be considered for an IE release subsequent to IE7.)

  31. Stephen says:

    AaronSa [MSFT]: It’s not fixed in beta3.  When I click a link in OE, it opens a new IE window, even though I have "A new tab in the current window" checked.  Worse, when I click a second link in OE, it opens it in the _same tab in the second IE window_, just like with IE6.  This drives me nuts.

    Also, when will DTDs be supported for RSS?  Some of my favorite web sites use DTDs on their feeds.

  32. Aaron Sauve [MSFT] says:

    Jon, there might be some code we can leverage from VS, but that would be a pretty big change at this point for IE 7 πŸ™‚

  33. Aaron Sauve [MSFT] says:


    Looks like I should install that add-on too πŸ™‚

  34. samson says:

    is it possible to add a feature like "reopen last closed tab" and associate it with a hotkey similar to undo (i.e., alt+z)?

    sometimes i accidentally close a tab (maybe by pressing ctrl+w too many times quickly) and want to bring it back. without this handy reopen feature, i’ll have to go thru the history dialog and it’s insignificant which one is the latest… other tabbrowsers such as greenbrowser has this feture, and i use it all the time.

    not sure how many other people expect the same feature. appreciate if you can consider it.

  35. Xia Hanguang says:

    I cannot find the tab settings, who can help me


  36. AaronSa [MSFT] says:


    To get to the tab settings: In the tools menu go to "Internet Options", then, on the General tab the Tab settings button should be under the heading "Tabs".  

  37. AaronSa [MSFT] says:

    Stephen, we might be running into the same issue we have with Messenger with OE. I’ll have to look into it.

  38. war59312 says:

    Your explicatiion of "Let Internet Explorer decide how pop-ups should open" not being the default makes no since to me. You say by having this option enabled by default it would confuse users who dont use tabs.

    Um, then why are tabs enabled by default then in IE7? So you enable tabs by default but you make popups open in a new window. Makes no since to me. It should be one way or the other by default. So either have all tab features disabled or enabled by default including this option.

    If what you say is true then tabs should be disabled by default in IE7 so it does not change the default behavior from IE6 and "confuse users".

    Well at least thats how I feel about it….

  39. Juice10 says:

    Wow, Settings overkill!

    What ever happened with keeping it simple?

    And what’s up with the restart required? Can’t you fix that?

  40. waiting says:

    Are you guys planning to work on IE8 right after IE7’s release?

    How long after IE7 can we expect another release?

  41. AaronSa [MSFT] says:


    When "Let Internet Explorer Decide" is selected tabs are often opened within a person’s otherwise normal navigation.  For folks that are not used to tabs, when a tab opens in this way, they do not know how to get to the pages they were just on (the back button doesn’t work the way they’d expect etc.).  This led to a lot of complaints.  

    With the way our settings are now, we are seeing much fewer issues.  We do think it’s good to promote tabs to the top level to bring tabs to as many people as possible while being sensitive to users who are less advanced.

    Again, this is the first setting I change when I use tabs because it best suits my browsing habits, we gave it a go in Beta 1, but it’s just a bit too agressive for a good subset of the population.

  42. AaronSa [MSFT] says:

    > Juice10: Wow, Settings overkill!

    We know that a good portion of our users do not spend a lot of time changing settings, which is why the defaults are very important.  In this sense the most important experience to make smooth and usable is the default experience.  

    There’s definitely a balance between no customizability and information overload.  As you can see, within the comments to this post there are multiple requests for settings we did not implement, and there are others not talked about here we considered before getting to the list we landed on.  

    We hope we got the right balance.

  43. power says:

    it so cool, i like it

  44. anita says:

    jsaoijaw ljfdo8w4e jdf8jewlkj

  45. Drew says:

    in case you guys don’t hear this enough… you’re doing a great job and I appreciate it. Thank you!

  46. EricLaw [MSFT] says:

    @waiting: "How long after IE7 can we expect another release?"

