Add-on Management Improvements in Internet Explorer 8

One of our goals with Internet Explorer 8 was to improve the experience of managing add-ons by bringing more types of add-ons into the management experience, and to make that experience more usable. Originally introduced in Windows XP Service Pack 2, we’ve updated the management UI in a big way for IE8.

Here’s a screen shot of the new UI:

IE8 Add-ons User Interface

A familiar interface…

When you look at the Manage Add-ons UI, you’ll probably feel comfortable with it quickly – it looks a lot like a Windows File Explorer window or the Control Panel in Windows Vista. You choose a category of object types from the left to view that list on the right. Select any item in the list and the details pane at the bottom will display information about the selected add-on.

Most changes you make in Manage Add-ons take effect immediately, although some (like disabling a toolbar or explorer bar) might still require you to restart Internet Explorer.

… with lots of improvements over IE7

You can resize the window to fit your screen resolution and personal preference, and can choose custom columns, grouping, and sorting order. These preferences will be remembered the next time you open Manage Add-ons.


  • You can select multiple Add-ons from the list (CTRL+click or drag to multi-select)
  • The list supports right-click context menu actions
  • Details about add-ons can be copied to the Windows clipboard and into email, a document editor, or a spreadsheet so you can share the list with tech support (or friends or family) more easily

No updates are required to existing controls to show up in this list

Developers do not need to make changes to existing controls to continue to be managed in IE8. However, with the richer set of information and controls put in the hands of the user in IE8, control authors might wish to provide more detailed information with their controls. While the same set of information (such as publisher or version) is available in IE8 as was available in IE7, now it’s easier for users to view it. Add-ons without sufficient information (like an empty publisher name or version number) are often removed or disabled by users.

Add-on developers should read this article and this blog post about ActiveX best practices for more information on how to properly develop IE add-ons.

It’s easier to get information about installed add-ons and find new add-ons with IE8

More detailed information about installed add-ons is available at a glance with IE8. We’ve also added links to make it easy to accomplish common tasks:

  • Find more add-ons with a single click. Just click “Find more add-ons…”
  • Don’t know what an add-on does? Click “Search for this add-on via default search provider” and we’ll help you find information about it online via your current default search provider
  • Want to know more about add-ons in general? Click “Learn more about add-ons”
  • Clicking “More information” displays more detailed technical information about installed add-ons, including file names, versions, and other properties. You can even view or clear the list of websites that ActiveX controls are allowed to run on for per-site installed ActiveX controls
  • Right-click any add-on to get easy access to common actions (like enable or disable)

New types to manage

In Internet Explorer 8, the list of add-ons you can manage has been expanded to include Explorer Bars, Search Providers, and Activities.

Explorer Bars

Explorer Bars are an extensibility type like toolbars that are supported by previous versions of Internet Explorer and IE8, but not listed in Manage Add-ons prior to IE8. With IE8 they are available so you have more control over what’s running in your browser.

IE8 Explorer Bar

Search Providers

In IE7 we added support for OpenSearch Search Providers, but they had their own, separate management window. We’ve kept the functionality of the management experience for Search Providers in IE8, but moved it here. IE8 helps you to quickly see what Search Providers are installed, which is your default, and where it is sending information when you submit a search. Additionally, you can change the order that Search Providers are listed (IE7 always sorted them alphabetically).

Search Providers Within Manage Add-ons

Internet Explorer 8 continues to support the OpenSearch standard for Search Providers. You can read more about OpenSearch here.


Activities, which are new to IE8, are also managed from the Manage Add-ons window. Just like Search Providers, you can view, manage, and remove installed Activities, find new Activities, and learn more about Activities directly from this window.

Managing Add-ons in No Add-ons Mode

IE7 and IE8 support “No Add-ons Mode,” a troubleshooting mode. When you run IE this way, no 3rd party code runs, which allows you to do things like disable troublesome controls or repair Windows via Windows Update (which is why that control is allowed to run in this mode). You can start No Add-ons Mode in a few ways:

  • Type iexplore –extoff in the Run box on the Start menu
  • Click “Internet Explorer (No Add-ons)” under All Programs -> Accessories -> System Tools
  • Right-clicking the IE icon on the Start Menu (if IE is your default browser) and selecting “Browse Without Add-Ons”

In IE7 you couldn’t run Manage Add-ons while in No Add-ons Mode, but in IE8, you can. In fact, if you click the information bar that appears when you’re running in No Add-ons Mode, it offers a quick and convenient access point to Manage Add-ons:

Managing Add-ons in No Add-ons Mode

Remember, No Add-ons Mode is designed for troubleshooting IE. It’s probably not the way you want to experience websites all the time, as a lot of important functionality is often provided via add-ons.

To exit No Add-ons Mode, simply close that browser window.

In Summary

We designed the Manage Add-ons interface to be more comprehensive in the types of objects it manages and the types of actions you can take. I’m interested in hearing any questions and feedback about this new management experience. Just leave a comment in the blog and I’ll read it!


