IE8 and Reliability


Developing technologies that work reliably on their own and as part of the computing ecosystem is core to our mission and is an important part of our commitment to Trustworthy Computing. Our customers and partners expect technologies and services they can depend on anytime, anywhere, and on any device.  We focus on constant improvements to the dependability of our technologies and services.

For Internet Explorer, reliability means that the browser should always start quickly, perform well, connect to the Internet, and show Web sites without crashing or hanging. Most users want their browser to work, recover smoothly after a crash, and display the Web correctly. Users are not as concerned with what causes the problem, whether that be a poorly functioning add-on or poorly performing website. As part of our ongoing commitment to improve reliability, we have done a great deal of work in IE8 to make the browser more robust in all of these areas:  performance, recovery and display. In particular I will discuss:

  • Loosely-Coupled IE: An architectural feature that helps isolate different parts of the browser from each other for smoother browsing performance.

  • Automatic Crash Recovery: A feature that is designed to get users back to browsing as quickly as possible after a crash.

  • Windows Error Reporting: A way for our customers to provide us with information to improve the reliability of Internet Explorer.
Loosely-Coupled IE

One of our most significant investments is in a feature called Loosely-Coupled IE (“LCIE”), which is an architectural attribute that helps isolate different parts of the browser from each other, most notably, the frames from the tabs. LCIE is the foundation that we have built a few of our features on including Automatic Crash Recovery of which I expand on below.

If you haven’t already read about what we started in Beta 1, I would encourage you to read my first post which covers how we isolated the frame window, which roughly corresponds to the “chrome”, from the tabs by putting them in their own separate processes so that a tab can now crash without bringing down the rest of your browser.  Visually, this separation would look like the following, with the frame area highlighted and the tab area dimmed:

IE8 Frame Highlight

Building on Beta 1, we have continued to develop LCIE in IE8 Beta 2 to further improve reliability and performance.

For Beta 2, we added the following changes:

Frame Process Merging

To help improve startup performance, we have  reduced the number of processes that we start. Instead of firing up two processes every time you launch the browser (one for the frame and one for your tabs), we now only fire up one frame process the first time you launch IE. Subsequent launches will only start a new tab process or make a new tab in an existing tab process.

For users that are accustomed to browsing websites in multiple “sessions”, for example if you want to log in to multiple email sites simultaneously, you can specify the “-nomerge” command line option to disable this feature.

More tab processes

It turns out that the vast majority of all IE sessions contain three or fewer tabs. Accordingly, in Beta 2 we try to give users three efficient tab processes.  This is contingent on the user’s computer capabilities, but the more capable a computer is, the more processes we will use, up to a point. Adding more processes gives users much better isolation in the event of a failure. If each tab is in its own process, websites are completely isolated from each other.

Virtual tabs

We have also added the internal capability to “hot swap” the process from underneath a tab. Previously, Protected Mode worked on a per-process basis. For example, say you add a website to your trusted sites in IE7. If that site links to another site that is not in your trusted sites, it will cause you to switch browser windows when you click the link.

We improved this in IE8 Beta 1 with LCIE when we split the frame from the tabs. With the split we can create a new tab in the same window and switch you to that tab as opposed to being “punted” to a new window. 

Virtual tabs lets you navigate across Protected Mode in the same tab since we just switch the process under the tab to the correct integrity level. This is really just “UI-sugar” – virtual tabs do not impact security or protected mode in any way, other than to make it more convenient to transition between protected mode on/off.

LCIE’s capability of isolating different parts of the browser coupled with more tab processes and virtual tabs will improve the performance and overall reliability of Internet Explorer.

Automatic Crash Recovery

In the event of a crash, Automatic Crash Recovery is designed to get you back to browsing as quickly as possible. It uses LCIE’s tab isolation to help localize the failure to your tab. If you experienced a crash in Beta 1, you may have noticed this bubble:

IE8 Frame Highlight
This is the “tab recovery experience” – the failure has been confined to your tab. Your browser never goes away and we get you back to the site pretty quickly.

What’s happening behind the scenes is that we are keeping track of an array of information about your tab. In Beta 1, the following data about each tab was stored: 

  • Current URI
  • The travel log (your back/forward history)
  • Tab order
  • Which tab was active

When you crash, we tear down the old tab process, create a new tab process and recover the stored data back into the tab. For many website this works well; however, there are other websites, such as sites with web forms, or sites that you need to login to, that we didn’t recover successfully.

In Beta 2, we improved this further by adding:

Session cookies

Session cookies are often used for authenticating the user to a website. Session cookies are temporary cookies that only persist for the lifetime of your browsing session. When you login to a website, they usually give you a session cookie that contains a unique token that identifies you while you are logged in. As you navigate around the website, IE sends your session cookie to the site, and the site can examine this token and determine that you are authenticated. Unlike persistent cookies, they are not written and retained on your hard disk.

In IE8 Beta 2, we recover your session cookies too  and  still do not write them to disk! We store copies of them in the frame process. When your tab crashes, we just copy them back from the frame into the tab, and the user is automatically logged back into the site they were using (i.e. webmail, blog sites, social sites).

Note that session cookie recover only takes place for tab crashes.  If the whole browser crashes, the session cookies are lost, however we do expect that the overwhelming majority of crashes to be isolated to the tabs, as most crashes are caused by malfunctioning add-ons, which are now isolated to a tab process.

