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Internet Explorer 5.5
Last updated: 7/13/00

Introduction.  Microsoft released version 5.5 of its Internet Explorer yesterday (7/12/00).  Having been through the "Beta Blues" with several early releases and not noticing much in the way of changes in recent releases, I waited until today to download it and give it a spin.  Gone are the days of yours truly sitting-up half the night with a dial-up Internet connection trying to get the latest and greatest from Microsoft.  

My dial-up MODEM has subsequently been replaced with a cable MODEM and IE download sites are apparently no longer choked with visitors trying to be the first to get the latest version of IE.  This download and install was very fast and clean.  I started at 10:47 this morning.  The  download of the small Setup program took seconds.  I fired-up the Setup program with the Windows Explorer.  It flashed the usual license agreement screen.  I accepted.  The next screen had a menu with two choices: "Install Now - Typical set of components" and "Install Minimal, or customize your components."  I took the first choice.  Ten minutes from the time I started Setup, all 19 MBytes of the software were downloaded (without pauses, etc.) and Setup was prompting for a Windows 98 reboot.  At 10:00 AM IE 5.5 was up and running.  Amazing!  Good job, Microsoft...

New Features.  Well, let me say at the outset, when I first fired-up IE 5.5 and after seeing the howdy stuff, I thought I there may have been an install problem, and that I was still looking at IE 5.01.  Clicking Help and selecting About Internet Explorer showed I was indeed running Version: 5.50.4134.0600.  So, one has to look hard to find the changes.  Well, not really hard... or is it?.  A short list is presented in the IE 5.5 Tour which can be entered from the Welcome screen (above) or from Help.  There isn't much sense in me repeating the detail in the list because it is mostly not up-to-date and you can download IE 5.5 and read it for yourself.  If you have ever read the list from IE 5.0, you may scratch your head and say to yourself, "that looks familiar."  That's because it is the same list as the one in the IE 5.0 Tour except the MSN Messenger Service is tacked-on.  That feature has been available for quite some time as a separate download.  So, what is new besides the version number?

Print Preview.  One thing, an important one, that wasn't on the list is a new Print Preview feature.  Just click File and Select Print Preview...  That pops-up a Window, like so many other Print Preview Windows in Microsoft applications, and shows you how a web page will look in print.  One can zoom in and out, view individual pages, etc., and print from the window.  This feature in and of itself may be worth the time to upgrade.  I also noticed when pages are printed from the Print Preview Page, my HP LaserJet II no longer drops characters of text in tables, as it did with previous versions of IE.

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