    The goal BillG laid out at the Mix06 conference is a new release of IE approximately every 12 months.  (

    @Stephen: I’m not aware of any plans to support DTDs for RSS. There are several inherent problems in DTDs that make them a DoS security risk.

  47. Nilesh says:

    i am using the outlook 7 beta2 for acessing the lotus domino server but i get the following error kindly

    Task ‘RSS Feeds’ reported error (0xC6240155) : ‘Synchronization to RSS Feed:""”>" has failed. Outlook cannot download the RSS content from because of a problem connecting to the server.’

  48. raymond says:

    I have tried to install IE7, since the first BETA was available but have never managed to get the TAB browsing feature to work. Installation is smooth, and successful.  However, the TAB feature just would not show. Of course, I have enabled TAB browsing πŸ™‚

    The only thing I can think of is that I have installed MS Search Toolbar sometime ago on IE6 and have uninstalled it to see if it can solve my IE7 problem.

    To date, I have had to revert to IE6..

    How to I get this to work. There is no error messages, etc. etc.


  49. Xia Hanguang says:

    Thank you, AaronSa [MSFT]

  50. Mudassir says:

    José Jeria > I find this dialog very "busy"…

    Not to forget that this is a dialog that appears from another dialog.

    Xia Hanguang > I cannot find the tab settings, who can help me

    I suggest that this dialog should be accessible from the context menu that is displays on the Tabs (Below the New Tab item).

    In Beta1, there was a common Close (X) button on the right of the Tabs bar which was used to Close the Active Tab. This was the same behaviour we see in FireFox.

    From Beta 2, each Tab uses to have its own Close button. Sometimes, this behaviour bugs me. If I click on a tab, and click twice by mistake, the Tab is gone if the mouse hits Close button.

    At the moment, I have 7 open tabs, and approximately 20% of space is occupied by the close button on each tab. This increases the probability of loosing the tab inadvertently while switching among tabs. This happens to me quite sometimes thats why I am mentioning it. Now, I use to control the mouse "more carefully" when switching tabs so that I don’t close a tab by mistake.

    In my opinion, it is better to have a single close button on the right side on the Tabs (like in Beta1 or FireFox) or even better, an option should be available to select Beta1 or Beta2/3 behaviour.

  51. Mudassir says:

    Forgot to mention above that we can still close any tab without using the X button using the middle mouse button.

    This feature also reduces the significance of the X button on each tab…

  52. Thomas Tallyce says:

    It’s a bit odd that there’s a single tab-related setting on the separate Advanced page. Can’t this just be unified?

    @ AaronSa [MSFT]

    > Jose,

    > You mentioned you find the settings dialog busy.

    > I agree.  […]  

    > It could benefit from some combo box selection, and some layout tweaks […]

    Speaking of settings, isn’t it about time to change the whole settings dialog box set to use a more sensible layout, now that there are such a *huge* number of property pages in.

    The tab metaphor is really no longer appropriate because of the sheer number of settings, and the whole settings area is confusing and sometimes contradictory. Why, for instance, is ‘browsing history’ on the "general" tab (i.e. the ‘shove everything else here’ tab) rather than the ‘Privacy tab’. Also, the ‘advanced’ tab contains such a long list of things that should be their own pages and better described and less ‘scroll-y’.

    Isn’t it about time to move towards the sort of layout involving a left menu acting as a sort of hierarchy with links to each property page, e.g. as used by say PuTTY:

    and any number of other applications, or something like what Firefox used to use before they moved to the two-stage tab system (which can be awfully confusing IMHO).

    Perhaps this is something you will be fixing after the huge effort to get IE7(.0) through the door is done. But I do hope it will be considered. What’s there is basically piles of stuff continually bolted on to how things were in 1998.

  53. AaronSa [MSFT] says:


    >Speaking of settings, isn’t it about time to change the whole settings dialog box set to use a more sensible layout, now that there are such a *huge* number of property pages in.