Form data

We can now recover your form data. If you typed information, such as an email, blog post, comments, into an HTML form, we can now recover that information.

Leveraging LCIE’s tab isolation allows Automatic Crash Recovery to quickly restore the user to their browsing session without having to log back in to their sites or re-enter new data into forms.  Combined, LCIE and Automatic Crash Recovery provide a really innovative and graceful way to recovery from crashes.

Windows Error Reporting (aka Watson)

In the event of a crash or a hang, you may have received a choice to “send information to Microsoft”. You may be wondering what we do with this information.

The short answer is that we look at it every day. We take each report seriously because this data is extremely important to us. Not only can we determine what is causing issues, in aggregate, but we can determine the specific issues that are affecting the most people, and actually fix them.

If IE crashes or hangs and you choose to send information, Windows Error Reporting does some work to collect information about the state of the program when it crashes or hangs. We can see what add-ons are loaded and what IE was doing when it crashed. To the coders in the audience, it sends a call stack along with a memory dump. If you’re writing an application for Windows, or an Internet Explorer add-on, you can get Watson data about your own application and use it to improve quality.

Windows Error Reporting is smart enough to collect similar problems into “buckets”, which are usually lots of instances of the same underlying problem. If the problem lies in IE code and it is encountered frequently, we fix it. In IE8, we recognize that the most important failures that we can fix are ones that are out there happening on users’ machines. We have even committed to fixing the top 50% of all Watson hits in IE (including issues that may have carried over from IE7).

Microsoft goes to great lengths to protect privacy when customers submit error reports.  When an error occurs, a report is generated with the minimum amount of data needed to check for a solution.  This report does not contain any personal information and customers are asked before any information is sent back to Microsoft.  Microsoft also does not track error reports back to an individual — unless that individual chooses to track an error report to find out if a solution has been found for the error.  Even then, Microsoft developers working with the data cannot identify the customer and will request further information only if additional contact is needed to solve the problem. 

Get Ready for Beta 2

LCIE, Automatic Crash Recovery and  a good deal of bug fixing has helped make IE8 Beta 2 a browser you can depend on. When IE8 Beta 2 is released, I encourage you to check it out!

Andy Zeigler
Program Manager
Reliability and Privacy

Comments (122)

  1. Garry Trinder says:

    I installed BETA 1 on my computer but too many bugs.. even worse then I unistalled it did not do it properly. Is there uninstall procedure I have to follow?

  2. Eduardo Valencia says:

    Well…those changes are welcome,but how about memory leaks,faster webpage rendering? i have the fact that IE is the slowest of all broswers

    Any further improvements in IE8 Beta 2?

  3. Kristen [MSFT] says:

    @ VSTS

    Please see the IE blog post: http://blogs.msdn.com/ie/archive/2008/03/13/installing-ie8.aspx

    for instructions on how to uninstall IE8

  4. ie8 says:

    OK This is all very nice but where the link to try these new features out? 🙂

  5. Eduardo Valencia says:

    Could you add this features?:

    -Merge multiple separate IE Windows into tabs and viceversa with a simple button.

    -Download manager

    Is it possible Microsoft?

  6. 8675309 says:

    download & run windows advisor beta from ms connect since they have been offering reg patching for ie to improve speed performace

  7. 8675309 says:

    just to say WER doesnt always link to proper prog. updates

  8. 8675309 says:

    Eduardo Valencia your suggestion about a download manager i belive was already answered in the recent ie chat & they have one for ms connect web site

  9. jon.pdx says:

    My complaint about computing today is that there’s too much multi-tasking these days.  It seems like I click on something, but my computer is too busy doing all those background tasks to respond!  It seems to me that there needs to be more priority on the user’s focus; but then again, I would say that three tabs would be quite low for what I usually have open.

  10. GU says:

    "More tab processes" I’ve ask for that feature before and it’s finally making it. “tab recovery experience” is a good idea. Will IE 8 going to have a undo last close tab?

  11. GU says:

    Is IE 8 Beta 2 the last beta? or will have more beta to come.

  12. GU says:

    I’m using dial-up and Firefox 3 is really fast at loading website. Will IE 8 load website much faster?

  13. Stifu says:

    I like how the information bubble after a crash recovery pins the blame on the website rather than on IE. Especially since you said "Users are not as concerned with what causes the problem, whether that be a poorly functioning add-on or poorly performing website." just before.

  14. Win says:

    Awesome work guys! Keep it up! 😀

  15. We really need some more features in IE 8. An integrated download manager is good but not required as now we have IE Pro 2.3 which provides all the features IE 8 was lacking compared to other browsers. What we need & what MS should pay attention is to the rendering engine of Internet Explorer. A complete overhaul of Trident is essential now to bring us speed & stability with the current web standards. IE "software" for Windows is already at a nice state but the rendering engine isn’t.

    Microsoft should acquire IE Pro & integrate it’s features in Internet Explorer itself.

  16. Noel Grandin says:

    Instead of your limiting processes, and thus flexibility, the correct answer is to tell the existing process to do a clone() – provided the OS implements decent COW semantics for processes, you will consume very little extra memory and starting new IE processes should be very fast.

    Starting new tab processes should similarly be quick by clone()’ing an existing process and resetting it’s state.