Christopher Vaughan
Program Manager

Comments (72)
  1. Gill says:

    So much attention to addons… and no attention to the options dialog, or the prompt/print dialogs.

    What gives?

  2. Aubrey says:

    Ah, so now I have an easier way to turn off BHO’s when they infect my computer instead of removing them with adware software.

  3. Jon says:

    @Aubrey: A much better idea is not to install such junk in the first place.  Install Windows Defender if you need Windows help you identify unsafe downloads.

  4. Steve says:

    These improvements are great! Thank you very much.

    This is a late request, but it would be cool if you could somehow make profiles of enabled/disabled addons and tie them to certain sites. there are some sites which require addons that do not play nice with other addons. I always have to go in and enable/disable combinations to get these sites to work.

    Great work so far, IE8 beta is working good for me.

  5. Christopher Vaughan [MSFT] says:

    @ Steve : Thanks for the feedback. Have you tried IE8’s per-use ActiveX control feature? You can now allow or disallow ActiveX controls only at certain sites, instead of allowing permissions universally. That way sites that need a given ActiveX control for legitimate reasons can be given permission to run them, but sites that don’t can be blocked. The profile idea is interesting, I’ll think about it.



  6. This is a vast improvement over the maze of finding things in previous version of IE, congrats again on the great improvements added to IE8 thus far.

    What would be cool is the ability for the user/admin to make a text-comment about what the addon is. This should be completely restricted for software vendors. So for exmple I can mark something as an antivirus but if malware somehow got on to a client’s system it couldn’t mark itself as something.

  7. David Naylor says:

    Good work. Firefox should also do the logical thing and move the search manager to the Addons manager.

  8. Kris says:

    The add-ons manager seems to use 16 color icons, is this a know bug?

  9. Steve Roussey says:

    Looks great!

    Please kill off IE6. It shouldn’t be in XP SP3. WU should force it off everything.

    All these improvements are better when more people actually use them…

    Sorry for the rant… looks great!

  10. Tino Zijdel says:

    Now all that’s needed is for MSIE to lower the bar for add-on development itself; e.g. pure script-based add-ons instead of having to resort to .NET, COM or other sorts of windows-proprietary programming and having to deal with registry-settings and other install-complexities…

  11. Christopher Vaughan [MSFT] says:

    @ Kris: We’ve looked at this, and don’t believe it’s our bug. We’re asking the binaries for their default icons, and that’s what they’re returning. I suspect that the authors need to make changes to give us higher resolution icons when asked. We certainly support high-res icons, and we’re not doing anything special to avoid them.


  12. game kid says:

    @Christopher Vaughan [MSFT]: Isn’t each icon an array of icon images for each color-size pair?  If the authors are not making them so that the "best" ones are default, can’t each image of the icon be queried and checked so the nicest one can display?

    Windows Explorer has little problem with this, so the IE team should be asking the "WE" team for some advice.

  13. Rowan says:

    When you reduce the width of the Add-ons window, the help text at the top gets truncated.

    The big blue title is redundant as the title of the window is already in the _title_ bar.

    The ‘category’ column in the Activities list is redundant as everything is grouped into categories by default.

    The link to find more add-ons is very obscure and probably shouldn’t use an ellipses as it’s just a normal link like the one next to it (Learn more about add-ons).

    The light blue text for headings is very faint and has no contrast (obviously).

    The listing order column in the search providers list is/should be redundant.

    When clicking "Find more whatever", a new IE window opens instead of using an existing window.

    The UI for reordering search providers is unconventional and rudimentary. I mean, it uses plain ‘hyperlinks’ for ‘Move up’ and ‘Move down’. What about drag and drop? Or at least some up/down arrows.

    Still in the search providers list, the ‘Alphabetic sort’ link is a bit confusing, you should just be able to click the ‘Name’ column to rearrange the providers by name.

    The usability of the search providers UI gets worse when you order the list by name, because then the ‘Move up’ and ‘Move down’ links don’t do what they say. I am absolutely flabbergasted with the search providers list right now, I don’t know what’s happening.

  14. Xepol says:

    Still waiting for a good extensions/plugin system.  yes, yes, there is a complex activeX system that very few people have figured out how to use, but NOTHING on the scale of FireFox.

    Which is just plain ABSURD considering that MS has all that technology at its disposal.  True, it isn’t all dedicated to the IE team, but frankly it doesn’t need to be.

    A good dotNet based system would go a LONG LONG way to improving things, and perhaps even improving the original promise of dotNet.

    It doesn’t HAVE to be rocket science, but for some reason, the typical MS mentatlity can’t seem to break away from doing things the hardest possible way.

    Please, PLEASE consider finding a way for making it easy to write dotNet extensions for IE.  If you don’t understand what I mean, check out firefox. (come on, we KNOW you’ve looked at the competition – admit they got a few things right and be willing to follow their lead!)

