User Experiences: Sites in the Spotlight

The web is changing rapidly. More than ever before, web sites provide highly engaging, immersive experiences that people revisit frequently (e.g., web email throughout the day) or stay on for extended periods of time (e.g., Facebook all day). From captivating media to highly interactive web games, from social networking sites to online productivity tools, sites enable people to do things that were previously not possible on the web. In turn, people spend the majority of their time (57%) on the PC on the web.

Our early design explorations and usability studies around Pinned Sites quickly revealed that focusing the browser on the site by reducing the amount of UI made the Pinned Site feature even more useful and desirable – developers have more flexibility in defining the experience and people using the feature are even more engaged in the beautiful, tailored sites. In fact, one of the questions that participants constantly asked in those early usability studies for the Pinned Sites was: “Have you guys considered minimizing the amount of UI for IE all the time?”

Windows Live Pinned site

When looking at our usage data on how many tabs people use, we realized that an overwhelming majority of IE sessions (time between a window open and close) only have a few tabs – over 97% of IE sessions have 5 or fewer tabs, and more than 90% of users have never had more than 8 tabs open simultaneously. These numbers are consistent even when we filter out short sessions and sessions without navigations. This data helped us realize that the tab row is mostly empty, most of the time, for a great majority of people browsing the web today.

Clicking the Back button, switching to another tab and navigating via the Address bar are 3 of the top 5 most frequent actions that people do in the browser. By combining tabs with the essential navigation functionality and a streamlined Tools menu into a single row of UI, IE9 reduces the amount of vertical screen real estate dedicated to the UI, saving even more room for the important content – sites.

IE9 browser with four tabs open

We understand that even though they represent a minority of people who use IE, there are a lot of people who consistently run IE with more than 5 tabs open. In fact, we suspect that most of the people reading this blog post have more than 5 tabs open right now :). In recognition of that, our tab layout algorithm dedicates more room to tabs by default at large screen sizes – at screen widths larger than 1280 pixels, tabs get 2/3 of the window width, and on widths smaller than 1280 pixels, tabs get 50% of window width:

IE9 at 1366 pixels wide - tabs get 2/3 of window width

IE9 at 1366 pixels wide – at resolutions wider than 1280 pixels, tabs get 2/3 of window width

IE9 at 1024 pixels wide – tabs get 50% of window width

IE9 at 1024 pixels wide – at resolutions narrower than 1280 pixels, tabs get 50% of window width

Also, you can control exactly how much space you have for tabs by dragging the border between the Address bar and tabs.

We optimized the browser to be great at the few commands we know the majority of people use, as observed through careful scrutiny of real-world usage data representing hundreds of millions of sessions and tens of millions of users worldwide. A reduction in the number of top-level commands is a reflection of that data. This change also recognizes the fact that modern sites already include a lot of functionality (like sharing or authoring tools) that a browser had to compensate for in the past.

The layout of those top-level commands was influenced by two primary factors – historical consistency and relative usage data. Back and Forward buttons occupy the left-most position that they have always occupied. The Back button is by far the most used command in IE and it has been enlarged to reflect that relative usage. You’ll also notice that the Back button is cut off at the bottom. As important as the Back button is, this visual treatment further reinforces our desire to have the UI “step out of the site’s way,” communicating through the button’s relative z-order (it is “behind” the site) that its importance is lower than the importance we place on the site itself. The cut off also creates some visual interest around the most important command in the UI.

We’ll go into the details of One Box changes and improvements in another post, but it is worth mentioning here that its position is historically consistent. The majority of people see the Address bar as inseparable from Back/Forward functionality and this design respects those expectations. Back, Forward and the Address bar all apply to the active tab and keeping them together also separates them from the tabs, reflecting two basic types of navigation that IE affords and that dominate its UI – navigating within the currently active tab or switching to another tab.

Home and the modified Tools menu are to the right of tabs, where they historically have been in previous releases. Favorites’ positioning between Home and Tools is a change from where the button showed up in the past. This largely reflects the overall desire to support efficient scanning patterns and group similar navigation functionality together. Specifically, Favorites’ being next to Home reflects the fact that both of these commands enable people to quickly navigate to the site(s) they have “bookmarked” in the past.

Favorites bar, Command bar and Status bar are not shown by default. However, they are accessible through customization:

Customization menu availble by right clicking the tab row

This design decision is consistent with the focus IE9 places on the experience of the site itself and is a reflection of the actual relative usage data for commands on the Favorite bar, Command bar and Status bar. For example:

  • 54% of people have 2 or fewer items on their Favorites bar (we ship with 2 by default); 99% of people have 0 folders on their Favorites bar.
  • The most used item on the Command bar is Favorites Center, clicked on by 30% of people, next is Home with 13%, and after that is Print with 4%. Everything else is lower than 4%. So we still surface at the top-level the most commonly clicked items in the Command bar.
  • The most commonly used item in the Status bar was “Select Preset Zoom” used by 1.6% of people. Setting the zoom level is now possible through the Tools menu, as well as through keyboard shortcuts (Ctrl+, Ctrl+0, Ctrl-).

All of these changes lead to a decrease in visual distraction from sites and a significant reduction in the vertical space that IE9 dedicates to its UI. Here is a visual comparison of the UI height in IE9 and few other browsers:

Vertical Pixel Space comparison

Vertical UI space is easy to measure and talk about. However, beyond decreasing the vertical UI space, the monochromatic icon treatment (based on the work and findings from the System Tray updates in Windows7) and a tight integration with Windows Glass in the title bar area helps sites to shine as well. These changes provide for a “quieter” frame, one that is not demanding attention. On a related note, by reserving the title bar space for a window drag action, we respect the basic usability expectations that Windows users have in terms of easy application/window management.

We are excited to ensure that in IE9 the spotlight is on sites more strongly than ever before. We are looking forward to Beta feedback and shipping a great user experience in IE9.

Mirko Mandic
Program Manager, Internet Explorer User Experience

Comments (183)
  1. Cavalary says:

    Well, right now as I'm reading this I have 4 tabs open, but earlier tonight I had some 15 at one point. At a screen width 1280, as I said before, the tabs absolutely MUST have their own row. (I can't even imagine how it'd be at 1024 or *gasp* 800!) Sure, put them there next to the address (now sole, very unfortunately!) bar by default if you want, so that large number of users you say hardly use many tabs won't need to bother with it, but at least allow the rest to move it on its own row, underneath the address.

    And in general, I'm more and more bothered by this trend going on for the past several years of dumbing every program down to the lowest common denominator. I think that if a program is not specifically designed to help/teach people with little to know computer knowledge, it should strive to make it ever easier for power users (so not "experts", who don't mind command-line stuff and editing configuration files and registry entries, or even mod code, at any moment of the day or night – those will always find a way to get what they want :)) to make the most of it (while of course not making the basic tasks noticeably more difficult for the average user), not just focus on "average and less" and setting the rest aside because they're too few to matter in the numbers game.

  2. Adrian says:

    Thanks for explaining your reasoning behind the UI changes.  Of course, since I'm an IT pro, I understand that many of these changes weren't targeted at me and so you aren't interested in what I would prefer.  There are two things that I don't like that I think all people will agree with though.  First, I don't like how there is no indication that the page is still loading.  The tab displays a spinner for a few seconds, then it stops, even if the page hasn't finished loading.  I think that spinner should continue until the page has finished loading, so I don't end up refreshing the page and interrupting the page loading.  The second thing I don't like is that the page title from removed from the title bar.  It is annoying to have to hover over a tab whenever I want to see the full title of the page.  I think the full title should be displayed in the blank area at the top of the window.  That will still allow the user to easily drag the window around, while filling the wasted space.

  3. CHOPPY Flash Video Playback in IE9 says:

    Has anyone else noticed how choppy Flash video playback has become in IE9? It's been bad for a long time, and the beta does not fix it. The video does not keep up with the audio track. The animation is not smooth.  Playback in Firefox and Safari is so much better. What happened?

  4. wai says:


    "the tabs absolutely MUST have their own row" +1

    at least there should be an option, instead of being forced by your own thinking and design

  5. @Adrian: There's a known bug with the donut stopping its spin prematurely in the beta build. I don't know if there's an existing Connect bug (see about the absence of the Title bar text but there have been quite a few comments on it.

  6. gkeramidas says:

    you also need a right click menu option, for the address bar, to pin the site to the taskbar. shouldn't have to drag it from the top of the screen all the way to the bottom.


    "the tabs absolutely MUST have their own row" +1

  7. Emil says:

    There is a point where no matter how wide my resolution (desktop or laptop), I have too many tabs, and they simply don't fit. Everyone I know that has tried the IE9 beta (and of course these are mainly geeks) agrees with me that IE9 needs to scale to this scenario. In other words, if I reach x tabs with resolution y open, IE9 should put tabs on one line. I understand your 97% telemetry data, but do not screw the remaining 3% of users, many of whom cannot/will not switch to a higher resolution.

  8. stl says:

    Where is classic menu bar? How can I get separated tab bar and address bar in two rows?

    I love IE8 style, not this beta version.

  9. badger says:

    I really like the IE9 UI. It's clean, simple, and usable. I like being able to pin sites and how the browser takes on the essence of the page.

    For sessions with few tabs, having the One Bar and tabs on the same line is a nice reduction in UI. However, I too get cramped when I use more than 8 or so tabs. While I'll admit, the average number of tabs per window in my sessions has decreased which helps mediate this problem to an extent, it's still occasionally an issue.

    However, where this problem more often resurfaces is when using Windows 7 Aero-Snap.  My machine runs at 1680×1050– a respectable resolution; one you yourself called "large."  When I snap a window to an edge of my screen, my window is now about 840px wide. Actually, it's less than that because of the added window frame when not maximized.  Yet, the window keeps its 2/3's reserved space for tabs, since I have a "large" resolution screen.

    In this scenario, the maximum number of readable/useful tabs I can have is about 4. Worse yet, the One Bar is now essentially unusable.  I can't see my entire URL nor any search term more than about a dozen characters. According to Google (and I'm sure Bing see's similar), the average length of search queries is on the rise. The drop down from the One Bar stays fixed at a length longer than One Bar itself in this situation–a situation that I and other users are likely to experience a *lot*! Not only is this a UI problem, it's also bad for security: you can't tell what URL you're on!

    This is yet another reason why having tabs on another line should be an available option. My favorite solution would be a compromise. Keep tabs on the same line as the OneBar. Further, the One Bar should never be allowed to shrink smaller than the min width of the drop down from it. Then, once the number of characters in the title of the tabs is below, say, 8 the tabs show move to below One Bar; giving both more room.

    We want UI to be as minimal as possible, but there is a point where it becomes unusable. Remember, you have an audience of like 1 billion people. So 10% of that is a large number nonetheless.

    Blog readers:  Go to Connect and click "I can too" (effectively voting up the bug) to make a case for putting tabs on a separate line. There's several bugs for this (some, imo, prematurely marked as By Design before people had time to chime in), but I've linked to one below for convenience.…/tab-bar-is-not-movable

    Finally, I'll also link to another bug for making a case to allow tabs to be dragged from a pinned site window to other windows. Currently you can only do this to another window that is of the same pinned-site. While I get the use case for this (keeping sites together), sites like email and such are prone to launching tabs that don't belong in that site's window. Furthermore, it's unnatural to novice users for some tabs to be draggable and others not.…/cant-drag-a-tab-from-a-site-mode-window-to-another-different-site-mode-window

  10. Aleksandr says:

    One more lie from IE – the story about vertical space is a total nonsense. Please, stop confusing people.  

    Did you try to maximize for example Chrome or Opera windows, before making screenshots?? In maximized mode (I believe most of users are using browser in this mode indeed) these browsers do not have that silly empty line as IE9 has. I thought IE9 has this empty title bar, because it's just a Beta, and in the future it will be made like Chrome (the very first browser abandoned a Title Bar). However instead of this IE now praising how cool this silly empty line is.

    The solution with combining Address Bar and Tab Bar – is а totally controversial. I do need a longer Address Bar and more space for opened tabs – and it's often needed more than vertical space. For example, in Opera – you can also combine all controls in Tab Bar and disable all other bars with ease. But you kinda will not need this. In IE9 you can not change almost anything regarding to UI.

