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Five things average users will love about Internet Explorer 9

Now that the initial hands-on reports are out, and the beta download for Internet Explorer 9 is publicly available, IE loyalists (and those who simply didn't realize there were other browsers) can finally get a taste of the competitive, fast, modern browser. IE9 has a lot of great features that more savvy users know about, understand, and love -- like solid HTML5, faster JavaScript engine, and hardware acceleration -- but there's also a lot for the Average Joe to love, too!

The new address bar
By combining the address bar and search bar (as Google did in Chrome), there's no longer the question of "where do I type X to get to Y?" There's one box. Just type in it. At last, there will be no more "I typed in the box, and all I see is a Google page with a bunch of writing!"
The new download manager
Ever downloaded a file and forgot where you saved it? Everyone has at one time or another, and a download manager is a very good way to eliminate that frustration. Internet Explorer 9 features a floating download manager (like the one in Firefox), which maintains a list of all your downloads so that you don't have to sift through your folders to find that file you just finished downloading.

The list is even searchable, which makes short work of locating a specific file in a lengthy download history.
IE9 manhandles pesky add-ons
A lot of the Internet Explorer users that I support wind up with a handful of toolbars and search add-ons installed -- and they rarely know how it happened. A good number of those add-ons make IE needlessly slow, and they can be downright irritating.

Older versions already featured a simple interface to manage and disable add-ons, but IE9 takes things a step further. It will alert users when a new add-on installs and offer to intervene once total "add-on time" exceeds a specified number of seconds. As you can see, even Microsoft's own add-ons can cause a great deal of startup lag -- but Internet Explorer 9 is happy to disable them for you with minimal fuss.

Beautiful fonts, even when zoomed
One unexpected discovery I made while testing Internet Explorer 9 is that it's really good at zooming. The image above was captured while zoomed too 400%, and the type looks incredibly crisp and readable. For older users -- who traditionally haven't been quick to use an alternative browser -- this is going to be a very welcome change. Several of my customers browse with their zoom set to 200%, and IE9 definitely handles the magnification better than previous versions.

The new New Tab page
So long,! Internet Explorer follows the lead of Opera and Chrome by displaying your most-visited sites in two rows of five. In addition to making it easier to click through to favorite sites from the get-go, the page also includes buttons to reopen recently closed tabs or to relaunch the last browsing session.

Internet Explorer 9 is leaps and bounds ahead of its predecessors, and there's plenty inside to like -- no matter what kind of user you are.

Tags: browser, ie9, internet explorer 9, InternetExplorer9, microsoft