  17. D says:

    i still have sites which go horribly wrong with IE8, while FF doesn’t have a problem.. the sites;

    http://www.abnamro.nl

    http://www.leasetrader.nl

  18. Almost every new post here promises extremely nice features in the next release of the IE. For me the new browser crystallizes into some sort of a user’s/webmaster’s dream. The only problem being is if it really will implement all those feature and at such a quality level that we are promised.

  19. Pfff says:

    What for ? No, seriously, I mean what the point about all this ? Shouldn’t you improve the rendering engine in first place ?

    3 tabs only ? You can’t be serious.

    I use browser tabs on a daily basis, and it is always closest to 10 tabs than 3 tabs. If you can’t get a stable browser with 10+ tabs open, then you better give it up.

    You have lost the browser war.

  20. Haja says:

    Wait – so you’re running everything in the same process now, but we can use "nomerge" if we want to *use email* !?

    WTF!?

    Assuming I’ve misinterpreted anyway, this seems like a net reduction in reliability at the expense of improved perception of performance.

    The unit of failure is still going to be a crashed/compromised process isn’t it? So how does running separate browser instances (previously separate processes) in the same process help again?

  21. Monty says:

    I don’t like the idea of having a popup notification tell me when a tab has recovered, I can see that it has returned and that’s all that matters. Please stop going overboard with the notifications, it’s one of the most annoying things about using IE. It’s especially apparent in the IE Developer Toolbar.

    Off topic: why haven’t you mentioned on the blog that IE8 final will be released this year? http://arstechnica.com/journals/microsoft.ars/2008/07/24/internet-explorer-8-final-to-arrive-by-the-end-of-2008

  22. PatriotB says:

    @Noel Grandin — the Windows process model (for better or worse) is quite different than Unix’s… There is no fork/clone capability.

    @Pfff — Yes, 3 tabs is plenty for the average user.  Readers of IEBlog are not considered "average users."

  23. Andreas L says:

    Still hitting that "Emulate IE7" button I see.

  24. fr says:

    I suspect the 3 tab average comes from a lot of users not using any tabs because they don’t really know about them or understand the benefit.  Therefore it is not be an accurate indication of the number of tabs that people who do use them will use.

  25. It sounds like some good work is going on in Beta 2 but PLEASE tell me you mean IE will open separate THREADS for tabs? Seriously nothing is more spooky then seeing the same process in Task Manager two or more times. I’m actually legitimately using about forty processes right now (while most systems I clean have 70 and only legitimately use about 25 if THAT).

    This is the first time in my life that I’ve ever had anything to look forward to in August. 😉

  26. Evil Dr R says:

    So Microsoft are going to the Nth degree to recover from crashes…

    Why not go to the Nth to stop IE crashing in the first place?

  27. Ken Schaefer says:

    @John A. Bilicki III

    A process is a boundary (security and otherwise) in Windows, not a thread. A thread is just there to do work (i.e. be scheduled on a CPU). Having a tab tied to a thread would just be a waste of OS resources – most tabs don’t do anything for most of the time. Unless you have two tabs that need to do two thing simultaneously, then one thread would be sufficient to service "n" tabs (where n can be anything from 1 to infinity)

    I’m not sure why you think that seeing the same process twice in Task Manager is disconcerting. Clicking the IE icon on the desktop or Quick Launch bar will start iexplore.exe in a new process – and you can have >1 iexplore.exe process. The same way that double-clicking most program’s icons will start a new process. That’s normal behaviour.

  28. Ken Schaefer says:

    @Evil Dr R

    I’m pretty sure that Microsoft fixes bugs in IE that cause crashes. They do collect a lot of data via WER/Dr Watson. On the other hand, their is continual pressure to add support for new features and new standards (requiring parser updates), and more code means new bugs – nothing new there.

    The other issue is 3rd party code (add-ons, BHOs etc). Since they all run in-process, they can access the same memory and objects that your iexplore.exe process can. If they corrupt something, or crash, then so does IE.

  29. sounds good says:

    Hmm, well this all sounds good… apart from the 3 tab thing. I typically have 12-15 in each of 2-3 IE windows (Ditto for Firefox) but I guess I’m not average 😉

    Anyway, we are looking forward to Beta 2 and can’t wait for the rendering, DOM, JavaScript and CSS improvements.  Being able to use "javascript:" on the about:blank page again will be such a relief! This was the goofiest blunder in IE7.

    Is there any chance that Favorites have also been fixed so that we can store a URL/Bookmarklet that is more than 500 characters?  It goes hand-in-hand with the fix for "javascript:" urls on about:blank so that we can use our Bookmarklets again.

    Can’t wait!

  30. IE 8 fan says:

    three tab process doesn’t mean that you can use only thee tabs..It says that three different process are going to handle these tabs so that it would be comfortable for the users to work fast with tabs…

  31. 8675309 says:

    i read about the Mojave Experiment. what it is is a blind taste test of xp vs. vista. they should do this for ie eg. ie vs. Opera or FF taste test

  32. bob e says:

    My IE8 installation did not go well.  I get a Flash error and the browser shuts down instantly.  It is on a Vista Premium machine.  Look forward to beta 2.

  33. Ted says:

    @bob e: Start IE without add-ons, then remove Flash and install a later version.

    @sounds good: I don’t know why you think they’re going to change it to allow running script from about:blank?

    @IE 8 fan: Correct; more than 3 tabs works fine, it’s just that each tab process will have multiple tabs.  