    As about Status Bar – it also can be enabled/disabled almost in all modern browsers as in IE9.

  11. Don Reba says:

    I think I can understand why the decision to turn off plugins for pinned sites was made: to offer a more consistent experience and to load faster, but this makes the feature useless for me. I can't browse a site without gestures and ad block.

  12. davis says:

    @Emil – and it's not like 3% is some tiny number of users. Raymond Chen talked often about how a change impacting 1% of Windows users was still 1 million people (or more) and and so not something to be taken lightly.

    Yet here we are at three times that number and so far just rationalisations, no solutions. Did the 3% count as accepted casualties? If so that's a major change in Microsoft engineering practice.

  13. hdw says:

    The navigation controls Home,Back & Forward (Navigation controls) must be always grouped together . Why is the Home button on the right?

  14. lkessler says:

    Thank you for letting us in on your UI research. It's very interesting and I agree with most of what you have done.

    But, I would also vote for at least an option to move the tabs to its own row.  I always have lots of tabs open. Despite the stats, I'm sure you'll find a lot of people like me who use the wonderful right-click option: "Open in New Tab" for a half-dozen links on a page, and then I proceed to go through them, doing the same for the others. Well, that task is tedious when I can only see the names of the sites if there are 3 or fewer tabs available.

    I've got some other disagreements with your UI decisions, which I mentioned a day ago on another IEBlog entry. I won't repeat them here, but since you appear to be the main UI guy, I'll refer you to the comments in:…/user-experiences-accessibility-in-ie9-beta.aspx

    Keep up the innovation. Just be careful with the UI and remember that everyone is very familiar with what you have in IE8, which truthfully is quite good. Please respect the UI standards that Microsoft has built up over the years, and don't add anything that breaks them unless it is something new you are planning to implement across the whole Windows operating system. (Again see my comments in the other post for a good example – your replacement of the forward/back down-arrow).


  15. Max says:

    Please give an option for tabs to be on separate row.

    Window title should show web-page title.

    Add a page-load indicator. You can put it in address bar.

    I use one note and I need a button Send to One Note. Why should I add a separate row for one button?

    If you want to save space – make tabs and favorites bar thinner. And please delete this 2 or 3 pixel line between tabs and pages!!!

  16. Jody says:

    It is a pain to be in the minority.

    I have 42 tabs open right now in Firefox4 so some way to see those tab titles a bit easier would be useful. And as someone mentioned, 3% is an awful lot of people. Oh, and I have a 30" monitor at work and a 24" at home, and I never use the browser maximized.

  17. jumplists says:

    Okay so IE9 lets you pin a site to the taskbar but the taskbar will soon get crowded as I already have my apps there. How about also letting us pin individual sites/favorite URLs each as a jump list to the main IE icon? This would be analogous to pinning documents in Notepad.

  18. Greg says:

    What's going on when you drag a URL onto your desktop to create a shortcut?

    It removes the tab from the current window and put put it in a new window and creates an pinned style icon but the site is not actually pinned.

    I just wanted to create a shortcut back to the page for later viewing, but my browser tab layout / flow got all jacked up in the process.

    Hopefully this is another Beta issue and not the expected behavier.

    I'll reiterate the option for a separate tab row.

    Pinning and modifying sites on the "new tab" page is a must.

    My New Tab page at work will be ESPN, Reddit, Digg, IE Blog, Channel 9, etc.

    I need to be able pin at least some of my work sites first so I don't get fired!

    I guess there's always InPrivate, but you get what I'm saying.

    I also just realized that I can't spell and I don't yet have a spell checker for IE9.

    IE7 Pro was a great all-in-one solution for those who hate downloading a million add-ons.

    I hope there is an easy way for built-in add-on discover.

    Navigating independantly to a website is cumbersome.

    My parents won't be able to get any add-ons if they have to search for a website, then search for add-ons, then install them.

    They'd actually have a shot if they could click on an icon in the browser and be giving popular suggestions.

    Take some notes from Firefox on that one I guess.

  19. Andrew says:

    It's great to back up your changes with data, but there's not enough.  Are you talking about the percentage of IE users only?  How about InPrivate mode vs. regular?  Maybe the numbers are so low because tons of the people who use lots of tabs have defected to Firefox or Chrome.

    I'm getting somewhat used to "OneRow", but the OneBox is just to small.  I can't see my url and 10-15% of the space is taken up by icons (Favicon, Search, Drowpdown arrow).  Then you hit an https and veri-sign takes up space or you hit InPrivate and 25% of the space is taken up by the InPrivate icon.  You go on about how vertical space is important, but you have an entire row at the top of the window chrome that is empty.

    Maybe no-one uses the favorites bar because it has no polish.  I never used it until I tried out Chrome.  I couldn't get a bookmarks implementation similar to IE so I turned on their version of Favorites.  One-click access was awesome so now that I'm back I turn it on in IE.  It's robin-egg blue even though my aero color is dark grey.  When you click on a folder and mouse over the next folder over, it doesn't open and you have to double click to open the next folder.  There is no pixel space between the "buttons" so everything looks kind of crowded.

    Maybe if it had defaulted to contain the users actual favorites instead of 2 injected junk items it would have seen greater usage as well.

    I use middle-mouse to close non-active tabs but I can't see how the misssing X button is helpful to the average user.

    Chrome's "Paste and Go" is awesome.  Just do it.

    There's also a lot to like.  Pretty icons.  Speed.  Smooth scrolling.  Don't forget about the nerds with money that make browser reccomendations to their friends and families and IE9 might just be a hit.

  20. Greg says:

    I guess I get the open window chrome row at the top.  When the window isn't maximized you definitely need it to drag the window around.  Chrome pushes it's tabs down to do this when not maximized.

    If you don't have the open row at the top when maximized you'd either be giving up double click ability for a new tab or double click ability for windows restore down functionality because you can't have both on the same row.

    That is some pretty expensive real estate up there.  Like  Manhattan expensive.

  21. Tom says:

    I would be very happy if IE9 supports Webworker and Websocket.

  22. E says:

    I'm using Chrome so you're not getting my statistics but I accumulate tabs over time and usually when I start to hit somewhere around 25 I start closing them. When I'm forced to use IE8 (corporate environments, parents' computer) I usually go up to five or so and then usually IE8 just dies or I have another IE8 instance open because some popup decided to open into its entirely own window so that evens it out. "Less than five" has more to do with IE8's shortcomings than what people actually want to have.

    So as others have said, tabs need their own row.

  23. Stifu says:

    The Chrome screen is indeed misleading. As already pointed out in the comments, when maximized, the title bar gets hidden (or the tabs overlap it, as you prefer), and the UI takes less space than the one of IE9.

    I tend to give people the benefit of the doubt, but this can't possibly be an honest oversight. This is not the way to go. IE9 looks good enough as is, no need to try to mislead your users to make it look even better.

  24. Greg says:

    Obviously it wasn't an oversight, but they chose to show the products in the fashion that best accentuates their own…in a non-maximized windowed state. Nothing wrong with that.  With widescreens becoming prevalent less and less people are using browsers in a fully maximized state anyway.

    In a maximized state IE9 is roughly the same as Chrome in terms of vertical space.  

    In a windowed state IE9 crushes Chrome in vertical space.

  25. Justin L. says:

    Not to pick nits, but you may wish to replace the stray "J" and with a proper ":)".  (Search for "tabs open right now".)

  26. Mister Good Guy says:

    Please, never eliminate features based on these usage statistics. The folders in Favorites Bar are very useful for us geeks who want to control our "livemarks" (rss feeds) in a firefox-like way…….

    So it doesn't matter if 99% don't use it, remember that in a scale of millions 1% is very important!

  27. Mitch074 says:

    First: "the tabs absolutely MUST have their own row": +1

    Second: the title bar is empty, sitting here uselessly, wasting space. So, on one hand we have an overcrowded address bar (yes, I LIKE being able to read an URL, it's the basic location system all browsers provide, and IE's is cut off after the first 30 characters more or less), and on the other we have an empty line. And I need to hover a thing to get the page's title.

    Third: you decided to ape Firefox's Back/Forward buttons. Great idea. You could have gone all the way and integrated their History interface (the little arrow right next to the Forward icon) instead of doing things by half.

    In short, IE 9's interface may take 25% less vertical space than, say, Firefox or Opera. On the other hand, it cuts users off 60% of navigational data, and removes 40% of one-click features from the interface. Going through the ratios, keeping proportions, it means IE wastes 40% of available space. Which could be worked around if the interface was flexible: it's even more frozen than IE 7/8's (which, let me remind you, was the big negative point in those browsers compared with IE 6, which had a marvelously flexible interface).

  28. James says:

    Good article.

    But it is called the Notification Area, not the System Tray.

    (Raymond Chen to the rescue)…/54831.aspx

  29. Slugsie says:

    Count me in as another power/pro user who doesn't like the new interface. Even at 1920×1200 with 4 or 5 tabs open it feels cramped. I like to see the full address (as much as possible) in the address bar, I like to see the full title (as much as possible) in the tab. I've compared it side-by-side with the latest Firefox/Minefield build, and yes IE9 saves a small number of pixels, but Firefox is vastly more user friendly.

    The trend of dumbing down to a lowest common denominator at the expense of customisability for those of use that know what we're doing must stop.

    Please please please let us have the option of moving the tabs onto a separate line. Vertical space isn't an issue to me, usability is.

  30. Blaise Kal says:

    First: "the tabs absolutely MUST have their own row": +1 (Or at least make it an option).

    Also, cut of the useless top white border and the frame bevel and you save another few pixels.

    I do like almost all UI changes though! It just needs some tweaking. I like the overall simplicity and the characteristic cut-off back button.

  31. Slugsie says:

    One other thing, I frequently have 10-15 tabs (and more) open. I got to a website, middle-click the links as I go through, then read the new tabs when I'm finished. Having that many tabs open in such a tiny space is excruciating. Oh, I use Firefox most of the time, so you won't have my usage data. I do want to like IE9 though, but unless I can bend it to my will then that isn't going to happen.

  32. Drake says:

    To put it simply: if I can't have tabs on a separate row I will *not* upgrade to WIE9.  Simple.  So all that work on improving web standards gets wasted: and I'm sure there will be others who will agree, and those who will try the new browser, dislike it, and either roll-back to WIE8 — and those who will try a different browser.

    On a Virtual PC I'm testing WIE9 on I also decided to try the latest versions of the other main browsers (Firefox 4 Beta 6; Google Chrome 6.0.472.62; Opera 10.62 and Safari 5.0.2).  Have to say that on UI alone Firefox looks best (though I'd prefer the Navigation Bar to go at the top like WIE8).  Hate Chrome's look — always looks to me like it's in full-screen mode — and NO customisation of the toolbars/row orders at-all (after WIE8 have to have "Home" on the right)!  Opera looks good, though find having the Personal Bar (equivalent to Favourites Bar) above the tabs and Address Bar odd.  Safari, like Chrome, is also just too inflexible: you can choose what buttons you want on the toolbar and where — but you can't decide in what order you want the separate bars to be.  Also it's the only browser (Chrome excepted, as it wouldn't require it) where you cannot obtain a "customise toolbar" feature via a right-click.

  33. Linr says:

    refresh button place before homepage icon

  34. Drake says:

    One thing to say about the "tabs-on-top" style: bit inconsistent.

    Power-users often double-click on a window's Title Bar to maximise and restore a window.  Do this in Opera and you get a new tab; do this in Chrome and it restores the window size.  But also in window (not maximised) mode, clicking on what would appear to be the Tab bar then in Chrome still maximises the window — even though a small area at the top would appear to now be the Title Bar. :p

  35. GvS says:

    Great to have IE minimize the space it takes.

    Using IE9 (and other browsers) I still have an empty row just above the addressbar and tabs. This used to be the title bar, but is now empty.

    Why don't you use that space?

  36. Rafa says:

    I love the IE9 UI. It has by far the most minimalistic UI of all browsers. Yes, even when maximized, IE9 takes up less vertical space than Chrome. I have checked it out myself.

    I love the way tabs are placed in the same row as the address bar. It creates less distraction by having all the navigation features in a single row.

