IE7 Already Losing Its Luster

Posted October 9th, 2006 by kyle

One thing I like to do with my apps is minimize the screen real estate consumed by menus and toolbars, and IE7 seemed to make improvements in this area. But after trying again and giving up on tabbed browsing and finding more efficient search methods, there doesn’t seem to be much reason to use IE7, and it turns out that IE6 is actually more space efficient anyway.

In IE7, the address bar always consumes a single row, a second toolbar that can’t be hidden consumes another row (even with tabbed browsing disabled), and any custom toolbars are forced onto a third row.

IE7 Toolbar

Firefox doesn’t fare much better:

Firefox Toolbar

Whereas with IE6, the menu bar and custom toolbars can be arranged on a single row and the address bar can also share a row with other toolbars.

IE6 Toolbar

That works out to about 40% more wasted space with IE7, even with the menu auto-hidden. So I decided to uninstall IE7. This is supposed to be possible via Add/Remove Programs, but there was no entry for it on my install (RC1). Fortunately, the release notes mentioned an alternative which did work:


Beware that IE7 will be pushed via Windows Update after its final release. You may want to install the blocker kit if you don’t want that happening to you. I should be safe since I have Automatic Updates configured to download but not install automatically and always review any updates before installing due to problems in the past.

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11 Comments on “IE7 Already Losing Its Luster”

  1. Ellen Says:

    I didn’t like IE7 for a number of reasons – it seemed slow, crashed a lot, and, like you, I didn’t like how it used space. I’ve never gotten along well with Firefox, but IE7 pushed me into taking a much closer look at Opera, which I’m liking a lot. It’s got some problems, but the configurability and a few of the features make it worth putting up with them. Being able to search among my bookmarks is great – I have something over 400, and while they’re organized, searching is much better for me.

  2. kyle Says:

    I might be using Opera too if it supported copy/paste properly: (see discussion in 2nd to last paragraph)

    Although I keep everything, including bookmarks, in Ultra Recall which has excellent search abilities.

  3. Ellen Says:

    I like text paste rather than RTF almost all the time, so I’m pretty happy with how Opera handles that. And while I keep more and more in Ultra Recall, my bookmarks haven’t gotten there quite yet.

  4. sam Says:

    It’s a little unfair to compare both IE’s without tabs open to Firefox WITH tabs open. I’d also recommend a lighter skin for Firefox if you’re that hungry for screen real-estate.

    What’s the custom toolbar that you’re such a big fan of?

  5. pdm2 Says:

    Have you tried downloading installing the developer toolbar for IE7.

    You may change your mind.

  6. BTreeHugger Says:

    I can’t speak for IE7, but I have my menus, add-on buttons, and basic things all on the top line in Firefox. Just right-click and drag icons around. It’s not hard. And you can use the Menu Editor add-on to remove the menus you don’t use and consolidate the rest into one or two of them if you want. I use the bookmark/scrapbook as sidebars, hooked up to alt-s and alt-b, only when I need them.
    When all is said and done, I have one file menu, a bunch of buttons I always use, and the address bar. The search bar is dead to me because it’s faster to visit “g keyword” or “y keyword” using bookmark shortcut keys then it is to find the search engine I want in the search bar.
    Also, the tab bar wasn’t in IE6, so of course it will take up less screen real-estate. Finally, I do not know what the second toolbar is in your pictures, but I am willing to bet that if it’s an add-on in Firefox you could drag the icons to your top bar like I do. If it’s a plugin of some sort, then maybe not.
    I’ve found that only Firefox lets me have a lot of things, and only in one or two bars. Opera comes quite close, but always has a stand-alone menu bar.. the rest is mashed in a second toolbar, and the tab bar under it. IE7 seems the same way to me.

  7. SBL Says:

    You CAN rearrange toolbars in Firefox, anything can go on the menu bar. I have one toolbar in Firefox that does everything. Right-click a toolbar, Customize, start dragging buttons. A well-made custom toolbar (google…) lets u drag its buttons too

  8. kyle Says:

    > What’s the custom toolbar that you’re such a big fan of?

  9. David Says:

    I’m glad I stumbled upon this blog (was searching for how Windows Update stores the info about what updates to ignore) because it got me to rearrange my firefox toolbar and now I have all the stuff on one tool bar with the tabs on a second. So overall, the firefox tool bars cosume less space than IE6 in its default state!

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