    @ken: is correct.  buggy 3rd party addons are the top cause of IE crashes

    @haja: you’d only need to use nomerge if you wanted to log into the same mail site using multiple sets of credentials in the same IE instance.

  34. Ted says:

    Monty– "IE8 this year" announcement was at a financial analysts conference.  beyond the fact that the business guys aren’t the engineers, the fiscal year runs june to june.  so so far, all we know is the biz guys think ie8 will be out b4 jul 2009.

  35. Drake says:

    @Ted–You have your months right, but your years wrong. Microsoft’s fiscal year 2008 ran from Jul 2007 to Jul 2008. So fiscal year 2009 is already upon you. Those financial analysts intended what they said in terms of our natural year 😉

  36. Kamil Szmit says:

    According to me, Internet Explorer should have Download Manager, which alows to resume downloads. Download Manager do not catch all downloads and downloading large files by Internet Explorer is hard.

  37. Parimel says:

    Most users want their browser to work, ***recover smoothly after a crash***, and display the Web correctly

    >>>>>

    Most users do NOT want the browser to crash when trying to recover from a crash. I have not installed IE8(and don’t plan to until RTM), but I have a feeling this will happen.

    A process is a boundary (security and otherwise) in Windows, not a thread. A thread is just there to do work (i.e. be scheduled on a CPU). Having a tab tied to a thread would just be a waste of OS resources – most tabs don’t do anything for most of the time. ***Unless you have two tabs that need to do two thing simultaneously***, then one thread would be sufficient to service "n" tabs (where n can be anything from 1 to infinity)

    >>>>>

    One of the main purposes of the tab is to do things simultaneously!

    I can have a tab opened which auto refreshes(watching e-Bay, watching sports scores etc) and do my other stuff in another tab.

    Do not try to justify the poor "Process model" for 1 Tab=1 Process.

    —-

    I’m not sure why you think that seeing the same process twice in Task Manager is disconcerting.

    >>>>>>

    ha ha…

    Open Task Manager and look for "svchost.exe" under Processes. Try to kill an offending dll. I bet you can spot is very easily!

    Do me a favor. Open Firefox and open any number of tabs. Then open Task Manager and tell me how many firefox.exe entries you see there.

    If I see 3 IEXPLORE.exe (that’s the most you offer), I know *exactly* which one to kill!

  38. Daniel says:

    "a problem with this webpage caused IE to to close and re-open"

    ^^ thats a little harsh don’t you think? Perhaps we could reword it so the user knows IE was to blame, NOT the website.

  39. GU says:

    when user experience a browser tab crash it will show a balloon notification. Why did you choose to display a pop-up balloon notification instead of the information bar? Did you notice any performance issue or memory leak when a tab is recovered?

  40. Timothy Fries says:

    >>Do me a favor. Open Firefox and open any number of tabs. Then open Task Manager and tell me how many firefox.exe entries you see there.

    Do me a favor.  Tell me what happens to all those tabs when any one of them has a plugin on it that misbehaves and makes the browser crash.

    Do me another favor.  Tell me how you’re supposed to protect sensitive data, such as online banking, open in one tab, when another tab running in the same process exploits a vulnerability in Flash that allows it to read process data arbitrarily.

    Using a separate process as a reliability and security boundary has been a sound architectural practice for decades.  Unix is built around the idea.  Why does it suddenly become a bad thing just because Microsoft does it?   Because you don’t know how to use the tools at your disposal to tell one svchost.exe process apart from another one?

  41. IE8 beta1 crashes very frequently. Even it quits normally, there are some ghost processes left. I hope beta2 can fix these critical issues. And the rendering performance seems to be a big challenge to IE now. Firefox and Opera render page much more faster. This could be a major reason for switching to other browsers.

  42. Vilius says:

    @John: they should still open separate process. Because it is possible to kill different tabs from the Task Manager if something is wrong with particular tab.

  43. 8675309 says:

    the only task manager that i know of that you can kill hidden processes is the 1 from SysInternal

  44. Frame Process Merging

    How about adding an option "Share session cookies among tab processes" in addition to the "-nomerge" option?

    Another useful option would be something like this "Handle all cookies like session cookies. Do not save persistent cookies to disk." Some sites deliberately refuse to display if you only allow session cookies.

  45. @Pfff:

    With respect to the number of tab processes we create, getting to three is really just a goal, not a limitation. We have data that suggests that having three tab processes will give complete isolation in 95%+ of browsing sessions.

    The more capable your system is, the more processes we create, up to a point. It’s based on a curve. If you use 60 tabs at a time, we don’t want to create 60 tab processes, as the perf impact would be too severe. It’s a balancing act between performance and relability. For example, if you had 60 tabs open and we created 20 processes, we would co-locate 3 tabs in each process (60 tabs / 20 processes). If a single tab process failed, we would only have to recover 2 other tabs. The benefit of "perfect" isolation would not be worth the cost of 40 extra processes in most cases. It’s a case of diminishing returns.

    @Haja: No — your email will still work correctly. 🙂 There are however some power users who have noticed a side-effect of clicking the blue ‘e’ to start IE vs. opening a new window from an exisiting IE. In IE7, you can log in to two (or more) instances of the same email service by cilcking the ‘e’, as this launches IE in a new process with a new set of networking context (i.e. session cookies). We added the -nomerge switch for power users who would like to be able to do this with IE8.