    Also the space above the address bar is not being "wasted" as some posters are suggesting. I love to drag my windows to take advantage of the Aero snap features of Windows 7. But in Chrome there's no space at the top for dragging. Plus the lack of a bookmarks button in Chrome makes IE9 the clear winner in the browser UI department.

  37. wechrome says:

    Personally, I don't think a separate tab bar matter that much anyway. If you open 5 tabs, 800px is enough (each tab 160px), if you open 25 tabs, 800px is little different to 1280px for the user in practical use (each tab 32px vs.50px)

    I often open 50+ tabs, so I hardly care whether the tab bar is in its own row. I think IE9's way of trying to reduce the number of tabs per window is the correct approach here, instead of trying to somehow squeeze 50+ tabs in one row better.

  38. Andy E says:


       "The Chrome screen is indeed misleading. As already pointed out in the comments, when maximized, the title bar gets hidden (or the tabs overlap it, as you prefer), and the UI takes less space than the one of IE9."

    Even with both windows maximised, IE9 looks to be a few pixels less than Chrome.  Still, there's not much in it and I can see your point.

    Also, for those complaining about the empty top bar, you might be forgetting about the Windows 7 feature that allows you to drag a window to and from a maximized state (Aero Snap).  I love Chrome, but it does interfere with this a little bit – when I have a full row of tabs there's only a small amount of space next to the window controls where you can drag or double-click.

    I have to say, I love the tabs and address bar on the same row, although InPrivate needs a new, smaller indicator.  Also, please follow in the footsteps of other browsers and combine the refresh and stop buttons.  You usually only need to do one at a time and, once the web page has loaded, the stop button becomes redundant.  A Stop->Refresh would still be simple, two clicks of the same button.

  39. mmm says:

    IE9 looks like ***. That UI is horrible.

  40. Sentinel says:

    Im really liking the UI so far…It was worth the wait! But seriously…a few things need work:

    1) Internet Options panel – please make it look like it was designed sometime in 2010…not 2000.

    2) Making the Alt + 9 keyboard shortcut work without the dev tools open at the bottom like they did in the platform previews.    When I load Twitter, it loads up in IE8 standards and doesn't give me rounded corners!

    3) Just curiously…searching for weather in the OneBox gives me a neat little shortcut without running a search…why doesnt something similar happen with currency conversions?


  41. babetik says:

    How do i enable the option of pop-up favorite-bar?

    In the clip it seems like there is such option..

  42. titrat says:

    I believe your statistical data is wrong by factors: Simply all power-users use Firefox or another browser, but hardly anyone professional uses the IE.

    You can see it here:

    "54% of people have 2 or fewer items on their Favorites bar (we ship with 2 by default); 99% of people have 0 folders on their Favorites bar."

    Yes, even my IE on all computers have only these 2 items in the favorite bar, but on the same computer all Firefox-instances have hundreds of folders and items.

    So the statistical data gives you informations which lead to the wrong direction, please watch out – intuition is sometimes the better instructor than numbers alone.

    I'm for sure that the distribution of the number of bookmarks and bookmark-folders is way different among the actual firefox users.

  43. bogascorp says:

    @Sentinel: That is twitters fault!  They need to change their code "<meta http-equiv="X-UA-Compatible" content="IE=8">" This is what they have. They should change it to IE=9

    I can fit 8 tabs with no problem in my screen, they display almost complete, but then again, I have a 2048×1152 screen res.

    @All of You: I agree with almost everything you say. IE can keep the UI has it is by default, but make it customizable. Enable all user to change the placement of UI elements.

    HEY, it would be the first browser in the world to do so! Imagine the possibilities…

    Changing the placement of elements won’t break the browser funcionality, it would just look diferent. Being diferent better for Power Users.

  44. chorizo says:

    From time to time I also open 10 tabs or more, usually by middle-clicking many links on a webpage, to read the articles one after another. But I don't see the current rather small place for tabs as a problem, because I simply read one website, close it, read the next one, etc. When I have that many tabs open I usually don't need to switch to a specific one.

    Concerning the favorites bar, I agree that its current design in the beta is the same from IE8 and it doesn't really fit to the new UI in IE9. I use it very often, as I have my RSS feeds in there, categorized in different folders. Being notified of new RSS posts without the favorites bar can be very tedious, you would have to regularly open the favorites center to look for feeds that have been updated (you had to do it this way in IE7).

    I also cannot believe that so few IE users use the favorites center regularly. I have more than 40 sites in my favorites and use several folders to group them.

    I hope the design of the favorites bar, together with the favorites center, is revised to look more consistent with the rest of the interface.

  45. mocax says:

    I use my favorites bar for RSS feeds "live bookmarks".

    it'll be nice to have the "auto-open" open whenever there're updates. Or a notification popup.

  46. titrat says:

    sentinel wrote:

    1) Internet Options panel – please make it look like it was designed sometime in 2010…not 2000.

    Please, make it resizable – it's laughable on big screens that you can't use your screen estate.

  47. Laura T. says:

    Just one consideration, after using IE9 beta for 4 days.

    The address bar should logically be inside the tab. Tabs have the address, not the window itself.

    Windows wide tab strip and inside of each tab would give more tab real estate, and it would be easier to understand.

    Just a thought, now that IE9 is my default browser again, after 3 years. 🙂

  48. Mike Dimmick says:

    I don't set as many bookmarks as I might in IE8 because I can re-type whatever I remember of the URL. That's compromised with the smaller address box.

    I never expand the window beyond a certain width because, usually, the content scales to the width of the window, and very long line lengths make for uncomfortable reading. Your colleagues on the font blog have made this point before. This blog, in fact, has exactly this problem. I'm reading it in a 970×795 frame on a 1440×900 laptop display.

    So it's another vote from me for keeping tabs on a separate line from the address bar.

    Part of the reason for most people not having many tabs may be that in IE8's final release, you set the default pop-up behaviour to 'always open pop-ups in a new window' rather than the tidier 'let Internet Explorer decide' option that was the default all the way through the betas.

    Also, do not discount the possibility that your more advanced and experienced users may have opted out of the telemetry, and you are simply not seeing their behaviour. You need to be doing real user research in addition to the telemetry.

  49. AndyC says:

    i do a lot of my web browsing on a Tablet PC in portrait mode. I accept fully that this puts me well into the 3% awkward users category, but it's an experience I genuinely believe can't be beat and something that I would hope the success of iPad will finally start to see slip into the mainstream.

    That being said, there are a few aspects of the IE9 UI that don't play at all well in that scenario. Tabs on the same row, for example, is particularly cumbersome. In portrait mode vertical space is far less precious than horizontal space and trying to squeeze everything in to one row becomes a right pain as neither can really be allocated enough space to function adequately. Secondly putting things like favourites on the right hand side makes them particularly awkward to access with a stylus, wheras the old position on the left hand side was a far more comfortable gesture (granted this may be entirely the opposite for left handed users, I really couldn't say).

    Finally, I'd stick my vote in for more consistent support when the taskbar is relocated. Pretty much the single best step to improving the Tablet PC UI is to move the taskbar to the top of the screen and I know quite a few people who've commented on that before. Unfortunately it now means the tab pinning is even less discoverable than usual.

  50. FremyCompany says:

    I agree the tabs should move on their own row **when more than X tabs are shown** (a settings configurable, press 0 to always have two rows). When in two-rows mode, the title bar should be used to show the tabs. They could be very thin, it's not a problem since most of the time we have less than X tabs. Screenshot here :…/IE9%20Tabs%20Rows.jpg

    Another thing I would like : Addressbar fill full window width when focused (overlap tabs or hide those) so that we have more room to edit the URL & have the "paste & go" feature built-in.



  51. FremyCompany says:

    << i do a lot of my web browsing on a Tablet PC in portrait mode. I accept fully that this puts me well into the 3% awkward users category, but it's an experience I genuinely believe can't be beat and something that I would hope the success of iPad will finally start to see slip into the mainstream. >> +1

  52. Miguel Web Developer says:

    Google Chrome UI reaches 86pixels when maximized

  53. ie fan says:

    @all who want +1 row for tab

    why dont u guys use other features like tab tearing and browse other tabs in new window..

    it makes ur browsing experiance clean…

    tab tearing feature is not introduced for showcase.

    using these features will make u feel that u dont need +1 row for tabs

    (dont complaint me that u have to open more than one window..

    do you remember when using ie 6 u guys were using many windows)

  54. bogascorp says:

    How about this?

    I think it's stil clean.

  55. Erik says:

    Worth noting is that your "data from millions of users" comes from the people who still run IE8 and havn't bothered to switch off data mining.

    This is NOT a representative sample of how experienced users browse the web. No sane person who knows better would use IE8 and most people who actually read installation dialogs choose to not participate in behavior analysis. It would be interesting to see the same data from firefox users.

    And plus, even if it would, it is still not a good meassure to limit your program design on. 97% of the time i drive my car with empty trunk, but when i really want to go weekend-shopping or on vacation i want to be able to really fill it.

    I can think of over 100 similar examples.

  56. Parrotlover77 says:

    Minimal UI is great for I'm sur elike 90% of your users (grandfathers, soccer moms, etc.), but I prefer functionality over form.  As many others have stated….

    – Separate line for tabs!  With ten tabs open, it's a cluttered mess.

    – Separate search box.  With IE7/8, a search term stays in the search box, so I can go back up to the top, revise the search term, change the search engine, etc.  In IE9, the search term is immediately replaced by the URL, so I have to retype it or copy and paste, which slows me down greatly.

    – Title in the title bar!  The whole point of a page title is for putting something in the title bar.  What other use is there?  This is greatly missed.  I know that Windows 7 went with the Mac-like "icons only" look, but to me, I just hate that.  Can't explain why.  I just do.  The truncated title in the tab does NOT cut it.

    – Combine the Home/Favorites/Menu buttons with the command bar buttons when the Favorites Bar is visible.  There's no need to waste that precious space.

    Otherwise, LOVING IE9!!!!

  57. Parrotlover77 says:

    bogascorp – That's gorgeous!!  No more wasted title bar space.  I might even be able to give up my love of titles in the titlebar for that…….

  58. Erik says:

    "over 97% of IE sessions have 5 or fewer tabs"

    After 5 tabs you hit the end of your screen in many resolutions, maybe people don't use more because it's already too hard.

  59. Parrotlover77 says:

    ie fan – Different strokes for different folks, dude.  Come on.  Those features works great for some and that's awesome!  New features — I love them!  But at the same time, sometimes you really fall in love with a layout or feature and when that's taken away (which, lately, MS is getting famous for: Windows 7 almost didn't have "Invert Selection" in file explorer — the simplest damn feature to implement ever), it really stinks!  New features = awesome.  Removing features = Teh Suck.

  60. chorizo says:


    "- Separate search box.  With IE7/8, a search term stays in the search box, so I can go back up to the top, revise the search term, change the search engine, etc.  In IE9, the search term is immediately replaced by the URL, so I have to retype it or copy and paste, which slows me down greatly."

    Have to agree on this. I have separate search providers for the german and english wikipedia, and in IE8 I could easily switch from the german to the english one if no german article for my query existed. In IE9 I have to retype my entire query if I want to change the search provider. A solution could be to not show the URL after entering a search query, but instead the query itself or something like "[search provider]: [query]". When the user navigates away from the results page the URL is shown again.

  61. 6205 says:

    How it is possible, that conceps in these comments are more creative than current M$ lame UI?

    bogascorp@  very nice

    FremyCompany @ – excellent idea. This is how it should look like. Tabs on top, integrated into window title.

    And they could even change color like Office 2010 ribbon tabs in some situations..…/image_thumb_5.png

  62. Richard says:

    So you can save space because the majority don't have many tabs open, or you could add on a measly 21 pixels and cater to many more users, plus follow the UI convention that the tab is connected to (and thus associated with) the address bar and controls.  I appreciate the attempt to do something different, but add me to the users that say do tabs on top like all the other browsers.

  63. Drake says:


    Totally agree.  I came across an article when the Firefox team were talking about their new UI development for the version4 branch that said "it's not uncommon to find users with 20 … even up to 30 tabs open".  If I can find it again I'll post it in a later, relevant topic.  Wonder if Google or Opera give any stats on tab usage too?  I know for sure I middle-click tons of links sometimes on news sites, product sites, etc.


