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IE7 Beta Two, and running it side-by-side with IE6

The recently-released beta of IE7 is apparently ‘layout complete’, which means websites should render as they will in the final release (barring any major bugs, presumably). wongaBlog looks fine, and the text-just-not-appearing-sometimes IE6 bug is fixed – woohoo! Fun new features include (full list here):

  • Tabbed browsing – I’ve found it’s impossible to explain this to people without it sounding like, well, Windows. They just have to try it to see the advantages :-)
  • Alpha-channel PNGs (a type of image that allows transparency at full colour depths – try this page in IE6 and Opera/Firefox/IE7 to see what I mean)
  • CSS updates and fixes – just don’t get me started on IE6′s CSS problems
  • RSS support and a reader – this should be great at bringing feeds to the average user
  • Printing that works – it’ll resize to the paper, apparently(!)
  • Generally improved security (including ActiveX opt-in)

Unfortunately, IE7 overwrites IE6 on install. Whether you use Firefox, Opera, or whatever, you’ll know that sometimes you just have to run IE6 to get some broken site working properly. I can’t really afford to lose IE6 access, so this is a problem. It turns out that there is a way around it, but it takes a little setup. Using instructions from here, I did the following:

  1. Downloaded the IE7 Setup file
  2. Extracted the contents (using WinRAR)
  3. Created an ‘ie7launch.bat’ file as described on the site

Running ie7launch.bat launches IE7 in a ‘self-contained’ mode, and the batch file clears up all registry entries after it’s closed. It’s awkward, but far preferable to losing IE6 altogether, imho.

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