Microsoft's latest browser entry, Internet Explorer 7 offers numerous usability and security enhancements. With this release, they are trying to make sure competitors like Firefox or Opera cut into their market share. The minimum operating system requirements are Windows XP Service Pack 2, Windows XP 64-bit Edition or Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1.
One of the most welcome improvements in the user interface is the addition of tabbed browsing. They finally offer full featured tabbed support including tab groups and quick tabs. Tabbed groups can be saved to favorites or launched at start up.
Another handy feature is the presence of an instant search box field near the top of the main browser window. Instant search uses whichever provider the user has set as their default. A clean installation defaults to the Windows Live search engine.
Several printing changes enhance the user experience in this release. A print preview feature is available as well as a shrink to fit option. These additions ensure that what the user sees on the screen is what actually prints.
Internet Explorer 7 is Microsoft's first attempt at actively blocking phishing attempts. If enabled it provides real-time analysis on each web page by comparing it against a database of known phishing sites. Microsoft updates the list of phishing sites many times each day.
Microsoft has changed the default behavior of ActiveX sites as well. Historically, much of the malware on the web spread through ActiveX component installation. These components will no longer install be default. Users need to opt-in for each installation.
Overall, the new interface will be familiar to users of competing browsers and the security enhancements make for a much safer web experience.