Two Million Downloads Of Microsoft IE9 Beta

During its first two days of release, Microsoft’s Internet Explorer 9 beta was downloaded two million times. The company also warned that the ASP.Net flaw is being exploited

Microsoft’s Internet Explorer 9 beta was downloaded two million times during its first two days of release, according to the company. This falls in line with its other recent beta releases which have attracted multimillion-user audiences. User feedback collected from these releases is then used to fine-tune the final version of the software.

Businesses Advised To Wait

“In the first two days, over two million people worldwide downloaded IE9 Beta,” Roger Capriotti, a product management lead for Internet Explorer, wrote in a posting on The Windows Blog. “By comparison, when Internet Explorer 8 Beta launched in August 2008, we had 1.3 million downloads over the first five days.”

IE9 beta made its debut on September 15 at a San Francisco event. The new browser touts a streamlined user interface and adds features such as extensive support for HTML5. Microsoft designed the application to leverage the PC’s underlying hardware, most notably its graphics processor, for accelerated graphics and video. End-user features include a “Your Most Popular Sites” page, a “Manage Add-Ons” window that allows users to disable programs that slow down browser performance, the ability to “tear off” browser tabs and pin them to the taskbar in Windows 7, and a discrete notification bar.

However, only Windows 7 and Vista are IE9-capable; the new browser was never designed to run on Windows XP, despite the fact that it is still used by substantial numbers of consumers and businesses or Microsoft’s pledge to support the older operating system through April 2014.

Microsoft has recommended that business users considering a Windows 7 upgrade should wait until the final version of IE9 is ready, reportedly sometime in early 2011.

“Until the final code of Internet Explorer 9 is released to the web (RTW), we recommend businesses first move to Windows 7 Enterprise with Internet Explorer 8,” Rich Reynolds, general manager of Windows Commercial Product marketing, wrote in an earlier posting on The Windows Blog. “Thanks to the high degree of application compatibility between the two browser versions, any investments today in deploying Internet Explorer 8 will put you on the best path for transitioning to Internet Explorer 9.”

Flaw Workarounds

Microsoft also warned users it has seen “limited attacks” targeting an ASP.NET vulnerability that could potentially affect many Web applications. The disclosed exploit can be used against all types of ASP.NET applications, including both Web Forms and MVC, blogged Scott Guthrie, corporate vice president of the Microsoft Developer division.

Microsoft said it is working on a fix. In the meantime, a workaround can be achieved by enabling ASP.NET custom errors and mapping all error codes to the same error page. Instructions on how to do that are contained within a Microsoft advisory. The company’s SharePoint team warned that the issue affects SharePoint 2010 and SharePoint Foundation 2010, which require a slightly different workaround detailed here.