    "The first browser to do so".  Er, like IE5 and IE6?  And like Opera now?  (Okay, not "anything everywhere" but pretty close).

    @Laura T.

    I understand the logic, but personally I hate browsers with the address bar and search box inside a tab.  Just doesn't look right to me.  Firefox 4's UI would be great if not for this, for me.  Love the WIE8 look of Address Bar, then Favourites Bar, then Tabs.

    @Mike Dimmick

    Yes, I see many users running browsers in a window, not maximised, for this reason.  Also, many users with high-res screens drop back to resolutions like 1024 x 768 because "I found things too small before".  And not forgetting netbooks with lower-res screens, one of the fastest-increasing computer markets.


    Nice mock-up but tabs-on-top are not for me.  Above the site makes the most sense I think as that's what your switching between: sites.  Not switching between windows or "profiles" — makes it feel too MDI style to me.


    Not bad.  I'd still prefer the Control Toolbar at the end of the Tab row though, and a separate search box would be nice.  Providing the Favourites Bar appeared underneath the Tabs row — and the UI integrated it properly — I'd live with it.


    Yes, I love the search box in WIE8: enter an artist to look them up on Wikipedia.  Sound good?  Drop-down and select Grooveshark to give them a try.  Easy.  Now in WIE9 I have to mouse much further down to the row of icons (which, unless hovering for a tooltip those with generic icons aren't identifiable) each time.  And, as has been said, you can no-longer do as simpler a search as in WIE8: no more type and go search.  Now it's type, mouse or keyboard down to the search provider and click or press ENTER.

    Hate the loss of the Title Bar and Application Menu icon.  Why put in so much good work behind the scenes then want to lose the WIE branding?  Duh!  Plus, it kinda makes it look a bit like Windows Explorer in Windows 7 — and I thought the integration days were over now?


    Press the ALT key then on the Edit menu you will find "Invert Selection" still there in Windows 7. 😉

  64. Aethec says:

    I think tabs on bottom of the address bar and tabs on the side should be an option.

    By the way, the reason behind the odd numbers in those statistics is that a lot of advanced users don't use IE. It's like if you said 100% of people liked fast-food using a McDonald's study.

  65. Xael says:

    On the first screenshot, the Home button is not visible. How can I manage this? I'm using 'about:blank' anyways as my default page,

    so I don't need this button. Furthermore the Go/Refresh/Stop-buttons can be merged into one single button.

    Besides that, I'm absolutly loving IE9.

  66. 6205 says:

    I vote for tabs at top with office 2010 ribbon effects. And address bar could be inside of a tab…

  67. Prior Semblance says:

    I don't know if I can stand using IE9 if I have to keep using this new UI the way it is right now, I might have to finally give up and switch browsers.  IE8 UI was so much better, now in IE( every feature I use is less convenient.

  68. Anonymous says:

    If you have to make a blog post explaining your UI decisions, you've failed.

  69. Pies says:

    IE9 is by far the best iteration if IE so far, and I have very few qualms with it, but it's still slower than Chrome and not as useful. When you compare the available vertical space of _maximized_ windows, you'll see that Chrome provides as much space as IE9, but uses it better, so that I can have more than 5 tabs open and still have room for 6 application buttons with mail notifications, weather and so forth.

    I may not be an average user, however. I never move the browser window, since I have it maximized at all times. I usually have 3-4 sites pinned and 5-10 tabs with content, and I have the browser set to remember its complete state between sessions. I think that remembering state between sessions is very important for all applications.

  70. Mac says:

    Tabs on top are a real problem when trying to use Aero snap… as would the otherwise pleasing solution proposed by bogascorp. IE9 seems to go out of its way to accommodate muscle memory (I was surprised that you can still close the window by double clicking on the upper left corner, even though all it shows is empty glass), and crowding the title bar is a good way to prevent that.

    To be honest, I do use a lot of tabs, but I don't use the tab bar: I use the Windows 7 taskbar instead. I get Aero preview (even a thumbnail if I don't have too many of them open), longer titles, and the single-click close action on inactive tabs that many seem to miss. In general, it's such a better experience that I almost never reach for the IE tab bar, with the only exception of creating a new tab (yes, you can do that from the taskbar, but IE provides a fatter single-click target) and now to tear tabs around.

    Off a tangent… while integrating the tearing with the taskbar is probably impossible, I think that providing the "New Tab" window in the taskbar preview should be possible (just make it a real tab) and would make the tab bar even less important.

    And the ability to pin tabs to the taskbar improved the experience even further… it would be nice to be able to select which add-ons to run for pinned sites, though.

    Just my 0.02$

  71. Cavalary says:

    Just noticed something, because I tried to use it and it wasn't there: The back/forward list is gone. I wanted to go straight back to the page I was on 3 clicks before, meant to click on the little arrow next to the button and… there's no arrow, so just had to click back 3 times. I think that pulldown menu was quite handy there.

  72. EricLaw [MSFT] says:

    @Cavalary: Right-click the back button,or click-and-hold it.

  73. Cavalary says:

    Yeah, just figured that out and was getting back here to say so 🙂 Thanks.

    But noticed another little issue: If only a single previously-"connected" tab is left open, it keeps the "group color", doesn't return to normal color.

    Also saw a CSS issue… Though in fact I don't know if it's an issue or not, but it's an unusual behavior. I have a page on my site that uses pre around some stuff placed inside tables. In previous versions of IE, as well as in FF, pre overrides inherited text styling, so the text looks as "preformatted text" should look like. In IE9 it looks all weird, because the text style that refers to table/tr/td is also applied to the text inside pre.

  74. SvenC says:

    "The tabs absolutely MUST have their own row": +1 (Or at least make it an option).

    "Separate search box" +1 Or: a builtin search bar like googles toolbar would be nice which lists all the words I entered as clickable buttons in the toolbar. Making it simple to search those words in found web pages. Separating the words is important.

    If I search for "browser HTML CSS" then I search for any combination of those words and might want to jump to any of those words in the found pages. Having to retype those words (one at a time) in the find box is just less efficient. As I open found links in a new tab where I look at a page which I found because I searched for "browser HTML CSS" the search bar needs to keep the current search words on the newly opened tab. Otherwise I view the new tab and again will have to retype my search term words is I want to find them in that page.

    And highlighting each search word individually and with different colors helps so much to quickly grasp if a found page is relevant. I know that this search functionality does not scale well if you search for more than 5 or 6 words as you run out of colors and out of toolbar space to add new search buttons for each word, but I guess some statistics will show that only 5% of users will ever search for more than 6 words in one search 😉

    As the google toolbar makes IE9 crash every few pages it would be nice to get a builtin search bar.

    As I could not turn font smoothing off and my eyes and brain start to hurt after a few minutes of reading smoothed text I uninstalled IE9 so I hope for an option to respect my system wide (Windows 7) disabled font smoothing to get back to IE9. BTW big thanks to the WPF team to give us back unsmoothed fonts in WPF 4.0 😉

    @bogascorp: nice UI. I would put the big favicon on the left, i.e. on the left side of the back button. The left side of the address bar would move a bit to the right to align with the left side of the first tab again and that would make the blank area over the big favicon and the back/forward buttons a bit wider so we have more space to start dragging IE9 windows around. Like in your UI, no tab bar space is lost as the big favicon just moves from the right side to the left side.

  75. ieblog says:

    Corrected a typo in the 5th paragraph J is now 🙂

  76. Yon says:

    The whole 'space at the top – just so you can drag and drop for Aero Snap' argument, doesn't really make sense. If you were to put the tab row on the top, the obvious horizontal position with be aligned to the left corner of the adress bar. That leaves enough space above the Back and Forward buttons to click and drag for Aero Snap, that top left corner space is ideal for this too. As you don't even to look at the screen just drag the mouse up left, simple and intuitive behaviour.

    As long as you take away the drop down menu with options of rezising the window on that corner, does anyone even use that anymore? Especially now that there's not even an icon there. Also, the fact that you can tear a tab right of for use with Aero Snap, really enforces this.

    But personally, I'm fine with how the tab row is now. What I want to do with the space at top, is put the Favorites Bar up there instead. Blended in as separate buttons with the transparent background as it is now. Even if according to your data, that only a small percentage of users uses the Fav Bar, the 2 links that comes with the browser – Suggested Sites, and was it Web slice? Those 2 will certainly add value to the functionality of the browser for users just by being visible at the top.

  77. Yon says:

    Oh, and this one annoying thing, take away the pixels of white space right below the tabs please!

  78. badger says:

    @bogascorp  Quality mockup! But, putting the address bar in the title like that (even if you make Svenc's suggested changes) doesn't leave room for dragging the window and Aero-Snap. I wouldn't be afraid to put *anything* up there. It looks rather devoid as is.  

    Take note from other modern MSFT software, like Office. They still put things up there, they just leave a large amount of blank space too. I'd say as long as at least 1/2 to 2/3 of the bar was blank, that would be ample room for "window drag action." Perhaps a few quick tasks could be put up there (alla the Ribbon) like the Home, Favorites, Tools buttons. This would free up space for yet another tab.

    Even still, I think for the sake of not loosing power users (read: potential browser evangelists) you need to leave an option to put tabs on a new row.

    @wechrome Your math is wrong. You're assuming that an 800px wide window has the entire width for tabs. If you leave tabs on the same row as the One Bar, then you have far from 800 pixels. In fact, I measure it to be about 70 pixels for each tab when you have 5 open on a 800px window. And anything less than 80px is too small imo.

    @ie fan  I do use multiple windows. I have 6 pinned sites right now. 1 of those, Wikipedia, is open and focused, with 7 tabs. I have Word open too because I'm writing a report (don't worry, I'm not citing Wikipedia haha!). They are Aero-Snapped next to each other so I can read from Wikipedia while typing in Word (common scenario, I would think). My tabs are so small that only 2 characters of the title are visible (about 55px wide tabs). That's just not usable, and I don't see why I would add separate windows since they're all from the same site (kind of defeats Site Mode's purpose).

    It's doubtful the IE team will want to redo all the UI after a beta–and I don't think that's necessary. Most of it is brilliant!

    Just do what so many people are asking:  allow the *option* of putting tabs on a new line. It's fine if the default is one line like the beta. But you'll save a lot of power users if you leave this as an option.

  79. Bludge says:

    Hey IE team, I saw on Connect that you have posted an image to show where users have to hover to view the download speed. This is ludicrous. Any dynamically and constantly changing information such as download speed should not be moved to a tooltip. Please stop burying all the info we could see in IE8 under more clicks or under tooltips. You are only catering to users who want simplicity. This is not the right approach. Are you please getting this feedback loud and clear?

  80. Eliezer Figueroa says:

    I think the only to missing features in the interface are a progress bar (maybe embeded in the adress bar) and a hide button for the toolbars (to hide them not disable them)

  81. marybranscombe says:

    it's hard to design a minimal and functional UI; it's even harder to design both a minimal and functional UI and a powerful and functional UI and let users transition smoothly between them – but that's what I'd like to the IE9 have. I want the sleek minimal option and then I want a version that has the three extra things each power user wants that they can place on the ui without having to open the Command Bar Of Clutter and a full-width tab bar, and I want them both to look good. Take the way OneNote has minimal and full interfaces, for when you want more space for the note vs the full set of tools. Progressive disclosure for the download manager, progressive functionality for the browser. Now that's a really hard design problem.

  82. broccauley says:

    "The most commonly used item in the Status bar was “Select Preset Zoom” used by 1.6% of people."  The problem with using telemetric data like this is that it doesn't actually give you the complete picture of how certain UI elements are used. For example, the most important aspect of the zoom control on the status bar for me was that it also shows you the current zoom STATUS. Therefore, I'd be using the zoom status without actually clicking on it, and therefore no telementry would have recorded my use.

    Moving the zoom status to the "Tools" menu is a retrograde step. Perhaps to compensate for its lack of UI exposure a TV-like on-screen-display could be shown when adjusing the zoom level (e.g. like when adjusting the volume on your TV) ?