    And while you are at it, how about a SANE freaking way to plug in a download manager?  Nice and simple?  "here’s a program path, run it with the URL…"  None of this ActiveX/Com plug in here, register there, support these badly documented interfaces here, pray there, fail randomly…

  15. lanad says:

    حسب تجربتي للاصدار الثامن جيد جدآ واكثر من رائع .

    شكرى لجهودكم .

  16. Anders Borum says:


    I second the request for a managed plugin system in IE 8. It would really nice, if the IE 8 team adopted the common Add-In framework already available in the .NET 3.5 libraries.

    Beat the competition – just do it! go go go! (cue rally ..)

  17. Sankar says:

    It’s awesome to see such great improvement in IE. I have a small suggestion/request. Please improve the find option. Replace the existing not-so-good dialog box with a trendy and slick find bar.

  18. ahmed mohammed says:

    انترنت اكسلورر 8 افضل من 7

    واتمنا ان الاصدار التجريبي ما يطول

  19. Rowan says:

    The filter select field obviously doesn’t fit well in that side panel, move it to the top, above the border.

    The headings appear to be a non-standard (for Vista) colour, other Vista windows have a much darker blue.

    There are two close buttons, one should be enough.

    Here’s a few of these ideas put into a mock-up:

  20. Jerry Mead says:

    @ Christopher

    On IE8 Beta 1 on XP we see an issue with one of our controls (on corporate clients in its millions) and some others such as Shockwave.


    Can’t uninstall from Downloaded Program Files :

    "MeadCo SCriptX will be permanently uninstalled" : OK

    "Failed to remove MeadCo ScriptX"


    We see occasional crashing on occache.dll to accompany this.

    This also breaks our .msi installation, which looks for and uninstalls any install before proceeding.

    More detail is available if required, including other issues with uninstall on IE8 Beta 1 on Windows Vista.

  21. Jerry Mead says:

    "Can’t uninstall from Downloaded Program Files :"

    Sorry, I should have said that we already submitted a bug report on connect, so this is for extra visibility.

  22. Will Peavy says:

    Glad to see the updates. I hope we continue to get improved developer add-ons. I choose my primary browser based on the developer add-ons available, and use other browsers for testing.

  23. jessejacob says:

    I’ve commented on a couple of other IE blog postings, but this one seems the most promising. I noticed Eric Lawrence’s link to and his statement that .NET "extensions" have been possible since .NET 1.1/IE6, but only through a six year old bandobject wrapper on It doesn’t do much to hide the the underlying COM plumbing from the .NET developer. Is there a plan for the IE team to create some supported plumbing for managed bandobjects and BHOs? The Office team did something like that (a managed shim project) for Office add-ons before VSTO was available, and it definitely spurred office development. I have some IE addon ideas, and call me lazy, but I’d love to be able to try some things without needing to learn C++ and COM.

  24. t43y3h says:

    Could we have a download manager please?

    Even my cell browser supports pausing and resuming of downloads…

  25. As <a href="">Rowan‘s comment details</a>, the IE UI is still plagued by countless small problems which add up to a very poor user experience. Rowan’s mockup is an improvement, imho. I have additional observations.

    At the start of the first screenshot, all this text is redundant: "View and manage Add-ons that are installed on your computer. Disable Add-ons to troubleshoot problems with Windows Internet Explorer."

    * The window is titled "Add-ons" in the title bar.

    * You can see the Add-ons in the ListView without being told you can see them.

    * Where would they be installed other than on the user’s computer?

    * The term "troubleshoot" is only going to be known by people who understand that disabling Add-ons is one way (not the only way) of fixing a problematic install of IE.

    * Indeed, advanced users are the only people who will find this window in the first place and have any idea what any of the information in it means.

    * There’s a "Learn more about Add-ons" link in the bottom right if they want to know what useful things they can do with this window.

    Removing the heading text (as Rowan suggests) and this unhelpful explanatory text would salvage a lot of vertical space. It would also make the window better match successful Windows conventions, i.e. not covering your windows with text which is not actually going to help people.

    It might look like Windows Explorer to you. It doesn’t to me. There’s no menu bar, toolbar or statusbar. There are lots of command buttons, text, headings, side-by-side text and the ListView does not take up nearly all the space.

    As there are only 3 types of add-on, you could use tabs. That would:

    * save a lot of space to make the window usable at narrower widths (especially important as you need wide ListView columns to view all the details);

    * be more consistent with other settings windows in IE and throughout Windows (at least in Windows XP);

    * and be a more familiar way to move between the views (the Folder sidebar in Windows Explorer is only used by a few power users).

    There is a great deal of wasted space around the bottom of the window.

    In the first screenshot, the "Status" column is redundant due to the "Enabled" and "Disabled" grouping. I would expect "Enabled" add-ons to be displayed first. Those are the ones which may have done something that prompted you to want to manage them.