    In terms of user experience in IE 7 we were really focused on security, and every day use.  So a complete re-layout of our settings panels (where people do not spend a ton of time) took the back stage to improvements to every day functionality like tabs, search, RSS, printing, zoom etc.  

    There’s definitely room for improvement in the layout of our settings, but those improvements will have to wait until another release.

  54. AaronSa [MSFT] says:

    Raymond, could your tab dissapearance be related to the following?

    In this post John describes a setup issue that we had in a previous public release.

  55. bryne says:

    I don’t like using keyboard shorcuts. how about a setting to Open instant search on a new tab. ability to restore close tabs is always welcome I’m kind of tired using the history to search for it.

  56. Brad says:


    I use that feature a lot.  Another poster described what I have to do in IE7 to get around it.  This is particularly handy in news and other articles where references are make to urls that are not formated that way on the page.

    I’m eager to try the solution as was mentioned.  Of course I had to cut-n-paste that url….

    I’m still a little unclear on the quicktabs thing.  I thought I know what you meant, but now I’m not so sure.  If I turn OFF quicktabs, should that remove the ‘blank’ New Tab on the far right of all my current tabs?

  57. Judge Dredd says:

    Why can I not change where the tabs are located? I want them running along the bottom of the window

  58. Brutus says:

    I used SlimBrowser a few years ago (an IE-based browser), and it had an option that when set would cause any jump to a URL *typed in the address bar* to open in a new tab.  I found that to be useful and indeed always used that setting.  That’s because normally when I type a URL into the address bar, it’s like starting a new train of thought (though may be related to the previous train).  When using IE7, I’m constantly creating a new tab then entering the URL, where SlimBrowser allowed me to start a new tab with the desired URL in one step.

  59. GP says:


    I think the "Open home page for new tabs instead of a blank page" option should be in the screen where we dismiss the "About:Tabs" page and should be selected default…This is because most users would expect this behaviour (from using IE6) and wouldnt know how to change it (if the option is burried).

    As for people who want a blank page (normally advanced users) they know how to change it anyway and can do it.

    As you said in your post you want to avoid introducing new concepts if possible as it may confuse "normal" users. I am writing this from my expirence as a system admin seeing how regular people work with computers.

  60. Marty says:

    So, how about an option to just close the current tab when exiting/or AltF4’ing…

  61. Mark Sowul says:

    In addition to "new tab starts with homepage" or "new tab starts with blank" my vote would be for an option for "new tab contains current url"

  62. aapje says:

    β€œUse most recent order when switching tabs with Ctrl+Tab”

    Why did you choose to put this under advanced and not under ‘tab settings’?

  63. Rasheed says:

    You know what I really don´t understand? How can you guys be so stupid to forget to add an option to put the tabs on bottom? When will this be added? :s

  64. Tim says:

    Forgive me for not using the forums for this, but I get the feeling I’ll get a better response here, and the comment box is open on this post.

    On printing, I really like what you’ve done with IE7.  Being able to print only what I select, and the zoom it to the size I want is very very handy.  That coupled with a separate PDF print driver is near perfect!

    I found Beta 2 was actually a little better than Beta 3, and both are missing a useful feature.

    Beta 2 had a big print button on the bottom near the center.  Beta 3 took that away.  I’m not saying take away the print button on the top left, but maybe both!?

    Also, I think Beta 2 remembered if I last had selected to print "As laid out on screen" or "As selected on screen."  Since I mostly used the selected version to remove Web site chrome, it’d be handy if IE would remember what I last used.

    Lastly, in comparing "as laid out" vs. "as seleted" options I noticed that it would be handy if the print preview window had a button I could hit to "Print background color and images."  Sometimes the printer version a site generates could use this.

    Pull that feature out so it’s not buried way deep in the land of Tools > Advanced > Printer settings.  πŸ™‚



    10,646 days

  65. Tim says:

    I’ve been using an essential tool in the Firefox developer toolbar that I think is essential.  It would be very good if IE7 would add a "Restore Tab" button.