    On your second question, there are two types of IE8 processes — "tab processes", which contain the rendering engine, extensions, etc., which is most of the browser, and "frame processes", which manage certain parts of the IE chrome and nav functions. "Frame merging" still isolates tabs (which are most of the browser) into their own processes — it just cuts down on overhead a bit.

    @fr:

    That’s correct — the "three tabs" figure includes all users, not just the ones who know about tabs. Another consideration is that a lot of users who use tabs click on links from email and other apps, which figure into this as well.

    @Evil Dr R:

    We’re also "going to the Nth" to reduce crashes in the browser as well. One issue here is that ~70% of all IE crashes are caused by IE add-ons, and there is less we can do to fix those crashes vs. ones in IE code.

  46. The reason one needs to use processes rather than threads to achieve robust isolation is that if, say, an access violation occurs, the *process* goes down, not just the thread that triggered the AV.

  47. PH says:

    @Haja: No — your email will still work correctly. 🙂 There are however some power users who have noticed a side-effect of clicking the blue ‘e’ to start IE vs. opening a new window from an exisiting IE. In IE7, you can log in to two (or more) instances of the same email service by cilcking the ‘e’, as this launches IE in a new process with a new set of networking context (i.e. session cookies). We added the -nomerge switch for power users who would like to be able to do this with IE8

    >>>>>

    Surely this is not a "Power User" requirement. I have a Hotmail (or other) account, my wife has a Hotmail account. We both fire up a different browser session to access our emails and, if I understand correctly, unless we use the -nomerge switch one of us will be logged off. This is going to confuse a hell of a lot of "NON-Power Users"!

  48. Ted says:

    @PH: You and your wife are both logged into Hotmail using the same Windows User account… at the same time??

  49. PH says:

    @PH: You and your wife are both logged into Hotmail using the same Windows User account… at the same time??

    >>>>>

    Yes, if the PCs on and either of us want to access our emails we’ll just fire up a IE and login. This is a home PC we’re talking about and the usage is so casual so we don’t bother with different User accounts.

    If you think this is unusual then I’d think again.

  50. Anonymous says:

    Myself, I get irritated having to re-login to email every time I launch a new frame.  Under firefox, session cookies cross window boundaries, so that’s not an issue, since firefox long ago decided that the performance gain of having everything balled into one process was worth it compared to having separate processes.

    I think this also is not unusual.  I don’t have data on this to prove it, but my gut suggests that my use-case is more usual than yours.  I admit I could be wrong on this, though.

    The nomerge option allows you to retain your behaviour if that is what you prefer (and if you’re reading ieblog, you’re pretty much a power-user capable of editing your shortcut to contain "-nomerge").  Or you can click to sign out of the old account about as quickly as you can click the blue e to open a new frame :), although then you have to re-login every time you switch seats.  It’s definitely only power-users that want to *simultaneously* use different accounts on the same webmail service.

  51. Shawn Woods, Microsoft says:

    I’ll try to clarify based on some of the comments.

    Each tab runs in its own thread, no matter which process it runs in; tabs are concurrent. The same is true for each frame (window with a collection of tabs). This is true for IE7 as well as IE8.

    The "average number of tabs used in an IE session" is 3 tabs but this has nothing to do with how many tab processes IE8 will put your tabs into. By default, IE will decide how many tab processes to use based on how many tabs you start and how much memory is available on your machine; more tabs and/or bigger machine, you will get more tab processes. The algorithm is balancing between system resource consumption and minimizing the number of tabs that share a tab process so you lose less if a tab in that process crashes it. Beta2 will have configuration options for power users to pretty much do what they want.

    The Windows process is indeed both a reliability and security boundary. IE7/IE8 use that boundary to provide Protected Mode; IE8 uses that boundary to increase reliability of your overall browsing experience, even if a particular process crashes because of a Microsoft or 3rd party bug. This is a general architectural direction that IE may be able to build on in the future.

    The majority of current IE users do not try to (or understand that they can) log into the same site concurrently with different credentials. They often "click the Blue E" just to get another window (many don’t even use tabs). There is a performance cost in IE7 when "clicking the Blue E" because it had to start a new IE session. IE8 is more flexible and allows the user signal their desire for a new, independent session via the "-nomerge" command line switch. sing this, power users can create as many indpendent sessions (and concurrent log-ins) as they would like. IE8 defaults "clicking the Blue E" to not create a new session to optimize for the majority of users that doesn’t understand and therefore cannot specify their intention. There are configuration options for power users to change the default, as well as the -nomerge command line switch.

  52. Eduardo Valencia says:

    EricLaw [MSFT]

    Give us the Download Manager a much requested feature since IE6 please!

    Thank you for listening!

    Eduardo Valencia

  53. Shawn Woods, Microsoft says:

    @PH

    We welcome feedback on the use of different IE sessions, including how many people use them, for what reason, and how easy the feature is to use/control/understand.

    @Viktor Krammer

    IE8 will share session cookies across the different tab processes of each IE session. Therefore if you log into a site in a tab in one tab process, you will also be logged into that site in a tab in a different tab process "for the same IE session".

    If you start a different IE session using the -nomerge switch, session cookies will not be shared between the tabs of that session and any other sessions. Your new sesssion tabs won’t already be logged into the site you logged into in your other session.

    Note cookie sharing occurs between tabs at a given integrity level. We don’t share between ProtectedMode and non-ProtectedMode because that is a security risk.