    The window is resizeable, which is good. But there’s no Maximise/Restore button, Minimise button or control box. The lack of control box prevents resizing for users who cannot use a mouse, AFAIK.

    Oh, and make it look like an XP application in the XP build. Obviously.

    These user interface and accessibility issues are elemental. It’s rather sad to see these mistakes in brand-new UI for a version 8 application which has the resources of Microsoft behind it. Even in a beta.

    But it’s very good to know someone is thinking about these things, implementing some of them and then blogging about them. More attention to detail and thinking more clearly about what actually benefits users will improve things further, imho.

  26. t3265 says:

    Gotta love Ben’s comments. Please do what he says, it makes sense.

  27. dosxuk says:

    You might want to look at the choice of colours used in that dialog under XP. If, like me, you have a light highlight colour, the headings become virtually invisible.

    It really looks a mess under XP as it matches nothing else on IE or the system.

  28. Christopher Vaughan [MSFT] says:

    I love everyone’s enthusiasm and passion around this feature. We have some bugs and issues in our B1 UI that we’re working on, but what’s in B1 is basically our final design- we don’t have plans to change our layout to use tabs instead, for instance. In general what I’m hearing is that people like the technical improvements, which is great.


  29. Gordon says:

    @Christopher Vaughan[MSFT]

    Why release a Beta to the public, if you are not open to constructive criticism on design flaws and usability issues?

    This is almost as bad as the core IE folks that think that since the prompt() dialog kinda works, that it shouldn’t be touched, even though it is a usability nightmare!

    bug 109 & 139

    I just don’t get the feeling of community involvement at all from Microsoft.  The DOM fixes in IE8 Standards mode are about the only good thing in IE8 so far!

  30. Peter says:

    What I don’t like about Microsoft: incompetent lies.

    This blog starts with a picture and a statement: "When you look at the Manage Add-ons UI, you’ll probably feel comfortable with it quickly – it looks a lot like a Windows File Explorer window"

    Hands up everyone: does this dialog look anything like windows explorer?  

    Answer: no, it doesn’t.  

    It has no tool-bar-strip-thingie at the top

    The left side doesn’t have a favorite links/folder pair

    The ‘detail’ area uses different algorithms for displaying everything.  Windows Explorer, for example, carefully shows me the entire date/time of a file. (Date Modified: 5/2/2005 12:27 PM).  This one uses a totally different string to represent a date/time ("Sunday, October 22, 2006…") which is then cut off.

    The list is split into enabled/disabled.  Windows explorer never does that.

    I’m not saying it’s a bad interface (except for the date/time thing — you should be consistent).  But it’s sure as (bleep) not Windows Explorer.

    Hence: Incompetent lie.  It doesn’t look like what you say it looks like.  And to make it easy for everyone to tell, you put a giant picture of it right for us to see.

  31. magicalclick says:

    I like the improvement. But just like other people said, can we have scripting support? It takes too much trouble to make add-on. You guys are not thinging leaving it to Live Tool Bar team to do this? Are you?

    And I certainly hate COM objects because I don’t know where to delete it. If it is just a scripting object, you can simply store the text code file in an easy to find "Add-On Script" folder. If I don’t like it, I can delete the code and I am 100% sure that means the program is gone. Rather than deleting a Yahoo tool bar using uninstaller and find out that the tool bar is still there.

    I would be great to have something like VBA on Excel for IE.

  32. Rowan says:

    "We have some bugs and issues in our B1 UI that we’re working on, but what’s in B1 is basically our final design- we don’t have plans to change our layout to use tabs instead, for instance."

    That’s ok, I only focused on how to improve the UI in ways that wouldn’t require an overhaul of the design.

    I haven’t touched on the details pane yet because it seems so useless, my only suggestion would be to remove the pane completely and present the details another way. But that would require too much work.

    "I love everyone’s enthusiasm and passion around this feature."

    Should be: I love everyone’s concerns about our UI.

  33. Arnold says:

    "We have some bugs and issues in our B1 UI that we’re working on, but what’s in B1 is basically our final design- we don’t have plans to change our layout to use tabs instead, for instance."

    – Wow! way to be a team player! If you have no plans to fix it, then why bother releasing a beta, just go straight to RTM so that we can all suffer with this.

    1.) Most users aren’t on Vista yet (or avoid it like the plague) thus it isn’t familiar at all.

    2.) Why show disabled ones first? This typically isn’t what I care about, because I disabled them! just show them in context, grayed out.

    3.) Could you use more whitespace at the top of this dialog? surely we can reduce the table view of addons to something with only 5 results (/sarcasm)

    4.) Disabled/Enabled "fieldset" groupers are un-necs. the column indicates their status.

    5.) whitespace at the bottom of the screen is also abundant, at the cost of hiding details with ellipses…

  34. UI Dude says:

    Ben & others:

    This UI is more like Vista than XP.  Obviously they’re making IE to work in XP, Vista, and Win7 and biasing toward the future than the past. Hence the more explanation text and greater whitespace – more like a task dialog than a message box. Clearly they have no interest in making in "more like XP" which by the time IE8 is in common use will be two versions back.