    So, if I close a tab and decide I want to go back to it, I can–history and all.

    I was about to switch back to IE7 recently (use it for printing now anyway), but when this feature was missing, there was no way!!  I use that all the time.



    10,646 days

  66. Poul Karlsen says:

    ja ja det er finy

  67. EricLaw [MSFT] says:

    @Brutus: Hit ALT+ENTER after typing a URL to create a new tab with the new URL.

  68. Definitely restore tabs and restore tab sessions would be a very nice feature…

  69. An XP question, home come when I click on a task such as notepad that it doesn’t restore and just stays at the bottom sometimes? It’s extremely annoying and I have to minimize all the windows and then click on it to bring it to focus.

    Also there are still bugs in XP when I press the Windows key and the start menu doesn’t appear until after I use the mouse to click on it. These bugs happen with all possible Windows updates installed.

  70. Barry Graham says:

    I would like a new option – to be able to have web pages open in a new tab when you open Internet Explorer from the Toolbar or from the desk top, if there is already an IE session open.

    This would be completely customizable so anyone that thinks this is not a good idea would not be affected by it.

  71. Jing says:

    The restore last tab group settings still doesnt work. They worked with beta 2 preview, and havent worked on my computer since.

    I have done a full reinstall of windows (not specifically for this), and the problem was still there.

    I have logged it here

    but no help as of yet.

  72. ARNI says:

    IE SUX, OPERA RLZ, can’t you understand it!?

  73. Arni says:

    Internet Explorer will never be the good browser if it will be still going the same way… 😐

  74. Kevin Dente says:

    Two questions about the tab settings:

    1) Since middle click is the equivalent of ctrl-click as far as opening tabs, shouldn’t shift-middle click be the equivalent of shift-ctrl-click (that is, open in the background if the default is foreground, or vice-versa)? It isn’t, and I found that very confusing.

    2) I find the "close the last tab closes IE" behavior to be very unexpected, very non-standard, and very undesirable. Any plans to change it?



  75. I don’t recall and due to a bad RMA from Asus I can’t test this out at the moment but did you folks fix disabled="disabled" for select menus and such for IE7?

  76. EricLaw [MSFT] says:

    @Kevin– The "Closing the last tab closes IE" was a very common request from Beta users, and hence this feature was intentionally added.  

    @John A. Bilicki: Can you elaborate on the disabled=disabled question?

  77. Ensign Joe says:

    I think the cross for closing a tab is too light. I think it should be darker or in a "soft red" color

  78. Thank you for explaining the default settings for IE7. I have learned why I was not able to open my home page in a new tab. The new tab now opens to my home page. Yeah! I regret that I stumbled upon this blogged solution by accident. The information you provide in the blog about default tabs home page loading should be explained briefly on the about:Tabs page.

    Thanks for your help

  79. Leandro Koiti says:

    Well… I know this topic has nothing to do with your post… but I guess it would be cool if you people develop some fix or add-on to the ie6 so we can view the png just like we can on ie7…

    and distribue it through the windows automatic updates… because even though you’ll do that with ie7 there’s a lot of people who won’t change the browser version… I don’t know… is just that I’m pretty amused that right before the launching of the ie7 there’s still this png bug on earlier versions…

  80. Douglas Pace says:

    I have noticed that opening a new tab in IE takes considerably longer (in web-surfing time) than in Firefox: 4 seconds compared to 0.  My friend (a Windows developer) contends this delay is a product of it opening an Active X session, but I have no idea.  If so, I was wondering if IE could cache another session in the background (only if tabs are enabled), making the switch to the next tab seemless for the user.

    I was excited when I saw the "Quick Tabs" option in this post, thinking it might be the answer – but that must be something else.  Still can’t tell from the posts.

    On switching between tabs, many have had issue with the method of Ctrl-Tab behaivior.  I seme to be in the minority that loves Ctrl-PgUp and Ctrl-PgDown which I use in Excel and Firefox.  Any chance of offering that combination in IE 7?  

