Details Emerge On IE 7 Beta 2

Among the features demonstrated Tuesday at a Microsoft Professional Developer Conference presentation, then outlined on the IE team's blog, were Quick Tabs and Page Zoom.

The former, wrote Chris Wilson, an IE 7 developer, lets users view and manage tabs -- IE 7 sports a tabbed interface, similar to the one Firefox and Opera have had for some time -- with a live thumbnail view of all tabs. Page Zoom, meanwhile, allows users to zoom in on text and graphics of Web pages.

Other new features, said Wilson, will include something he dubbed "ActiveX Opt-in," that will set most ActiveX controls (even those already installed) as disabled by default. Users can selectively enable controls as necessary.

ActiveX controls take the blame for many of IE's security woes, with both malicious code and spyware/adware using ActiveX, and vulnerabilities in it, to install themselves on PCs.

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Microsoft's IE team, said Wilson, is also working with's A9 search development group on an update to the latter's OpenSearch standard -- OpenSearch 1.1 -- that will "allow users to easily populate their search engine of choice" in IE 7.

Wilson also reiterated how Microsoft is stressing a protected mode for IE when on Windows Vista (but not Windows XP), which will reduce security threats, particularly "drive-by installs" used by malicious Web sites, by isolating the browser from all other applications and processes, and making it impossible for IE to write to any file without user consent.

The first betas of Internet Explorer 7 -- in two versions, one for Vista, the other for XP -- were released the last week of July. Beta 2's release date has not been set; Microsoft has only said it would be later this year.