    * Few people use or see help links, so while they add some value the dialog needs to be useable without them.  This is where Vista was heading…

    * Three types of add-ons today; yes, but almost certainly more tomorrow.  It’s obvious they designed the new dialog for future expandability. Another three or four types would be easy to add. Not only are tabs like in Internet Options archaic UI elements, once a tab control has enough items to need multiple rows or scrolling it becomes a UI disaster.

    * The bottom of the window varies from having very little to having quite a bit, depending on what’s selected.  Sometimes it’s downright crowded.

    * If you have grouping enabled based on Status, then yes the Status column is redundant.  Otherwise it’s not. Same as any other listview with grouping support.

    * If you’re a keyboard user, then use the system menu (Alt+Spacebar) and then use Move or Size from there.  Now you know a little bit more…

    User interface design is not "elemental" its super freakin hard.  

    What’s obviously easy is to merely dissect a blog post and a set of screenshots, probably without even using the feature.

  35. Francis says:

    UI dude: multi-row tabs are unwieldy. But that fact, along with the age of tabs, does not mean there’s no place for tabs at all. Quite the contrary–tabs in a single row are and remain a far more intuitive control than list selectors. Any good UI textbook will tell you that.

  36. Francis says:

    UI dude: multi-row tabs are unwieldy. But that fact, along with the age of tabs, does not mean there’s no place for tabs at all. Quite the contrary–tabs in a single row are and remain a far more intuitive control than list selectors. Any good UI textbook will tell you that.

  37. Sinder says:

    So long as we’re talking about add-ons, here’s something you can pass along to the Windows Live Toolbar engineering team: it causes IE to behave sluggishly. Often, when closing an IE tab or window, there’ll be a noticeable delay of several seconds where nothing happens before the browser actually exits; occasionally, there’ll be a much longer delay when starting IE before the browser actually loads (I would assume that the Toolbar is attempting to retrieve data from the Internet before it starts; if the Toolbar has trouble communicating with its servers, then the browser simply hangs until the Toolbar is finished loading, then accesses its home page of MSN). Disable the toolbar, and these delays go away.

    I’ve noticed this behavior in both IE7 and IE8, and am running Windows XP SP2.

  38. yetAnotherWebDev says:

    This looks quite good, except substiting lists for Tabs.  Since the amount of choice in the left list ist clearly limited, it seems to me as well that Tabs would be a better and more intuitive choice. Functionality-wise it looks good.

    Now to the off-topic parts (only because these topics have never been discussed on this blog so far):

    Any news though on what IE8 will and will not be able to render:

    – proper support for application/xhtml+xml? (Including the refusal of non-well-formed xhtml)

    – SVG Tiny?

    Will the following be fixed:

    – proper ARIA support without proprietary twists? Especially concerning accessibility, please be interoperable!

    – proper, syncronous XmlHttpRequest without proprietary twists?

    – also, xhtml-like namespaces should be removed from from html parsing mode or such an extension should be discussed within the HTML5 WG

  39. t346 says:

    Does it make a difference, whether its tabs or a side thingy? Most users have a screen space of 1024X768 at LEAST, so they could probably care less.

    Though i completely agree with putting the enabled add-ons first and the disabled ones last, and by removing the status column because they’re grouped anyway

  40. Chris says:

    I would like to be able to maximize the add-on manager window, and also, I don’t like the fact that some of the text within the add-on manager just cuts out, rather than wraps.

  41. Chevez says:

    Would definitely use Tabs over the list on the Left side.  Its an early (in fact the first!) beta, so there is plenty of time to fix this bug.

    If Tabs are used, there is much more real-estate available for information about each add on, thus cropping the text won’t be necessary.

    The "Vista" view, versus the Column view of Exploring before Vista… was a usability downgrade.  Custom columns gave users lots of flexibility, sorting and personalized views, with nothing truncated.  In this new dialog, with the Vista-like view, data is missing, data is truncated, and you can’t establish a quick "grid" view of everything in your browser.  Definately a downgrade in user experience.

    Final note, to really improve the experience here, a subscription to a black list of addons would be ideal!  This way spyware, virus, malware and other toolbars/BHO’s could be completely avoided, since they would never get the chance to install! (or you could allow them to install, but be disabled by default).

    Its time that Microsoft stepped forward to limit the malware out there that only installs on Windows, due to a lack of foresight in the security realm.

    A simple google search will bring up all the BHO identifier GUIDs that should be blocked.

    See here for a simple list:

    "CoolWebSearch" anyone?

  42. Steve says:

    Does anyone else find it odd, that in Microsoft’s IE Feedback site Connect (the pseudo-public bug tracker), that the Status options are:

    Bug/Feature Status list:

    1 Active

    2 Resolved

    3 Closed

    4 Not Active

    5 Not Closed

    I don’t understand 4 and 5, but where is the "Fixed" status?