    The re-arranged "Tools" menu is also a complete mess, especially the random "File" section of the menu. Out of the 6 options in the "File" section only "Save as…" actually has anything to do with files!

    @badger – with items in the title bar you actually can still have the same window dragging functionality. A click can do a particular function, but dragging can still move the window. Here was an idea that I posted to the Mozilla guys on this topic (anyone can use it – just happened to post it to Mozilla first!):

  83. Kris Mac says:

    I like many of the other commenter's agree that tabs must have their own row (If not default then at least an option to move them onto their own line), it is the sole reason I uninstalled ie9 and went back to Chrome

    I also have to mention that I get tired of the constant moving of buttons from one side to the other, you get used to where your buttons are and then some 'UI Expert' says 'actually, the last "UI Expert" was wrong and i want them on this side now' – very frustrating

  84. JohnCz says:

    I've become a fan of having tabs located on the same row as onebox.  Beforehand, it was common for me to have 15-20 tabs open at a time.  But now with Pinned Site capability, I find myself grouping my activities in multiple browser instances far more often.  The benefit there is that I'm not wasting time hovering my mouse over taskbar.

    Commands:  I appreciate the design thoughts behind for the home, favorites, tools icon..but couldn't that have been achieved by docking the Command Bar in the same location and updating the look-n-behavior of the command bars.

    Favorites:  Be careful…your current usage data probably doesn't account for how consumers will browse the web using upcoming portable Slate PCs.

    Pinned Sites:  Love it.  I still don't understand why you would disable/hide a command like "Messenger Companion" or "Send to OneNote".

    Two Suggestions:

    1. Take Pinned Sites one step further and support previewing webslices from taskbar.

    2. Place the Home button and the Pinned Site icon (in browser) in the same location.  Its jarring to see one instance located on left and another located on right.

  85. LovingIE9Beta says:

    I never liked the “improved” features of IE8—the web slices, the accelerators, the big favorites bar. I’m not even much of a fan of tabs, often preferring to open separate top-level windows instead. I’ve been running IE9 beta both at home and at work since it was released and I’ve got to say, “I love it.”

    Thank you for putting browser clutter in the background and letting the sites shine through.

  86. Tino Zijdel says:

    So basically this is all just fixing symptoms from the switch to 16:9 and 16:10 display formats for monitors? I liked they 4:3 format; at least that provided suffcient 'vertical space' for anything that was not video-related…

  87. Harold says:

    There's a few misunderstandings to realize here.

    1.) Most power users when installing IE say *NO* to the "please allow IE to track my usage" because even if it truly is 100% anonymous we don't want to risk sending some of this data to MSFT (since nowhere can we actually see what it sends) and also because we want IE to run as fast as possible…. sending additional requests back to MSFT's servers doesn't speed up our browsing.

    As a result, you find a catch-22 situation.  You don't collect the stats about power users – and we unfortunately get products that are dumbed down because we didn't allow MSFT to track our usage.

    Do I have more than 5 tabs open regularly? you bet I do… 5-19 per browser is typical – and on a day when I have more time to surf, add 10-15 to that number. 😀

    2.) your notes about the 2/3rds vs 50% is nothing more than the available screen real-estate… increase the screen size, and presto! all browsers have more room for tabs.

    3.) with the shortened tab labels user need to depend more on the favicon's to spot which tab they want to switch to.  This is fine but it illustrates why the address bar is a FAIL.  None of the sites in the dropdown from the address bar show the favicons which is a major UI flaw considering adding them back (yeah we've already moaned about them going) would be such a simple fix.

    4.) Problems with favorites and the favorites bar have been discussed before. Again if you use stats from a failed feature to determine if a feature should continue… well you aren't going to get meaningful results.  Lets not forget that when the bar is first shown for IE users there are 4 (or more) useless links added to it from the start… the user tries to delete them but can't be bothered to wait for IE to respond.. so they just hide the bar and live without using bookmarks… because IE's support for them is awkward.

    5.) @6205 – The ribbon was a failure in Office – please for god's sake don't ruin IE with it – sorry dude, but your mockup looks absolutely terrible – very bad idea

    6.) @Anonymous – Bang on! – the fact that MSFT is on this blog trying to justify decisions with skewed stats, and ignoring feedback is exactly why this UI (while miles better than IE8) still has significant usability issues. (no progress bar, tabs can't live on their own row,…)

    Oh well, at least they have 6months to fix it! we can only hope they actually read the comments on *this* blog.

    As always, none of these comments, bugs, or feature requests will be put in Connect.

  88. Lies and Misunderstandings says:

    1> Most power users know that IE has no such option during setup and has not had such an option since IE7.

    6> Every good software team writes blog posts about their decisions. Every software blog has plenty of amateur trolls who whine and complain about those decisions and rant about how some other browser is better.

    7> As always, I'm happy your silly little tantrum won't go clutter up the actual bug database, lest it mask actual problems.

  89. stefano says:

    Dear IE team,

    It's great that IE9 reduces clutter and strives for a clean UI (by default). However, don't cut features completely. Give advanced users the option to turn on again the advanced features they want to use, for example:

    1) Add an option that the tabs can be positioned below the address bar, even in pinned sites mode.

    2) At least offer an option to turn on all add-ons in pinned sites mode.

    After all, we're still using IE9 on our *personal* computers, where we, the users, should have the last word whether we want to use a feature or not. With IE9, I have the impression that Microsoft values sites higher than the will of its power users. Never before in the history of Microsoft or the PC existing features have been simply cut completely for the sake of simplicity – they might have been hidden or reorganized, but not cut! If you continue to take this new direction, most power users will switch to Chrome or Firefox (or not come back if they've switched already), and IE will just be the program for the masses.


  90. Tom says:

    – page-load indicator in address bar like Windows 7

    – page title back in the title bar

    I would like to see that

  91. Tom says:

    – page-load indicator in address bar like Windows 7

    – page title back in the title bar

    I would like to see that

  92. Mark says:

    Tabs NEED to have their own row.

    You gave your justification, but so did we. Sure, you may thing that puting tabs and address bar is ingenius, but we, you users, disagree. Perhaps 90% of us are wrong, but we are still your users and we chose to use IE as oppose to Firefox or Chrome.

  93. Roland says:

    In Office 2010, you can collapse the ribbon with a button at the right side of the window (next to the help button). I would like to see such a button in IE9 as well if the menu bar, the Favorites bar, or any toolbar (add-on) is visible. When clicking the button, IE would collapse/fade out/hide all bars that are located below the address bar/tab bar. Experienced users could then hide/show the bars on demand by clicking the button (or pressing a shortcut key like Ctrl+F1 in Office).

    In Pinned Sites mode, IE9 could collapse all bars by default. If the user chooses to show his bars again by clicking the button, IE9 should remember this setting for all future Pinned Sites instances.

    The collapse/expand bars button could be located next to the settings button on the right. If no bars are visible, the button could simply be hidden.

  94. Roland says:

    The single row address/tab bar creates the problem that the address bar is mostly too narrow to display the complete URL. For example, in none of your screenshots, the complete URL is visible in the address bar. However, experienced users and web developers often need to quickly check the complete URL, especially the file extension. Web designers checking their pages in IE9 will have a hassle verifying the correct directory location with long URLs, for example.

    With the current design, most users will have to horizontally scroll the text in the address bar to verify the complete URL, which is a #1 usability issue and very time-consuming. It also requires high concentration to mentally parse the URL because it's never completely visible.

    Remember that many people read the current URL over the phone ("I'll tell you the page where I just found it! Listen!"), and if the URL is never completely visible then, this might be frustrating.

    Another point is that when pasting an URL into the address bar, and the address is wrong (resulting in a 404), the user normally quickly checks the entire URL for typical errors (space in the URL, slash missing, etc.). This will also be more time consuming and cumbersome with the new address bar design.

    Of course, the user can temporarily give more room to the address bar by resizing it. However, many users might not know this, and experienced users might have to do this too frequently.

    So far, the discussion about the new unified address/tab bar mostly revolved around too less room for the tabs. However, there is an issue with too less room for the *address bar*, too. Thus, having the option of displaying the tabs below the address bar would also bring the benefit of much more room for the address bar, which would be helpful in lots of cases.

  95. Anonymous says:

    Dear fellow power users.

    I probably should have posted this earlier when people were still reading the comments, but you may want to try out re-enabling quick tabs. It's disabled by default in IE9, but once enabled, you can press ctrl+Q to see all your open tabs.

    also, I just wanted to say I'm one of the fellows who is quite pleased with IE9's new interface. I'm okay with adding an option to use a second row of course, but I think the present configuration should be the default one.

  96. Mike Sharpe says:

    Add me to the list of users asking for the ability to move the tab bar to its own row. As others have mentioned, the percentage of users who need this might be small, but the outright numbers are huge!

    I can understand why the tabs can't go in the title bar itself – people expect to be able to interact with a title bar in certain ways, after all, and putting new/different objects there is problematic. With that said, it's a title bar… it seems crazy to have it blank, as opposed to containing the page title!

  97. Roland says:

    Regarding the issue raised in my last comment (URL not completely visible in narrow address bar), I could think of 2 mitigations if address bar and tabs are displayed in a single row:

    1. Whenever the address bar is too narrow to display the complete current URL, display a ToolTip with the complete URL when the user points to the address bar. (It's already displayed in a ToolTip for the current tab. However, lots of people might not know this, and it fades out after a few seconds, making it hard to decipher a long URL)

    2. When the address bar gets focus, make it wider so that more of the URL is visible for editing/replacing (the tabs part will be made smaller). If it loses focus, restore its original size.

  98. JohnCz says:

    I commented before but I have one more followup suggestion.  That is to rework Favorites to be much more touch friendly.  I wouldn't have much of a need for the Favorites Bar if Favorites was more touch friendly.  I bet if you do usability studies, folks who are on Slate PCs will want to utilize Favorites far more than you may be anticipating.  Instead of the small flyout window..I'd like to see you do something along the lines of the "new tab" experience and support for categories/folders.  Now, if the roadmap is to ultimately have Pinned Sites replace Favorites then typing in the address onebox should search pinned sites AND the Windows Client team needs to enhance the taskbar further.

  99. badger says:

    OK, now another bad scenario. AeroSnap a window to the side, browse to a secure site that has a security certificate (say, Open a few other tabs in the background. You can't see the address at all! Not to mention the tabs are unreadable.

    @broccauley  Love the idea of a OSD zoom indicator! But about dragging……

    First, allowing dragging of the window no matter what you put in the titlebar is not intuitive at all! Secondly, it's an extremely complicated solution because every control you put up there has to be customized to support this feature. Third, it interferes with other drag actions of controls (selecting text in a text box, rearranging items (like tabs), etc.). Your solution would mean tab rearrangement would have to be redone such that you can only drag the currently focused tab (unlike it currently is in all browsers).

    @Harold   I love your idea for putting favicons in the One Bar's history suggestions. @IE Team…….try it!

    @Roland  +1 for the great explanation of what I'm talking about w/ the One Bar being a victim of the tabs on the same row.

    Again, the IE9 UI is mostly goodness! There's a lot of good (and some bad) UI suggestions on here too. But the single best improvement would be to provide an option for tabs to be on a separate row.

  100. RSS says:

    I just upgraded to Windows 7 from XP but I cannot locate the "User feed synchronization" task under Windows 7's task scheduler any more. Under XP task scheduler, there was a User feed synchronization (Feedsync) task which when executed synchronized all feeds instead of manually updating each and every feed. How does msfeedsync run now?

  101. Michael Teper says:

    Please add an option to put the tabs on their own line!

  102. Arioch says:

    Surely Opera screenshot is made in a way, next to be called 'faked'

    OTOH, when you have 4-5 tabs open on same forum, for example, without window caption it is hard to tell which tab corresponds to which topic.

    Current fight for pixels leads to that in IE9 too. Perhaps page title could be added to statusbar, if removed from windowws caption ?

