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IE9 RC: Where’s that download manager?

Internet Explorer 9 (IE9) has at last introduced a nice download manager, as shown below.

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This was long needed, since in IE8 there were cases were downloads with the same filename, when launched from different windows, could get corrupted. The download manager will also show resume download button when needed. IE8 could also resume downloads, but you had to use the exact download URL again for an interrupted download, which was not always easy to find, since some sites generate unique download URLs – especially those that are ad-funded and want you to visit their download page to see the ads, instead of clicking a direct download URL to get the file.

Note that the small icon with the shield that you see above on the left for “Insert Code for Windows Live Writer.msi” means IE’s SmartScreen filter has checked that file and doesn’t find some threat it knows. It is shown upon hovering over an entry’s row with the mouse.

The GUI looks simple and pretty in my opinion (much cleaner than the one in Mozilla I think), but still has some glitches, for example you can resize the columns, they get only resized automatically when you resize the window (sad to break UI behaviour that users have grown to expect thanks to Windows – do vote on this item to get fixed at https://connect.microsoft.com/IE/feedback/details/644796/download-manager-collumns-are-not-resizeable).

Speaking of unexpected UI behaviour (breaking the “least user surprise” rule), another annoying UI glitch is that when you press ALT+TAB at the download manager to navigate to other window, or click some other window to give focus to it (including the IE webpage window) and then bring back to front / give focus back to the download manager again, it scrolls its downloads list back to the top! Obviously it shouldn’t, however when showing the manager from the Tools/View downloads menu etc. it should still scroll to top maybe and also when invoking it from the download started/completed prompt it should scroll to show the specific download item in the list. Reported it too via Help/Send feedback menu, please vote on that too: https://connect.microsoft.com/ie/feedback/details/645072/download-manager-window-scrolls-view-to-top-when-focused-brought-to-front

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There are other IE9 RC GUI glitches related to the download manager too, checkout and vote my related feedback at: https://connect.microsoft.com/IE/feedback/details/645058/view-downloads-has-no-icon-in-command-bars-tools-menu-and-is-missing-from-customize-toolbar-dialog. The issues mentioned there are:

  1. The tools menu shown with the GEARS button at the right side of the screen on the same row as the address bar looks pretty bare with no icons at all. Is this a design style? Why have the icons’ area at the left of that menu then if it is left empty?
  2. Can’t add View downloads to commands toolbar. First of all, it has no icon in command bar’s Tools menu and moreover, it’s not available at the Customize commands toolbar dialog (Right click Tools menu and select “Customize>Add-Remove commands” to show that dialog)

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P.S. Notice the SEO (Search Engine Optimization) trick used at those Microsoft Connect URLs above? They have a unique ID, while at the end they also have text from the title of the entry (of course this practice can lead into ugly and long encoded URLs if the title is not in English). That allows the URL to be more obvious to humans and for search engines to better index those URLs when mentioned on other webpages. It even allows for the original article to be renamed without a problem, since you can type anything after the slash that follows the unique ID number and it still goes to the same article fine.

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