    I was hoping to query for which bugs have already been fixed internally, so that I can avoid worrying about making workarounds… but I can’t even run such a search!

    I also thought that maybe the "Resolved" status might be doubled up to indicate "Resolved-not-a-bug", "Resolved-works-as-designed", AND "Resolved-we-fixed-this-internally"…

    But the number of resolved bugs is Zarro.

    Just wondering when "Fixed" is going to be "Fixed" in Connect.

  43. Yvo van Beek says:

    A download manager would be really really nice. Or some simple resume support. And yeah I know that there are programs like IE Pro that support it. But build-in would be much nicer.

  44. UI Dude says:

    >Though i completely agree with putting the enabled add-ons first and the disabled ones last, and by removing the status column because they’re grouped anyway

    Uh, did you use the feature or just read the post, the comments, and look at the screen shot?

    Right click on the listview, and you can change sort order, add/remove columns, change grouping, etc.  So if you want to sort by status and group by status, feel free.

    One thing you can’t do is group or sort by columns you’ve hidden, so you can’t remove the status field.  That’s a classic limitation of the listview.

    Also, there the usual listview inconsistency – if you right click on the header row vs. a selected item vs. a non-selected item, what should happen?  Window apps (as well as Windows itself) do this differently.  Explorer windows, for example, when you right click an unselected item will select it then show the selected item context menu, unless you clicked a blank field in which case you get the generic context menu for the list.  But that’s not the same context menu you get if you right click the header.

    And BTW, UI design books (textbooks or otherwise) don’t sing the praises of tab type controls. They’ll talk about the pros and cons of each type of general UI control. There are places where they are useful and places where they are not. I don’t have their design guidelines, but it does seem obvious the Windows designers are staying away from tabs more and more.

    But you need to look at this not from list vs. tab control.  You need to look at the high level design, and if you do you’ll probably see that this layout is a classic three pane design.  Category selection in list on the left, item selection in a list on the top right, details on that item on the bottom.  There are some high level details that vary (for example, should the category selection list go all the way to the bottom of the window or should the item details pane go all the way to the left; here they chose the latter). A three pane solution is common where the differences between items vary only in details (type of columns, for example), and the categories are similar (explorer bar vs. toolbar is a user distinction, they could have chosen to put those in the same category).

    The tab vs. column argument is really an argument against the three pane approach.  And since I think three pane works great in this situation, I wouldn’t use a tab control.

  45. Jiss says:

    Now that search provider is included in Manage add-ons are you going to remove the search provider option in Internet Options and replace it manage add-ons.

    A UI update for internet option is always welcome.


    ability two view two tabs in one Internet Explorer Windows

  46. Gobo says:

    Super Drag and Drop?

    Right click add keyword for search?

    Shouldn’t be extensions but built in the browser.

  47. anony.muos says:

    Let’s see, IE8 still doesn’t FULLY support the following web standards that MS should have supported long back:

    – XHTML

    – DOM Level 2 – partial support

    – DOM Level 3

    – Various XML standards (XForms, EXSLT etc)

    – SVG

    – JavaScript 1.8

    – CSS 3

    – APNG – Firefox 3 and Opera 9.5 support it

  48. UI Dude says:

    >Now that search provider is included in Manage add-ons are you going to remove the search provider option in Internet Options and replace it manage add-ons.

    Your question is answered by actually *using the IE8 beta* rather than just reading blog posts.

    The answer is "yes".  The Search Defaults Settings button in Internet Options launches this new dialog with the "Search Providers" category selected.

  49. anony.muos says:

    Hey IE team, I understand that the final version of IE8 is not yet determined, but can you at least tell:

    1. Whether it will simultaneously release with Windows 7 or much earlier than that (as expected).

    2. Whether it will release in 2008 or 2009?

  50. rbirkby says:

    Surprising you’ve gone for the Unix convention of -extoff when /extoff would be more in-keeping with Windows. And also surprising you haven’t used the familiar Windows terminology of safe mode – eg /safemode

  51. UI Dude, I appreciate your views on the pros and cons of a Tabs+ListView+Details design versus a ListBox+ListView+Details design. I understand and fully agree that the Vista build of IE8 must follow Vista conventions. But, equally, the XP build must follow XP conventions. Being consistent with the OS you release on makes the app instantly familiar to users of that OS. It enables skills to be transferred from app to app.

    As the window does not display an icon in the top left of the title bar, there is no visual indication that it has a control box. As such, a user has no visible clue that the control box keyboard shortcut will do anything. Showing the icon and the common sizing buttons is the right thing to do here, I think you’ll agree?

    I am familiar with the customisations this ListView has. From default view (non-grouped and ordered by "Name"):

    1. Right-click a header.

    2. Select "Group by" > "Status".

    The list is now grouped by "Status", disabled items first, ordered by "Name".