    I also found Opera 10.62 regression at – sounds work no mor, JScript freezes. It worked okay in 10.60 and reported to be fixed in 10.70

    MSIE9beta cannot work with its JScript as well, as broken Opera 10.62

    Non-JS versions of that page just crash MSIE9beta

  103. Arioch says:…/Feedback – also crashes in msie9 beta / win7x64 / ie7pro

    IE tries to redirect to live login – and crashes

    I'd not to install mappings local user account <-> Live ID (Feed back liveID heper) – browser could achieve the same via cookies if needed.

    IE Feedback pages does not work in Opera – no way to make 'submit new feedback' appear.

    Hence here is the only way left.

  104. Arieta says:

    I too would like to have a separate tab bar, with the favorites column back in the left corner, like IE8. And with a smaller margin between individual favorites in the list – longer lists look too cumbersome with those huge margins!

  105. Michael Huang says:

    About Silverlight plug-in Native support for IE 64bit

    Hi there,

    I have a serveral questions and hoping you could let me gain some insight on the following.

    When will Silverlight plug-in beta edition Native support for IE 64bit, Microsoft be available for released?

    Because from Silverlight 1 to Silverlight 4, they don't support Silverlight plug-in Native support for IE 64bit, and can't view Silverlight at Microsoft website using IE X64.

    Silverlight plug-in & IE 64bit are all Microsoft, why doesn't it support Silverlight plug-in Native support for IE 64bit?

    Last year (2010)

    Adobe Flash Player "Square" Preview 1 active-x for 64-bit Windows — for Internet Explorer only…/flashplayer10.html


    Oracle Java Platform, Standard Edition plug-in for IE 64bit…/system-configurations-135212.html

    They have been on the market for the beta version, or the official version!

    why Silverlight plug-in Native support for IE 64bit is the only one out there that hasn't being to support it?

    And I hope to add a new official version of "IE9 64BIT set as default browser" button!

    Thank you very much.

    Michael Huang


  106. Choice says:

    IE team, you underestimate the important of choice. Too little choice can take away all your users. Everything at Microsoft seems to be about locking down more, giving user less choice and deciding what's best for him. Even the Connect beta site apparently has got rid of voting up or down for some stupid reason. Searching by number of Up, Down or Total votes becomes useless as it being locked down returns irrelevant posts. What's happening to this company which distinguished itself from Apple for giving total choice and customizability?

  107. IE9 user says:

    Remove tge white line between the UI and the site.

  108. IE9 User says:

    Remove the white line between the Ui and the site.

  109. deleting history says:

    Hello! i downloaded the beta version of ie9 beta it rocks you internet explorer team guys finally! did something cool =D but something in ie9 does need improved for the stable version when it comes out and i'm talking about TABS next to the URL bar cause i have a laptop computer and it isn't good to have tabs next to the url bar but you should keep it like that and allow us to have an option to put TABS on the top. or TABS next to the url bar by default.

  110. Jace says:


    One thing to consider here. Although power users may be a small percentage, I say that this small percentage is a significant driver for the remaining percentage.

    By this I mean that it's the power user who is in IT decision making roles, who sets his Aunt and sister's default browsers and supports them, who opines in tech forums (good or bad).

    I think the current strategy is one that may not take hold, unless some appeasements are given back to the power user, in the form of allowing more UI customization. I'd like to see IE9 succeed because I feel that technologically it is the superior browser, but I feel that to get momemtum and mojo back, you may want to alter course a bit in terms of the UI.

    Best of luck!

  111. A thinker says:

    Dont move the tabs when they get to 8+ tabs by default. Its a terrible idea. Dont let people who only care about themselve influence your decision. I like the way IE is now. It should teach us all a little bit of constriant. Its understandable to provide a mode toggle (light and heavy mode) but not automatically switch between the two. Another solution will also be to investigate why people use 8+ tabbs. I do get there sometimes and its mostly because im on the quest for information(search), found a couple of site but think I "might" need to read them so I leave them open till I tell myself I dont need it anymore. If most people get to 8+ tabs like this, maybe best way is to provide a mechanism/feature where where people can dock(pin is already being used) a tab into a docking station at which they can access at will till they decide they dont need it any more. Sound like bookmark but not exactly. People bookmark because they want to keep it. This will be a temporary docking station for tabs. Now, I am not saying it should be so. All im trying to say is that there is probably a behavior pattern with people who have 8+ tabs and UX can tap into that behavior to create a good balance.

  112. Drake says:


    I'd thought about making the point about shrinking the Address Bar myself but compared to the tab argument didn't think I could as strongly, so good on you for raising it.

    Thinking about it though there is one other issue that a smaller Address Bar presents: domain highlighting.  Such a useful feature to quickly see the domain you are on (e.g. not…/hsbc-login.html).  Now, with the reduced Address Bar it's harder to use this useful feature.  I notice in the WIE9 beta that no algorithm has been introduced to ensure the black-text domain is always made visible.  The text is just drawn in always starting at the beginning of the URL from the left.

    So, for some examples, you might see (expanded versus condensed bar):

    Genuine Site

    [ [/]                               [ https://customerlog [/]

    Fraudulent Site

    [ [/]     [ https://customerlog [/]

    Notice how both sites in condensed form appear the same.  WIE9 should however aim to keep the domain (part in black text) in view when reducing the Address Bar.

  113. !@#$%^&* says:

    @ IE9 User: White line will be not removed, because MS knows best what it the best for users, including lame UI concepts like IE9 with big back button, tabs beside address bar, your white line or ugly bookmarks toolbar(when enabled) etc…

  114. Lea Verou says:

    I by all means love UI innovation, so congrats for trying to do something better.

    This will be perfect for inexperienced users since they don't care much about the URI nor have many tabs open simultaneously.

    However, for experienced users, I imagine it's a pain, since we both want to see the URI AND tend to have many tabs open at the same time (I currently have 11), so allocating more space for the tabs and making the address bar shorter isn't going to help. There should definitely be an option for this.

  115. Lea Verou says:

    Also, if you care that much about space, why waste all this space above the address bar/tabs?

  116. Anonymous says:

    @Lea Verou

    That is the title bar. Adding elements to the title bar would violate window's human interface guidelines.

  117. Spindel says:

    I must say I like the new UI. But one thing you must fix is the "omnibar". Remove things like http://www. for saving space and put the Refresh button together with the with the Stop button.

  118. Greg says:

    I do not like refresh and stop together.  There are elements on the page that are useful to stop after the page is loaded … for instance a meta refresh.

  119. Internet explorer 8 says:

    Hello i hope this version of internet explorer will have new like have a 9.0 and a 9.1 and a 9.2. with stuff that fixes bugs. i hope you guys will reply thanks =)

  120. Loves ie speed says:

    hi will internet explorer 9 be faster than firefox and it will handle all html codes better than ie8 does?

  121. petmal says:

    "over 97% of IE sessions have 5 or fewer tabs, and more than 90% of users have never had more than 8 tabs open simultaneously"

    Sure. Then optimize for this scenario, but, please, give us some way of changing the default layout. The ideal solution would be to let the user decide where to put the tabs. Obvious "alternative" choices are Title bar and below the address bar, but more freedom would be better…

  122. Walter Vonkoch [MSFT] says:

    @RSS – The feed sync task still exists. You can see it by running

          schtasks /query | findstr /i "user_feed"

    from the command line. The Task Scheduler msc also shows the task if you enable hidden tasks by selecting

          View | Show Hidden Tasks

    Both assume that feed sync is turned on in IE via

           Tools | Options | Content | Feeds and Web Slices Settings | Automatically check feeds and Web Slices for updates.

  123. Peter says:

    Tabs in own row = -1

    a) Someone wrote above about 15 tabs. I have a 24" wide screen monitor and the browser have usual the half screen width. How many tabs I can get in Chrome? About 7 or 8? In IE only 4, sure, but 15 tabs "fails" in both browsers, therefore what's the point?

    b) I have wide screen monitor, therefore the width is unimportant for me, but the height isn't. With tabs in a own row I lost always 50 pixel or more in height, even thought I have only 4 tabs.

    No sorry, I like this new design. The only thing where I find personal not any good solution are favorites that I use very often.

  124. Olivier says:

    From IE4 to IE6, Internet Explorer had a great GUI, and it was customizable. The only missing feature was the tab browsing. Give us the IE6 GUI back! Stop changing the GUI all the time and concentrate your efforts on everything else.

  125. Paul says:

    Tabs MUST have their own row like chrome.

    Tabs MUST have their own row like chrome.

    Tabs MUST have their own row like chrome.

    Tabs MUST have their own row like chrome.

    Tabs MUST have their own row like chrome.

    Tabs MUST have their own row like chrome.

    I hope IE Team is listening to us.

  126. SS says:

    Voting for or against tabs on their own row is silly; the answer is let the end user decide.  The statistics this article mentions correctly motivate and explain the default layout, but that doesn't mean functionality that empowers users should be taken away.  What changed from Office 2010 to Office 2007?  More customizability is one big thing.  Take a lesson from that change, please.

    I would also point out that the statistics are probably lower than what they could be because many people who rely on tabbed browsing have switched browsers.  It's great that IE9 promises to change the slow tab performance (it can be faster to open a new window than a new tab in IE7/8), but wouldn't it be silly to make tabbed browsing better but not allow users to experience tabbed browsing as they prefer?  It'd be like an airport that expands runways and gets new air traffic controllers because of long delays and canceled flights, but then the airport also closes half the terminals at the airport because few people used the airport more than once.  (It's a rough analogy, I admit, but I think it gets the point about it being a bad choice to fix one problem but then break something that the fix was supposed to help.)

    Please, make this the best UI for everybody, not the minority.  Did you know that (0.9)^6 is only about half?  In other words, if you remove 6 features that only a small minority of 10% use, you may have affected half your user base, even though no specific change affected that may people.  The answer is simple: customizability.

    P.S.  The other thing Office 2010 improved on was an easier-to-use UI for people familiar with Office 2003 and earlier.  For example, Office 2010 has the "File" button and an arrow to show how to hide or unhide the ribbon.  In IE9, does the home button belong on the left or the right?  If it's the right, why does it move to the left for pinned sites?  Is consistency too much to ask for?  I actually think the right is correct, so why not make it that way always (or customizable for that).  But the home/pinned home button should never be to the left of the navigation buttons; that's kind of weird.  And the dropdown for the back button really takes so many pixels that no user should ever be able to customize the UI to bring it back?

  127. Matt says:

    IE 7 got a lot of comments saying "UI needs to be more customizable"

    IE8 got a lot of comments saying "UI needs to be more customizable"

    and now IE 9's getting a lot of comments saying "UI needs to be more customizable"

    Do we really think MS will listen this time?

    And +1 for the option of giving the tabs their own row

    +1 for putting the title in the title bar

    and let us move the home button up to the back/forward/refresh area… better yet, let us move everything around like FF does and IE6 did

  128. davis says:

    @Peter: why you'd be running a the browser maximised on a 24" widescreen is beyond me, but the issue is that the point at which the tabs become "useless" is greatly accelerated by putting them in line with tha address bar irrespective of screen resolution.

  129. James says:

    What about adding a "Paste & Go" item in the context menu over the address bar? It's really that useful in some circumstances.

  130. DavidPaulo says:

    Please children,  go to the playground if you want to play.

  131. Drake says:


    No-one is trying to play: Microsoft need to come up with a better system of showing who on this post is a genuine Microsoft employee.  Putting "ΜSFΤ" inside square brackets after the name is no good as it's too easily spoofed: all I did was use non-English-language letters that happen to look just like the correct Latin/Roman letters.

    Surely putting an icon of the new Internet Explorer icon in 16 x 16 size to the left of a team members name could be an easy option?  Or a graphic cented between the name and date/time of the post saying "Microsoft Employee".

  132. jabcreations says:

    So pretty much everything I've said has been reiterated by other people.  Below is my copy and paste post about what the GUI should be by default and capable of when customizing that I posted on the first IE9 beta blog entry here.

    @IE team

    What the GUI should be top to bottom left to right (and then followed by how it should be able to be customized)…

    The top bar (not sure what it's called technically) should have the icon, file menu, and then the title all floating to the left…the minimize, restore, and close buttons on the right. The file menu should NOT be condensed in to a single menu item. This would merge the file menu, not hide it (it should NEVER be hidden unless the user opt-IN to hiding it) and save some vertical space. Also there are no real concerns since IE is a DESKTOP browser most screens (even at 1024×768) have more then enough horizontal width.

