Home > Posts > Internet Explorer 9 and Windows 7 taskbar previews, a broken story

Internet Explorer 9 and Windows 7 taskbar previews, a broken story

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Hello Microsoft, can you count? In the image above you can see the Windows 7 taskbar showing THREE (merged) icons/instances of Internet Explorer, although I only have ONE windows open (they seem to use multiple processes internally when you have many tabs, but why should the user care?). More importantly, in the popup shown when left-clicking the pinned Internet Explorer button, you can count 18 entries for open tabs, however in the Internet Explorer window there are many-many more open tabs.

This occurs both in Classic Windows theme and in Aero theme (using Windows 7 Ultimate – a courtesy of Microsoft to active testers of Windows 7 beta) and shows both when you see a list of titles (for many tabs) and when you’d see previews (shown when that bug makes it “THINK” you have few tabs – you might have lots more of course as shown above)

This brings to the surface the bad practice of some Microsoft teams on Microsoft Connect (former Product Feedback Center). They tend to close bug submissions very easily without checking who I the submitter (e.g. a current or former Microsoft MVP like me) and what is their past record of bug submission resolutions in all Microsoft products over the years.

I had submitted this issue in the past (sadly I currently can’t Connect to Microsoft Connect to locate it), only to see it soon closed as non reproducible without much effort to think why it might be happening (update: since I can’t find that feedback now that I made it to connect again – probably was together with some other tab-related feedback – I submitted it separately at https://connect.microsoft.com/IE/feedback/details/725397/ie9-bad-behaviour-with-multiple-tabs). For example, I believe IE chokes upon a frozen tab – e.g. one with some heavy JavaScript or Flash – and stops polling the other tabs for their title/preview etc., showing only some few as a result. Also it seems that counting IE processes as separate apps and merging them as three IE9 icons (when you only have one window with many tabs open) might play a role (might it be showing tab previews from only one of the IE9 processes?). Have they checked their source code if it is robust enough against such a scenario? Why do they feel they need to reproduce every bad software behavior reported first, instead of proactively act to be shielded against similar software behaviors?

Especially the many open tabs scenario that really makes IE9 crawl to its knees both in performance and usability, which is really sad given the effort Microsoft has spent on it. Not to speak of the many-many favorites (gathered over several years or from many synced machines – e.g via Windows Live Mesh) scenario and the very poorly designed, folder-based Favorites dialog which takes a long-long time to open up and has a miserable scrolling UI with no embedded Search filter.

Speaking of multiple tabs, in Mozilla Firefox you can set an option to remember tabs that were open at last application run so that you can shut down your PC and continue later. With IE9 only if it crashes it suggests to reopen previous tabs at next run, so unless you use the Add Current Tabs to Favorites (Folder) option of the very-very slow (if you have many favs like me) IE9 Favorites tab, you are forced to keep IE9 and your PC running if you want to checkout those multiple tabs you’ve opened, but don’t have the time to do it all in one go.

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  1. joseph
    2012/12/05 at 08:26 | #1

    Thanks for this post, i will try that.

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