    1. Right-click a header.

    2. Select "Group by" > "Status".

    The items remain grouped by "Status", disabled items first, but the ordering by "Name" is now reversed. Reversing the "Sort by" order upon reselecting a "Group by" item is unintuitive. For me, at least…

    As the "Group by" > "Status" item has a tick next to it, that indicates an on/off state. Clicking it the first time turns on the grouping and ticks the item, which is fine. Clicking it again should turn off that grouping, unticking the item. The "None" item and separator should not be present.

    Alternatively, the tick could be replaced by a bullet, indicating only one can be set at a time. Like a radio button group. In this case, there should be no separator between the "None" and "Name" items.

    Clicking an already-selected "Group by" option could reverse the order of the grouping. I’d say the columnar sort order should remain as it was.

    When grouping is on, the ListView items cannot be sorted differently.

    When grouping is off, the "Sort by" items from "Publisher" to "Date added" affect the column *after* the correct one. "Sort By" > "Version" does nothing.

    Clicking an already-selected "Sort by" item does nothing. It could reverse the sort order. This would be consistent with reversing the sort order by clicking the ListView header a 2nd time. Alas, defeat!

    Right-clicking a selected row provides a context menu with curious item ordering. 2 of the 3 items which affect the row are at the top, which makes sense because the row is what you right-clicked on. But the 3rd item, "Copy", is right at the bottom. It’s as far away as possible from what you right-clicked on. Additionally, it’s in the group of menu items which affects columns and ordering. Putting this in the top group of items would be better, wouldn’t it?

    Your defence for several of the UI choices certainly have merits. But the quality of this particular implementation is beyond defence, afaict. The "squint test" gives a blur of misaligned text scattered above and below the main controls. And closer you look, the more odd and confusing things you find. In a product to be used by ~0.5 billion people, getting every UI feature to work properly and intuitively is especially important.

    Christopher Vaughan [MSFT] he was true to his word about reading the comments which are left here. But it seems the comments will not affect IE8’s UI, no matter how salient the points being raised?

  52. UI Dude says:

    Ben, it’s obvious that the IE team isn’t going to make IE8 be "XP look-and-feel on XP" and "Vista on Vista" and "Win7 on Win7". That would just be dumb. XP and Vista are both done deals for the Windows team. So the Windows team is working on Win7 right now.  Obviously IE is going to be part of Win7, and since the IE team is part the Windows team, it only stands to reason they’re writing for Win7, with a backward eye on Vista and XP.  And since they’re starting with the IE7 codebase, chances are much of it will still look like IE7.

    The new stuff will probably look like Win7 as much it can, within whatever limits still running on XP poses. Perhaps they’ll change icons or color gradients or twiddly stuff like that, but overall, they’re coding for Win7.

    I think developers love to get their minds wrapped around some notion of "XP conventions" that are set in stone. The web uses a lot of different UI concepts, and it toddles along just fine.  The world won’t fall apart because IE8 looks more like Vista on XP than it "should" according to some nebulous XP guidelines.

    As to your discussion about the context menu functions, sounds like you found some bugs for them to fix.  Or maybe call them design changes. All of them seem reasonable in scope for a beta 1.  They’re refinement, not "hey, start over with a different design, willya?" like the tab control stuff.

    The system menu icon: dialogs don’t usually show them, and this is a dialog.  It’s one of the visual cues that separate a dialog from a top level window.  If they added max, min, and system menu, yet left the window modal, people would be saying "Hey, it looks like a regular window but why does it act modal?"

    I think this dialog has some visual sloppiness but it’s beta 1. They probably have a stack of polish bugs to go fix.

    BTW, I’m not defending their UI. I’m explaining my view of why they chose what they chose.  I think a three pane design works here, so I agree with their overall design. Not the same thing.

    I have to say many of the comments here show a lack of analytical effort and plain laziness.  If you want to critique someone’s UI, then at least actually install it and use it for a while. It’s clear only a minority of commenters actually did that.  That’s just lazy, and that’s what motivated me to comment in the first place.

  53. anna everitt says:

    secuer ie can no cennet to internet

  54. anna everitt says:

    secuer ie can no cennet to internet

  55. Kris Titeca says:

    Thanks for implementing some requests.

    But I do have a questions about this interface in combination with group policies.

    Within our company we’re using the policy settings "deny all add-ons unless specifically allowed in the add-on list".

    This policy has proven its use:  it has reduced helpdesk calls and made the browser much more stable.

    The only downside is the management of the allow list. I’ve made suggestions in the past to allow management based on the publisher information which would greatly reduce the overhead.

    The biggest issue is when a user is navigating to a web site that uses an add-on which is not yet installed and isn’t on the allow list.

    In this scenario the add-on management interface is completely useless because it doesn’t show any information about this add-on, which makes it hard to add this add-on to the allow list.