    The first actual toolbar (second GUI item)should be the main control bar. The following buttons should appear MINIMALLY and with text labels on the side all floating to the left (with the option to have icons, icons with text below, or icons with text on the side): Back Forward Refresh Stop Home | Downloads Favorites History New Tab Print/Print Preview. The search bar should appear floating-center (half way spaced between the last button and half way from the right most edge of the window). Additionally the downloads button should simple open a drop down ON-MOUSE-OVER displaying a Firefox-like downloads list however it should NOT be a separate window like how Firefox does it. Again MOUSE-OVER not a click, these details are SO important. The toolbar should be no more then 30px with the text-labels-on-the-side option though vertically larger for the labels-below option for those who don't have average dexterity. Again customization should allow EVERY button be moved on an individual basis (not sticking back/forward or stop/refresh buttons together!!!!)

    The next (and second by most people's view) toolbar is the address / favorites bar. Again you HAVE to consider screen resolution, HD LCD's are selling for $160 and even at 1024xx768 I have set the bookmarks toolbar folder in Firefox to be to the right of the address bar. Few people will need to see the ENTIRE address bar (when interacting with the address bar it would THEN be appropriator to change it's z-index so-to-speak to show it over other GUI items or if it doesn't have a reasonable minimum width). Want to talk minimalism? Have an option for favorites on the favorites toolbar to only appear as favicons because a single click bookmark in Firefox wastes less of my time and I'm sure others have icon-only bookmarks/favorites too. In the very least keep the text labels within reason (16 character limit would be reasonable, "Bank", "Email", etc) to help users make actual use of the toolbar and DISALLOW PROGRAMS FROM DUMPING JUNK FAVORITES IN TO THERE! Also two more items that should ALWAYS appear is the Go button with a text label and I've got to hand it to Opera the magic button (Sign In would make sense) to quickly sign in to a site while it's open in the focused tab. So address bar, Go button, Sign In button, favorites toolbar with the favorites toolbar taking up most horizontal space on an HD monitor. This toolbar should only take up about 30 pixels TOPS unless the user has bad eye sight and needs larger text.

    The third and LAST toolbar is the DEDICATED tabs bar. Close buttons should NOT be removed for any reason so a 50 pixel minimum width when you have like 60 tabs open (it can happen in production environments such as mine) with the favicon and close button. An option to hide the close buttons would work however that would confuse non-technical people so make sure not to hide them by default. It would be VERY good idea to have a default feature (that can be toggled off by technically savvy people) to remove empty tabs that are open if the user opens a new tab (third of ten tabs is empty, user opens new tab, third tab is closed or simply moved to the last horizontally positioned tab). Again toolbars should attempt to be no more then 30px in height unless there are special circumstances or preferences (such as text labels below instead of on the side). When tabs start to clutter they should begin to sacrifice text labels and only use the favicon. The ability to remove the close buttons should be an option for minimalists who dislike functionality though they should be enabled ALL the time otherwise to prevent the user from becoming confused. When the tab bar finally overflows there should be a help feature that alerts the user (without it being a production halting JavaScript alert in example) that always appears until the user actively acknowledges it.

    Now obviously not everyone will want their GUI setup the way it should be setup for the non-technical majority of users. There are also situations where full toolbars (mine would be 90 pixels in height ideally I think) are excessive in some situations or not enough for those who can't see well. So in example if the user has special accessibility options enabled IE should detect that and display larger text labels BELOW the icons and make the buttons and other GUI items larger by default. However on a netbook for example the ability to customize the GUI is critical to maintaining reasonable amounts of single-click functionality while also maintaining a reasonable amount of space for the sites themselves. Buttons should *ALL* be able to be dragged independently (maybe some people do like putting some buttons on the right, I don't). In example on my netbook I have setup Firefox's toolbars the following way: Toolbar –> file menu favicon-only bookmarks toolbar floating left / web developer toolbar (icons only) floating right. Second toolbar are the icon-only buttons (back, forward, reload, stop, home | bookmarks, downloads, full screen, history, new tab with the location bar floating to the left directly next to it and the search bar on the right side (though also floating left however the location bar spans out and shrinks according to the width of the other GUI items on that toolbar). The last is the tab bar which I had ten tabs open the last time I shut it down. I could probably slim off about 10 pixels if I dictated the minor details though I have all the functionality I need in quick single-click access that takes up a reasonable amount of space on a very small screen.

    Now I'm not saying having the tab bar being able to merge on to other toolbars is a bad thing…but this beta is whoa…no. It's static, it's stuck, and at 1280×1204 I can only access 12 tabs by a single click at any given time. That might work fine for some people who only check email and log on to Facecrook though there are a few of us who wish the make the most use out of a reasonable amount of space (without the GUI bleeding a few pixels here and there to waste like 40-60 pixels of space overall).

    To move GUI items there should be a lock/unlock feature (like on XP's taskbar when you want to move the quick-launch toolbar but that is ANOTHER useful feature removed in Windows 7). The favorites toolbar, the address bar, the search bar, the file menu, EVERYTHING needs to be able to be VERTICALLY positionable as well as merging multiple items on to the SAME toolbar if the user so chooses.

    THAT is how the GUI defaults SHOULD be for the majority non-technical users as well as how it should be CUSTOMIZABLE for the tech-savvy who are and have the full right to complain about wasted pixels.

    …or you guys could just blindly copy other browsers?

    It's up to you folks to make it or break it and I'm truly not trying to troll though you guys totally broke it. On the bright side I REALLY like the work on the standards compliance so at least keep that stuff up. I do wish to see you guys make a successful product because there are a few of things IE can and does do better then other browsers. If I can customize it and get better functionality for browsing out of it then Firefox then you'll get me to switch. Here's hoping the IE team is listening.

  133. ieblog says:

    @Drake @Aethec and others – Misrepresentation is not allowed in the IEBlog comments.  We are well aware of who is legitimately posting from the IE team.  All other comments claiming to be from Microsoft will be moderated.  

    There is an open comment policy on this blog.  You are not required to sign in and comments are published immediately.  We believe this is the best way to foster open communication.  Please do not force us to change these policies.

  134. Ben50 says:

    Where is the IE icon in the top-left corner so I double-click to close it? Well, at least the title bar is still there even when the maximized, that makes sense…

  135. EricLaw [MSFT] says:

    @Ben50: Even though the icon isn't shown at the top-left, you can still use the system menu. At the top-left of the IE window, single-click to show the system-menu, or double-click to close the window. (The same trick works in Windows Explorer in Windows 7).

  136. Ben50 says:

    So the testers did mainly zoom and print pages? Do you hire the testers from elderly homes? If so, then that's very nice from you because many people there probably don't know what to do and also pretty wise because the population is aging and living longer.

  137. Ben50 says:

    @Eric: Great. Thank you!

    Another thing, you should probably talk to those Live guys, these large subdomains are problematic, in the first screenshot the domain is invisible, that's quite problematic IMHO.

    Or how about _always_ showing the domain and adding ellipses in front between protocol and domain if needed, e.g. "https://e0……&quot; ?

  138. cries says:

    hi i have windows xp and it is out of free space my best friend told me to ask on here how can i free up alot of free space my computer has 199MB of free space left 🙁 there is no programs that we use and i use ccleaner to clean the temp everyday PLEASE HELP. or i may remove xp and put linux on it 🙁 i love you so much microsoft

  139. Ubuntu says:

    @cries hi! Microsoft Windows xp is dieing on your computer we heard….go to and download our FREE! OS its is fast and awesome and lighter than windows xp is.

  140. XP says:

    I don't wish to troll but I am getting extremely tired and frustrated of this simplifying trend at Microsoft beginning with Vista/7. I feel like crying for so many features I could do in IE8 can't be done in IE9. Microsoft is the only company I know that consistently makes its products less functional and less customizable as time goes on. Remember IE team that you made a loyal IE user extremely unhappy by removing features.

  141. AntiLuddite says:

    @ JabCreations

    I'm sorry, but your proposals are completely rubbish. The default IE9 UI is absolutely gorgeous and productive. The File Menu is gone forever from all modern softwares. It's never ever coming back. But while I like the tabs to be in the same row as the address bar, I think there should be an option to move the tabs to the bottom and/or to the top for those who prefer it that way.

    And, who said the quick launch feature has been removed from Windows 7? You can pin as many apps as you like to the Windows 7 taskbar. Windows 7 is a million times better than XP in every respect.

  142. Drake says:


    Yes, it's all well-and-good to say "Misrepresentation is not allowed in the IEBlog comments.  We are well aware of who is legitimately posting from the IE team."  Trouble is WE don't always know, your audience.  A simple change to the style of posts from genuine employees would make this so much easier.  How about highlighting the background area in a light blue shade for example?


    Removing the old Application Menu icon and titlebar seems to be an upcoming trend.  Better get used to it, sadly.  I don't understand why it's being done either, though as EricLaw said, at-least the functionallity is still there (though, weirdly, none of the Windows Live Wave 4 applications, released earlier this year, have followed this style).


    Do a Disk Cleanup and click the More Options tab once scanning is complete.  Then click the [Clean up…] button in the System Restore section to remove all but the most recent restore point.  That should free-up a fair bit of space.  Also consider going into Add or Remove Programs and see if there is any software you're not using you could remove.  Failing both of those — storage is so cheap now (~£50 for 1TB USB hard-disk; ~£60 for 1TB internal SATA hard-disk) why not just buy more?  Or burn some old data you're not using onto DVDs then delete.  Going to Ubuntu over this reason alone would be silly — no operating system can stop you running out of drive space if you choose to have loads of files!  (Except, perhaps, Google Chrome OS and suchlike with "unlimited cloud storage" — but we'll have to wait and see on those.)


    Not forgetting you *can* restore the Quick Launch toolbar with a simple right-click, Toolbars > then New toolbar… then just browse to where the Quick Launch folder is located in your AppData folder.  Has everyone suddenly lost the ability to use Google or Bing thesedays to research an issue?

  143. Cries says:

    @Drake  i did that but nothing works 🙁 i have 2GB of ram….i only have ie8 installed on it please help

  144. Blah says:

    Drake, there will always be lying children trolling the blog. The IE team has better things to do than waste development time trying to set colors or other silliness.

    Fake comments don't live long and they're always obvious anyway.

  145. Shiv Kumar says:

    Each tab should have it's own address bar. (So we can see th complete url of the page we're on)

    Tabs need to gaps between them (looks crowded now)

    One should be able to close a tab without having to first make it active (very painful currently)

    The new tab button should have a "+" on it so it's clear what it is

    I don't think a minimalistic UI is the direction to go in. A functional UI is far better.

  146. Tabs lover says:

    hi i hate TABS next to the url bar sooo MUCH!!! so i switching to google chrome

  147. Average User says:

    Mandating UI decisions based on how people use a browser *today* doesn't anticipate how they might use it in the future.  Usage of features like tabs will go up as users continue to get more savvy and increase their use of the web.

    Regardless of what the default option is, configuration should allow tabs to drop down onto their own line.  A full-width address bar is equally important.

    Additionally, as many others have suggested, the user base for IE9 will be huge regardless of its market share.  Also, many of those users (corporate) will have no real option to switch to another browser, so configurable options like these can offer a huge boost to productivity and browser enjoyment.

    I appreciate Microsoft's products and the quality level they provide, but I've definitely wasted significant amounts of time and endured a large amount of frustration because some very simple configuration points were missing.  Hopefully this doesn't have to be the case with this issue– and I'm clearly not a trivial minority here.

  148. Internet explorer's biggest fan says:

    hello! i am still running windows xp and i tweaked internet explorer 6 to have TABS and for it to support all the stuff ie9 will and it runs way Fast 😀 i <3 ie6 it was the classic webbrowser by my friends that i love that is Microsoft people 🙂

  149. Aethec says:

    @Shiv Kumar >> To close any tab, middle-click on it. Much better than having to click the small X.

    @ ieblog >> Could you please use thumbnails for images when you post huge ones ? Every time I want to see the comments, I have to load 5 huge PNG images…I can understand why you don't use JPEG, but I think thumbnails are a good option.