    Great work on a lot of improvements guys (and girls).

  81. Fduch says:

    Please add the ability to switch tabs with mouse wheel when mose hovers tabs bar in addition to Ctrl-Tab and Shift-Ctrl-Tab.

  82. Kevin Dente says:


    Any chance of an option to disable the "close IE on close last tab" option? It really seems to fly in the face of Windows UI conventions – I don’t know of any other app that behaves that way. In fact, IE’s UI is quite unusual here, because if you only use the mouse, there is no way to "close the last tab" – the close context menu option is disabled.

    Any comment on the middle mouse button handling? That really seems like a bug to me.

  83. EricLaw [MSFT] says:

    @Kevin Dente: Sorry, at this point, there’s no plan to add a feature that disables closing IE when the last tab is closed.  

    Yes, IE’s a somewhat unique application in how it behaves– It’s not quite SDI and not quite MDI. That being said, we’ve looked very closely at the usability data and the feedback from the Beta in deciding how IE should behave.

    @Douglas Pace: Typically, the problem with slowness in creating new tabs is that you have lots (or large) plugins installed.  In IE7, toolbars and plugins are created on a per-tab basis.  A quick way to check is to start IE in no-addons mode by right-clicking the desktop icon.

    CTRL+PgUp and CTRL+PgDown will not be supported in IE7.  It’s too late in the IE7 cycle to add these keystrokes, and it turns out that they’re already used by some pages (e.g. Hotmail’s mail editing control)

  84. Fduch says:

    I think that closing last tab == about:blank

  85. Brad Freeman says:

    The tabs as implemented in Beta 3 are excellent. I would not change a single thing. Some of the complaints I read here border on bizarre, such as the guy who complains about the tab that becomes active after he closes a tab (he wants it to be last active tab, not the one next to the one he’s closing). Puhleeeze. Excellent work, IE team.

  86. Kevin Dente says:


    That’s actually a totally reasonable request – it’s how many tabbed MDI applications (such as Visual Studio) work.

    Firefox has an extension that adds this feature, and I use it myself. I find it incredible convenient when browsing links from a Google search, where I want to open a result in a new tab, look at it, close it if it isn’t the page I’m looking for, and have focus returned back to the search results page.

  87. Keith Patrick says:

    β€œOpen home page for new tabs instead of a blank page”

    I’d like another one: "Open current tab location for new tabs instead of a blank page"  -> basically the New|Window function of IE6 but for tabs.

  88. EricLaw [MSFT] says:

    @Kevin Dente: I agree, that’s not an unreasonable request at all.  

    IE7 already offers this option.  As described above, click Tools | Internet Options | Advanced, and check the "Use most recent order when switching tabs" box.

    @Fduch: Yup, that would be one way to resolve the issue, since IE’s frame wasn’t architected to support the scenario where 0 documents are loaded.  

    On the other hand, we found that many users were surprised when closing a tab would open a new (about:blank) one.

  89. EricLaw [MSFT] says:

    @Fduch: Regarding using the mouse wheel to switch tabs– this is a feature of the great MouseGestures plugin written by Ralph Hare.  I link to it on the Add-ons page @

  90. Andy says:

    One of the options on the TABS setting dialog window is to open links from other programs in a new tab.  This setting, nor any of the others work for me when a link is clicked in an e-mail in Outlook Express.  Are you aware of a problem with using links from other programs and is there a fix for it.  Thanks much!

  91. ss says:

    my tab option is set off now and i want to add it back again, how can I? have tried tools->internet options but dont see any tab options there.. am using IE 6, but it did have tabs earlier, jsut that i set it off somehow!!

  92. Chuck Roast says:

    What do I think? Why bother with IE when you can use Firefox?  Why deal with the slow XML parsing (try it, it’s abysmally slow), shoddy CSS (min-width, :hover, child selectors, etc) and DOM support (innerHTML on nodes in tables, etc) when you don’t have to?