  54. anony.muos says:

    Please add:

    – Merging multiple separate IE windows into tabs and vice versa with a simple button.

    – Dragging and dropping a tab from one window to another

  55. Shawn Woods, Microsoft says:

    @Anonymous

    In IE6 and IE7, the control-N key and the menu File->NewWindow option will create a new window in the same IE session and share cookies across that session. Clicking the blue E in IE6/IE7 usually created a new session.

    In IE8, all of these will create a new window in the current IE session. Starting IE8’s iexplore.exe binary with the -nomerge command line switch will start a new window in a new, unique session.

  56. Shawn: One quick clarification.  A Windows Process is <i>NOT</i> a security boundary using the normal use of the phrase "security boundary".

    Windows (and *nix) does not provide any security guarantees between multiple processes in the same user account, there’s simply too much shared state between the processes to enforce such a boundary.

    UAC is also NOT a security boundary, Mark Russinovich has written several articles about that, including this one: http://blogs.technet.com/markrussinovich/archive/2007/02/12/638372.aspx

    UAC <i>is</i> a security feature that helps raise the bar against malware but it should NOT be considered a security boundary.

  57. Shawn Woods, Microsoft says:

    @LarryOsterman

    Yes, I apologize for being loose with terms. The strict industry definition of a "boundary" is a theoretically impenetrable wall. The Windows process is neither a theoretical security boundary nor a theoretical reliability boundary within a logon session. It is a practical boundary of varying degree, greater than running tabs in different threads within the same process.

  58. IEwin says:

    IE 8 final should have "Retry" button… Firefox has this function and it helped me very much when sometimes "network is down" (Ex: When Writing Blog, Wikipedia,…). IE doesn’t have this and I can only press "Refresh" button… And I lost my data!!

    Please do have!

    A spell checking is recommended!

    Acquire "IE Pro" is the best idea/way to fight Firefox!

  59. Dennis says:

    Niy ma leko 🙁 Ie je do dupy i tela woma powiam.

  60. Fin says:

    "A problem with this website caused IE to close and reopen the tabs" the bubble said.

    Always the webmaster’s problems and not of Microsoft’s? Does the word "self-examination" ever have its place in Microsoft’s dictionary?

    Way to go, M$!

  61. IE 8 fan says:

    I know basic about programming…

    Please Ignore this if i am !!! WRONG !!!….

    cant u use try..catch statement for the whole tab programming so that even if it get any prob it informs the user and reload the tab automatically …. so that the tab wont crash at all..

  62. Richard Fink says:

    Thanks for the info about what’s going on "under the hood" to make IE more resilient.

  63. jemiller says:

    Does anyone know if Microsoft is implementing IE in .NET now? Or is it still the COM crap…

  64. Rasheed187 says:

    OK, this is cool and all, and I hope a browser but what we need to have is the "fit to width" and "instant back/forward" (navigating) features, as seen in Opera. When will the IE8 team implement this stuff?

  65. firefox user says:

    How good the IE is in Acid3 browsertest?

  66. eM says:

    With the improvements to recovering a crashed tab, will IE8 also offer an means by which the user can re-open a closed tab ("undo close")?

  67. Marius says:

    I’m curious about the IE8 performance. Because in this moment it’s on last place. Safari ( Webkit) still outperforms anything out there. It’s really funny to see that Safari is 10-20x faster than IE, although safari has no auto recovery etc…

    Would like to see IE8 performance at it’s best.

    My priorities of a browser

    Web Site compatibility

    Security

    Performance

    Features.

    I’m a ussual user not a web developer (windows apps devel) and i bet that moust users out there will like to see performance

  68. 8675309 says:

    if you dont know but most performance is geared on if you use dialup, dsl or cable also if your using proxies or not and if you use wifi or wired depending on which wired your using (phn, home plug, or strait up ethernet)

  69. Joshbw says:

    "I’m curious about the IE8 performance. Because in this moment it’s on last place."

    Well, IE 8 specifically is still in mid-development.  Optimization is usually the last task, as running profilers is pointless during code churn.  That said, IE will never be the fastest while compatibility remains a top requirement.  Too many corporate internal sites are written using quirky early IE behavior and Microsoft would be crucified if they ever turned their back on these customers.  Because of that they can’t pair down and just have one strict standards mode, but need to keep several legacy rendering modes around.  Those create overhead which will kill performance.

    "cant u use try..catch statement for the whole tab programming "

    I am sure they use exception handling but I think you miss the point of the technique.  Exception handling is to inform you of a problem so you do not continue processing while the application is in an unknown state.  Exception handling is not exception recovery; if you are informed of minor problems you may have an alternate course of action you can take, but for many situations there may be no recourse.  It also doesn’t help you at all if external code is stomping all over your process, and as upwards of 70% of crashes are because of plugins that is highly likely.

    The only fix for that is some method of plugin isolation, which considering the level of integration plugins have, would be a sisyphean task.

  70. Geld Lenen says:

    Wow, looks like IE8 is steadily building out to a great browser. Keep up the good work!

  71. anony.muos says:

    I had typed a complex search query into the IE8 beta 1 search box when it suddenly crashed. After the crash, it didn’t recover the text from the search box. Can you add this minor feature?