    PS: By the way…you answer when we're talking about the [MSFT] stuff, but not when people ask for tabs on bottom or other things. I appreciate the fact that the IE team is now more open about what they do, and think answering to important questions/requests such as tabs placement is the way to go…too many people are left wondering what you plan to do.

  150. RSS says:

    Also, IE team, has the RSS platform team abandoned IE? Why absolutely no enhancements to the RSS platform in IE9? IE is one of the best and most convenient RSS readers but still RSS support is nascent. Please at least support the feed URI scheme in IE9. I request the IE team to read…/Windows_RSS_Platform. By now, IE should have caught up with RSS readers so we don't need them any more (reading feeds in a browser is so much more natural and convenient).

  151. Bhushan says:

    Some comments on  IE9 Beta…

    1. Back button is overlapped, higher opacity in buttons.

    2. Command bar button cannot be set in Image only modes. Eg: Page, Tools, Safety

    3. A command bar button for downloads is missing. Download should be accessible easily.

    4. Download page requires a place to specify number of simultaneous downloads, queing of downloads, priority of downloads.

    5. A light drop shadow like boder between tab titles and page makes pages to appear back of the tabs.

    6. Smooth scrolling effects for pages and sliding animation when a new tab is opened.

  152. Manuel says:

    The address bar is related to the tab content so it should be included into the tab area (like Firefox 4, Chrome, Opera ecc. do). Keeping the address bar outside the tab area is a serious conceptual error.

  153. Siddharth says:

    How about a browser with the features like one on this?

    Will someone like an interface this minimal?

    Please comment to give feedback.

  154. hdw says:

    Viewing full screen is the BEST  way to view the web ,The not so necessary UI elements are hidden but I can get them back easily with a move of the mouse.

     the only problem is that one cannot use  the taskbar easily while in full screen.

    PLEASE Give  an option to keep the taskbar visible while in fullscreen

  155. chorizo says:

    Absolutely agree with "RSS". Reading news right in the browser is so much more convenient than having an extra feed reader.

  156. shortcut says:

    hi i think you could hide the url bar if users want to you should add to your webbrowser on my webbrowser which you can use this if you want. press Alt U to see the url bar and Tabs 😛

  157. belal ahmed says:


  158. another ie9 user says:

    how about integrating the URL/search bar into the active tab? that would save a lot of space…although a site description/title might be hard to fit in if all the space is used to show the web address…

  159. 6205 says:

    another ie9 user @ page description could be above the tab

  160. mentas says:

    CSS3 Support in Internet Explorer 9

  161. Emil says:

    Hey the new IE is not support sis graphic cards

    I install on my laptop and on the desktop but on laptop is not appear nothing ,only blank page

    but work

  162. Blegos says:

    "the tabs absolutely MUST have their own row" +1

  163. KenB says:

    Like others, i want more room for tabs and the One Bar.  I'd also like to see the full page title.  Finally, I agree with the IE team that vertical space is at a premium and thus I don't want to expand the non-content area.  I think that it can all be done fairly easily.

    Some have suggested combining the reload and stop buttons while others have said that stop is sometimes needed after after a page loads.  That got me to thinking about what things aren't needed simultaneously.  The page title is only needed when a page is loading or loaded, but not when a user is typing a URL.  The OneBar only needs to be big when the user is typing, but not when the browser is loading or displaying a page.  (The OneBar does need to show during those times, but it only needs to show the domain being loaded/viewed.)

    So, I propose moving the OneBar into the title line to allow the tabs to occupy the line below.  (Note, the tabs need to shrink about 2 pixels in the vertical to keep everything within 68 pixels.)  Once a page is loading or loaded, the OneBar would shrink to the width needed to show only the domain of the page and the HTML title of the page will show to the right of the shortened OneBar.  Because the OneBar would generally take up only a small portion of the title bar, the browser would still be easily movable by dragging from almost anywhere along the top of the window.

    If the user clicks in the OneBar, it would expand rightward, sliding over the title; also, the text of the OneBar would be the full URL instead of just the domain name.  While is sounds a bit odd to change the contents of the OneBar, the proposed behavior is consistent with how the file Explorer works in Windows 7 — clicking changes from the "friendly" view to the actual pathname.  (The added advantage here is that those who can't distinguish between the black text of the domain and the gray text of the rest of the URL would be aided by having the compressed OneBar show only the domain — this is a usability win for those with contrast difficulties.)

    My image editing skills are pretty bad, but here's my attempted mock-up:…/OneBarTitle.png

  164. TJ says:

    I'm a 13 year ex Windows administrator and all I can say is ugh! You guys are really ruining your products with the horrendous UI redesigns. Just like Windows 7 and its dreadful taskbar, IE9 is horrible UI design!!! At least if you're going to make such changes, allow us power users to revert back to "classic" mode! I'll be sticking with Windows XP and IE8 until support ends in 2013, then I'm off to open source! 🙁

  165. CvP says:

    @TJ: go off to open source now. nobody is holding you if you don't like win7. WinXP is a PoS compared to Win7. period.

    and obligatory, "the tabs absolutely MUST have their own row" +1

  166. Grant Galitz says:

    Great job IE team.

    I really look forward to playing around with IE9 (Alas I have a Mac that hasn't been bootcamped with windows yet).

    I have an emulator that runs at full speed in Firefox 4, Google Chrome, and Safari, but runs super-slow in IE8.

    I hope it can run full speed in IE9.

    It's a GameBoy Color emulator:

  167. Robert Varga says:

    Great work indeed. Address bar + tabs in 1 row is super sexy and just works for me. More space for web page is something netbook users like my girlfriend really want.

    Great, great, great. KUDOS TO IE TEAM!

  168. mr.Tabs says:

    hi i guess internet explorer will be different and i like different cause google chrome, opera, safari, firefox have TAbs on its own row and its to Original and internet explorer is differnet love ie9 i am ex- firefox user i am now a ie9 beta User

  169. vinod says:

    cut your ego. place tabs over address bar. hate it when they are placed next to address bar.

    close tab button should be visible on hover. why do we need to click on the tab and then close??? loved your speed results on js, gpu and acid3 results. u guys can beat chrome and firefox by providing devs to build addons to IE.

  170. Developer says:

    hi think you guys should make a internet explorer 9.1 and a 9.2 and a 9.3 and so on and so but with faster speed and more bugs fixed after the 9.0

  171. pmbAustin says:

    I think it's all well and good, these changes you're making.  As defaults, certainly.  But you realyl, really MUST provide options for the rest of us who aren't the main target… the power users.

    Things I really want to see as options:

    1) Allow me to specify that tabs should get their own row


    3) You allow flipping the reload/stop buttons to the other side (close to the forward/back)… why not allow moving the favorites/home buttons too?


    5) You give the ability to have favorites docked open to the side.  With wide-screen monitors, this is useful for those of us that use 'favorites' a lot.  How about letting tabs bet docked to the side too?  Keep the orientation the same, just stack them vertically down the side (I tend to have LOTS of tabs open)


    7) Show the 'close' button on the tab when hovering over it


    9) The history drop down list (click and hold on the Back button) and the quick tabs feature need to be more obviously discoverable and easily used.  At least as an option.


    Flexibility in the UI is one of the things that IE is seriously lacking, and one of the things a lot of people I know cite as their main reason for not using IE.  Allowing more customization is a good thing.  If you cannot do it in IE9.0, I hope you can do it in IE9.1 (which will be released less than six months after IE9.0, right?  You're going to HAVE to work harder at doing more frequent releases in order to keep up!)

    And I'm not sure if you can tell from my list, but I absolutely loathe the combined "one box"… I hate that my browsing history is mixed with searching history, and search terms aren't preserved through page navigations.  It's a lot more work, a lot more ambiguous, more difficult to select the search provider, and just a metric ton of annoyances compared to the old way.  At the very least, give me an option so that I can configure a separate search box.  Hell, make it a tool bar (along with the tabs), so I can position the things where I want… address and search one one line, followed by favorites bar (yes, I use it), followed by tabs.  Or something.

    Give me the choice and let me be the boss!

  172. Miguel Web Developer says:

    Please… html5 forms for IE

  173. FF says:

    I have 15 tabs open right now. I probably never have fewer than 6. Undoubtedly, your usage telemetry is not accurate for power users, since they are smart enough to turn off or block such "phone home" features.

    "the tabs absolutely MUST have their own row" +1

    "Show the 'close' button on the tab when hovering over it" +1

    Allow customizing the button layout.

    Just make these things options, with the defaults as you have them. Problem solved.

  174. drd says:

    Debunking IE Teams measurement argument and thus the basis for having tabs and other bars locked into same row. See also the Postscript in the end which posits existence of a confounding variable in the stats.…/fadf7afd0e794460a17a9e00002d428b

  175. Andrew Morton says:

    Work all you want on GPU features. I won't use IE9 unless you allow to customize the UI so I can have my tabs in one row. Oh, and a proper adblocker, decent session management and optional mouse gestures would be nice additions too. These features are not so hard to implement, and if a small Norwegian company that produces a browser with 1%-2% desktop market share can do it, why is it so hard for Microsoft? Just give us users what we want, or you will keep losing market share. Your call.

  176. Bad Assumptions says:

    <<not so hard to implement>>

    Yeah, your opinion on development costs are credible.

    << small Norwegian company >>

    That "small Norwegian company" has one product, and a development team larger than IE's.

    <<with 1%-2% desktop market share >>

    Every wonder /why/ Opera only has 1-2% marketshare, despite the existence proof (Chrome, Firefox) that getting 5% is no mean feat? Turns out that most people want more  from their browsers than a bunch of "features".

  177. Andrew Morton says:

    "Yeah, your opinion on development costs are credible."

    I'm assuming if someone can afford them, it's Microsoft.

    "That "small Norwegian company" has one product, and a development team larger than IE's."

    See above.

    "Every wonder /why/ Opera only has 1-2% marketshare, despite the existence proof (Chrome, Firefox) that getting 5% is no mean feat? Turns out that most people want more  from their browsers than a bunch of "features"."

    Mozilla knew how to take advantage of IE's weaknesses, Opera didn't. And people never forgave them their original sin of being not only closed source, but not freeware as well. If people didn't want more from their browsers, Chrome and Mozilla wouldn't have devised extensions for their browsers, and IE would have never lost maket share. Your logic makes no sense whatsoever

  178. Web Developer says:

    Are you gomers going to support PNGs yet? Or will we web-standards developers keep having to make exceptions for your 'behind the times' browsers…

  179. Rob Lund says:

    Here is another vote for tabs on a separate row, and a larger address bar.

  180. goxy says:

    My IE9 beta experience is bad.

    I have a brand new ION2 based  HTPC which can not play video demos from…/Default.html. Slide show is also s too slow, about 22fps.

    The reason is because GPU use bottlenecked PCIEx1 port, so every bad optimized application like IE9 that use both CPU and GPU for graphics computation have the problem.

    Even IE9 has builded from scratch ist a not GPU optimized.

  181. Andrija says:

    @Cavalary +1

    tabs need dedicated row, this is stupid

  182. IE Surfer says:

    IE9 could've been a great product.  HTML5, hardware accelerated graphics (really cool!!!), performance improvements, we finally get a download manager…. BUT the UI changes just sucked the greatness out of this otherwise great product.  Innovation purely based on numbers is not innovation.

    Yes, IE 8's UI was cluttered IMHO, but there were SOOO many ways to improve this other than the non-clever approach of forcing the tabs into the same row as the address bar.  It's a great idea if you only have or or two tabs, but don't force it on those who want more just because we can make the window wider.

    And I do have a wide screen monitor, but I like to have 2 IE windows side by side rather than making one of them wide because, most web content is not that wide.  And even if it can be (like this blog post), nobody likes to read text with lines that wide.  Please reconsider, otherwise, MS will look ilke 1) they don't listen, and 2) they don't innovate!

    We may be in the minority, but we are the most vocal and essentially drive the reputation of the product.

  183. IE tester says:


    "the tabs absolutely MUST have their own row" +1

    Maybe users don't have many tabs opened every time, but when I search something in google and open results in separate tabs it's good to see full URL and have more space for tabs. In such case 2-3 tabs is not enough.

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