  93. B# .NET Blog says:

    I’ve always been somewhat sceptical on the field of "tabbed browsing". I just couldn’t understand why…

  94. foobar says:

    I know this is totally late in the dev cycle, but if you could have even rudimentary mouse gestures included that would be great.  Specifically, right click then left click to go back, and left click then right click to go forward.  Just those two would enable me to seriously consider switching to IE7.

  95. hAl says:


    You can download mousegestures as a add-on (simular to firefox that uses extentions for that)

  96. foobar says:

    I know about the extensions and would prefer built-in browser support.

  97. Luca says:

    I think that "Use most recent order when switching tabs with Ctrl+Tab" option should be put in tab options and not in advanced settings.

  98. Paul McCarthy says:

    This is interesting right, if you go to the webpage is a big Mozilla firefox picture….

    Strange MS dont do something bout this

  99. war59312 says:

    Hey AaronSa [MSFT],

    All right I get your point. πŸ™‚

    Take Care,


  100. If you are like me then you do a ton of web searches everyday. I usually middle click alink from the

  101. Wes' Blog says:

    If you are like me then you do a ton of web searches everyday. I usually middle click a link from…

  102. CoqBlog says:

    Si vous voulez que sous Internet Explorer 7 l’ordre de navigation dans les onglets (Ctrl+Tab, Ctrl+Maj+Tab…

  103. Ken says:

    I would like to be able to specify what URL should be loaded when I click on a new tab, and not just the about:blank, tab welcome, or the first home page. It would be nice if this were more configurable.

  104. It would be nice to have the option of checking or unchecking "Launch Search results in a new tab or window"

    Currently search results spawn in the current window that is open. The only workaround is to click a new tab or open a new window and then perform the search from the search toolbar.

    Other browsers and toolbars do this it would be nice to have in IE7 as well…

  105. RichM says:

    When I open IE I add the Links toolbar and close the Norton toolbar. After I make those changes, I lock the toolbars. But when I launch a new tab, the new tab appears without the Links toolbar and with the Norton one I don’t want.

    Is there a way to make the new tabs use the toolbars you set in the main window?    

  106. JoshL says:

    @Steven Hughes: If you use Alt-Enter in the search box it will open the results in a new tab (similar to using Alt-Enter in the address bar to open a URL in a new tab).

  107. Will says:

    @Paul:  "if you go to the webpage is a big Mozilla firefox picture….Strange MS dont do something bout this"

    What should they do?  

    The google guys are paying firefox guys millions of dollars a year (for pointing at google search by default) and so the firefox guys have incentives to "cheat" and pull stupid little tricks like this.  hopefully, most people see what a scam this is and how it reflects on the ethics of the people involved.

  108. Andre says:

    I would like to see a setting for my Intellimouse Explorer. When I click the small button on the left, it should close a tab. If only one tab is open, the browser should close. CTRL-W does this. Intellimouse options let me set this option, but due to a bug in Intellimouse software, Windows often thinks I have my CTRL key pressed, which messes up other Windows things.

    This is definitely an Intellimouse bug, as the same problem happens in Firefox and Netscape. If the bug cannot be fixed in Intellimouse, then an IE setting to allow that setting for closing tabs would be nice.

  109. tedzzz says:

    homepages –> beyond one

    there needs  to be better management interface, when users has more  than one homepage.

    It is hard enough help people set change on home page….

    (same is true of firefox)  

    then there is issue of registry

    there is "start page" and "seconday start pages"

    which I think will be interesting as so may aps

    have option to "set as home page"  

  110. I ran across a tip to day to get my tabs working (closer to) the way I want them to. I’m loving IE7 but…

  111. IE 7 tabs are really neat. Thank goodness for Firefox and it’s pioneering the use of tabs in it’s browser. Otherwise MS wouldn’t have had any new features to steal. But I digres …

Comments are closed.

Skip to main content