  72. Steve H says:

    "Does anyone know if Microsoft is implementing IE in .NET now? Or is it still the COM crap…"

    Ha! Do you honestly think a web browser could be be written in managed code, and still have great performance!?

    That’s almost as rediculous as writing a SQL client like management studio in C-sharp… oh wait…

  73. Hi,

    This is a feature that is causing serious annoyance for me personally and maybe a lot of other users too and I hope it gets changed back to how it was before IE7 or if not make it an option that can be turned off: Opening a different window based on the security zone, e.g. local vs. online.

  74. Ted says:

    RK… Uh, did you READ the article?  In IE8, both Protected mode and non-Protected mode pages will both open in the same frame.

  75. Whoops sorry no, I missed that. Great!

    Also there is usability issue with tabs that I have noticed with IE7. As an example lets say you have Google on tab 1 and tab 2 has Yahoo mail open. When you do a search in tab 1, which is currently focussed, and then open a search result in a new tab, this tab becomes tab 2 and Yahoo mail becomes tab 3. When you focus on tab 2 (search result) but then close it, the focus actually goes to tab 3 (Yahoo mail) and not tab 1 (Google search results). This forces the user to manually select tab 1, which is not ideal.

  76. EricLaw [MSFT] says:

    @R.K.: Want to go back to the prior tab when closing a tab?  

    Click the "Use most recent order when switching tabs option" on the Tools | Internet Options | Advanced dialog.

  77. 8675309 says:

    did you hear that apple left the dns issue alone but the other day they issued a patch to fix it. what a buch of lossers there presious apple left there computers wide open for an attack for several months

  78. 8675309 says:

    off topic

    did you also hear MS Games division might cut prices on all XBox 360 models some time in the fall/winter. example price arcade bundle would be 199.99

  79. My favorite links from the last week – 1st Week of August 2008

  80. Shawn Woods, Microsoft says:

    @eM "re-open last closed tab"

    Have been considering this.

    @someone "recover search box content"

    Will consider it, thanks for pointing it out.

    @R. K. Wijayaratne "open cross-IL tabs in same frame"

    This was in IE8 Beta1. IE8 Beta2 will keep you in the same virtual tab (not even force a new tab).

  81. dewey says:

    i’m confused. is there a three tab limit or is ie optomized for three tabs. a three tab limit is a bad idea!

  82. EricLaw [MSFT] says:

    @dewey: There’s nothing to worry about; there’s no limit to the number of tabs.

    IE is not "optimized" for only 3 tabs, per se.  The 3-processes aspect of this is an internal implementation detail that you’ll never notice unless you go looking for it.

  83. Vektor says:

    >> Or is it still the COM crap…

    They have to support this "innovation" somehow…

    >> Does anyone know if Microsoft is implementing IE in .NET now?

    Not before they rewrite .NET in .NET. To respect the tradition, new versions should be slower than older versions.

    About the error reporting, http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/isv/bb190483.aspx -> https://winqual.microsoft.com/ – Opera says,

    Site not secure

    The connection to winqual.microsoft.com is not secure, and should not be used to exchange sensitive information.

    The following problem(s) were found:

      The certificate is not signed by a trusted authority.

  84. x says:

    This has to be done gradually. Now it’s "Automatic Crash Recovery". Next, it has to be written in java and after a few months to make it in .net. By that time .net framework will be rewritten in java so they’ll use that one.

    What’s next? "Secure managed code" or "managed managed code".

    "Microsoft goes to great lengths to protect privacy when customers submit error reports.  When an error occurs, a report is generated with the minimum amount of data needed to check for a solution.  This report does not contain any personal information and customers are asked before any information is sent back to Microsoft.  Microsoft also does not track error reports back to an individual — unless that individual chooses to track an error report to find out if a solution has been found for the error."

    Does that minimum amount of data contain addresses of visited websites? Does it contain data entered in forms? Does it contain information about all thread contexts and respective memory dumps? If one thread caused a page fault, is the error report limited only to the context of that thread? If i get a message on my e-mail with an exploit in it – is there a chance you can get my session cookies and my address in memory dumps? Or, perhaps the contents of some messages?

  85. Travis says:

    Instead of crash recovery, how about fixing the problems that causes the crashes.

    Thats the biggest problem with IE on Vista the internet explorer crashes all the time.

    Fix the crashing instead of coming up with a work-around (crash recovery)

  86. EricLaw [MSFT] says:

    @Travis: You might have missed this information in the comments above:

    More than 2 out of 3 IE crashes are actually caused by buggy addons.  The IE team is working with the vendors of common addons to help them improve the stability of their code, so please make sure you’re running the latest version.  You can pretty easily verify if a given crash is caused by a buggy addon by testing out the scenario in no-addons mode.  Please see http://www.enhanceie.com/ie/troubleshoot.asp#crash for help on how to do this.

  87. Dave says:

    x… the idea that Microsoft is going to write .net in java is so silly i assume you must be kidding…

    as for the "minimum amount of data" question, the answer is that the first report doesn’t contain much beyond the crashing address… if they need more info to debug, then you get a prompt that asks you to submit more data.  if you do that, then chunks of memory might be sent… the prompts are pretty clear about what data will be sent.  try it out…

  88. Ted says:

    vektor: its pretty clear that opera has some problems with certificate chain validation.  they don’t pull immediate certificates correctly.  note that the site works fine in all other browsers.