    Until now we’re using a sort of debugging tool called kapimon which allows us to see which add-on’s are blocked. Although this works, it’s rather difficult and requires administrator rights.

    Wouldn’t it be possible to show the class-id in the add-on interface of a blocked add-on? I know other fields will be difficult to show but you could leave them blank or display "unknown".

    This would really help us in troubleshooting add-on management via group policies.

    Could you take a look at management of add-on’s based on other criteria such as publisher, etc.?

    I would also be very interested in seeing detailed information what per-user ActiveX controls is all about.



  56. David says:

    Great, an easy way to disable that POS Acrobat reader plugin.

  57. Anonymous says:

    Hey, IE team, IE7 added the option to prevent using Javascript to modify the status bar. Can you add the ability to allow users to disable the option when right click is disabled on a web page, so right click cannot be disabled.

  58. @someone

    Let’s see, IE8 still doesn’t FULLY support the following web standards that MS should have supported long back:

    – CSS 3

    CSS 3 isn’t even fully finalized yet, to my knowledge. How could they "FULLY" support it?

  59. Klars says:

    I missed the IE chat! 🙁

    Will you be posting the transcript soon?

    Is the bug tracking public yet?

  60. Ian Ringrose says:

    I wish to be able to enable an add-in only for some websites, e.g. on some websites “flush” provides value, however on most websites it just slows me down and crashes IE.  

    I think I am looking for something like a tool bar that lets me turn on/off all add-ins that are in the “sometime enable” category, and then for IE to remember my choose for the given web site.

  61. Geld Lenen says:

    It looks really good! Hope there will not be a lot of bugs when this IE version comes out!

  62. Chris says:

    Guess what, I get to fix your mistakes again!

  63. J H says:

    IE8 is messing up too many webpages. I need to uninstall it and reinstall IE7. IE7 kept locking up in Vista and Vista SP1. Someone said it was because of some addons. Well, there are too many addons to figure out the offender. At least IE7 worked and did not mess up webpages like IE8. How do I uninstall IE8? I tried the usual method Add/Remove Programs but IE8 is not listed. Thank in advance.

    My email is

  64. UI Dude wrote:

    "The system menu icon: dialogs don’t usually show them, and this is a dialog.  It’s one of the visual cues that separate a dialog from a top level window.  If they added max, min, and system menu, yet left the window modal, people would be saying "Hey, it looks like a regular window but why does it act modal?"

    Perhaps it should be modeless and shown in the taskbar, then? Bookmarks Manager and Downloads Manager from Firefox are a good examples of how well this can work. A modeless Add-ons Manager in IE8 would be similarly effective, I think.

    There are many badly designed applications on any OS you care to mention. Bad design needs to be reduced, not encouraged. There *are* guidelines for GUIs on Windows XP. There *is* a wide range standard controls. Users *do* find it harder when they are completely ignored.

    For example, inconsistent iconography makes it harder to figure out at a glance what a toolbar button with no text label will do. Sure you can hover the mouse and get a tooltip. But this isn’t helping users get things done. And if the tooltip text is inconsistent with the platform? Then it’s no help anyway and users lose faith in waiting for tooltips next time there’s something they don’t recognise immediately.

    OS consistency is an open-and-shut case, imho. Products excel when they heed it.

    "As to your discussion about the context menu functions, sounds like you found some bugs for them to fix.  Or maybe call them design changes. All of them seem reasonable in scope for a beta 1.  They’re refinement, not ‘hey, start over with a different design, willya?’ like the tab control stuff."

    Yes, you could look at it that way. Then again, if these features are too difficult to get right perhaps they should be dropped? Clicking column headers covers the most useful sorting abilities already. It takes fewer clicks on larger hit areas, too.

    I wonder if the IE team have discussions like this in the corridors and cafeteria? 🙂

  65. Ajay says:

    Built in Download Manager is absolute for any good browser. Whenever I need to download files for more than 500MB, I install DAP, put download request into it. As soon as download completes, I uninstall DAP!

    Why can’t a basic Pause/Resume be implemented in IE, if not extensive DM?

  66. GUIDO SLANGEN says:


  67. GUIDO SLANGEN says:


  68. K Ram says:

    Seriously, what is the improvement in experience? They’ve added a left nav. Sounds like snake oil to me.

  69. IEBlog says:

    Hi, I’m Matt Crowley, Program Manager for Extensibility with Internet Explorer. The team was very excited

  70. 이 글은 Internet Explorer 개발 팀 블로그 (영어)의 번역 문서입니다. 이 글에 포함된 정보는 Internet Explorer 개발 팀 블로그 (영어)가 생성된 시점의

  71. &#160; &#160; 아래 글은 IEBlog에 올라온 IE 8 보안 관련 글 중 두번째 글을 번역한 것입니다. 현재 파트 5까지 나와있는데 시리즈로 번역할 예정입니다. 이 글 뿐

Comments are closed.

Skip to main content