  89. Evelyn Rapp says:

    When you are using yahoo mail and go to move an email to a folder, you have a problem with the scroll box that says go. You click on go and go to scroll down to the folder that you want, but it goes back up to the beginning where it says inbox. I tried 8 times to move one email to a certain folder and it kept winding up in the wrong one. This needs to be fixed.  Also, when you don’t wait for the page to load, it crashes and greys out.  Can’t highlight, right click and copy on some web pages.  This is ie8 beta 2.  Will be sticking with ie7 unless this is fixed.

  90. Why don’t you please focus first on the renderer engine instead of security and reliability issues? i would be kindly appreciated by the developers community..

    it’s really frustrating to test css features (filters/box model/offsets/..) on 3 computers only to test the compatibility between ie6, ie7 and ie8!

    it was already a huge problem testing firefox, i.e., opera and safari.. now if you don’t support retro-compatibility we all must test every change we make with 6 browsers (not talking about mobile)!

    ..I just hope you at least read this comment.

  91. EricLaw [MSFT] says:

    @Evelyn: IE8 Beta 2 hasn’t shipped yet.

  92. Peter says:

    Do you intend to support the CSS overflow property for TABLE and TBODY elements in IE8? even if it is not strictly standardized would be a nice addition (e.g. FF supports is)

  93. 8675309 says:

    when are they going to port a ver. of IE thats standardized to Zune or XBox360?

  94. saran says:

    I think ie8 is a big mistake, it’s has layout problem with my several sites and it needs to be stopped….. how come everything is ok in ie6 and ie7 and suddenly layout is dancing like polar bear in ie8?

  95. quoted:

    "I think ie8 is a big mistake, it’s has layout problem with my several sites and it needs to be stopped….. how come everything is ok in ie6 and ie7 and suddenly layout is dancing like polar bear in ie8?"

    I feel like i have to agree.

  96. SPARTAN 869 says:

    Saran, IE 8 is standards compliant. This means that your site is designed wrong, IE 6 and 7 didn’t obey the rules, but IE 8 does, so now you have to redesign your site.

  97. I really think that IE8 is a step forward regarding usability, but I am more interested in creating websites than to watch them. So I took a look at IE8 specs for meta-tags and my first thought was "oh my god", more work again. I just don´t understand why there is such much inconsisteny over all the browsers. And saran and Giacomo, this is the answer to your questions.

  98. imhere says:

    can you please add a manager that we can set which websites URLs will work using the IE7 engine and which will use the IE8 engine?

    this way, even websites that don’t get updated to use the new IE8 engine, will still be seen as they would have been viewed via IE7 .

    it’s just that when i tested IE8 beta1 , it showed many websites in a very bad way.it also only had the IE7 button for use in the next session instead of the current one. it’s really irritating to switch between them. my suggestion is that once the user notices some kind of problem with the website, he could add the website URL to a list that the browser will render it using the older IE7 engine instead, and without restarting the sesstion.

    oh, and about buying new companies, i suggest buying maxthon,avant and IEpro. they are the best developers that use the IE engine and make the web browsers much better . avant is more about performance and stability. iepro is more about modules that run with IE . maxthon is more about features and customization.together, i believe microsoft can give a really good fight against FF,opera and safari.

    i also hope that if we are not happy with the IE browser, we could still use one of them and use the new IE8 engine, as it should be better than the IE7.

  99. Ted says:

    @Billigflug: You need to read more.  Write standards-compliant code and you don’t need to add any metatags.

    @imhere: Good idea on the per-site emulateIE7 list.  

  100. Leen says:

    I like the recovering session cookies which saves a lot of time. Looking forward to Beta 2.

  101. Devon says:

    I see huge potential in this browser, if Microsoft is willing to put some work into it. Yeah, it’s buggy, but it’s a first beta release. WebSlices are okay, and Activities are a feature I’ll definitely use. However, Microsoft, if you don’t get IE right this time, the browser wars are over. Now, there’s only 2 reasons as to why I use Firefox as my primary browser. They’re both pretty simple; security and speed. I’ve read that IE8 improves on security, which is a plus, but FF3 is faster, hands-down. The average user won’t be wondering all day about which browser is more secure, but speed is one they’re guaranteed to look out for, 99% of the time it’s obvious. Make IE more standards-compliant (I think on Acid3 a version of IE scored a 17? Firefox 71. Webkit nightly….100.), make the browser faster, and make it more secure. Not guaranteed you’ll convince FF users to switch back, but you might convince some IE users to say.

  102. Peter says:

    For what it’s worth I don’t like how FF3 handles this scenario (one session id for all FF instances) and also IE8, from what I understood here. The way IE7 works I believe it’s the best compromise and more intuitive for the "average user." Same session id for all the tabs, new session id for clicking the ‘e’ (new process). With our web application it’s quite common for the user to be logged in with different user ids — power users (of the application, not power users in general) that need to check on other users, so they login as them. This will create a lot of confusion.

  103. 8675309 says:

    like ive said before run windows advisor beta it will make ie7 @ least faster not sure about ie8 beta but its not the browser in some situations its if you are useing proxies or if your isp is just crappy it wont make much of a diff what browser ur using and if your a casual sufer eg. banking, forum chatting you dont need much custom options plus some ff distros options are overwhelming for the average user like detailed options which usually people shouldnt change but they do & then they crie & say its not working so then they have to start from scratch.

  104. IEBlog says:

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