FAQ: Meet Microsoft's new Internet Explorer

Can it beat back the competition, including Chrome, with IE8?

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Barth ran IE8 Beta 2 and rivals IE7 and Firefox 3.0 through a 10-site test, loading each site into a separate tab, then loading links from those sites into additional tabs before tallying up the memory hit.

IE8 Beta 2 grabbed 380MB on the 2GB-equipped Windows Vista test machine, while IE7 snatched only 250MB and Firefox 3.0.1, the most recent version of the open-source browser, took just 159MB.

"IE8 is epically porcine," said Barth last week in an interview. "Microsoft has gone to epic levels of bloat."

Later in the week, Barth reran the 10-site test to include Google's Chrome and reached the same conclusion: IE8 Beta 2 consumed more memory than Chrome, IE7 or Firefox.

How do I get rid of IE8? You can boot IE8 Beta 2 off the PC using the usual Windows uninstall process.

In Windows XP, for example, choose "Settings/Control Panel" from the Start menu, then launch "Add or Remove Programs." Check the "Show updates" box at the top, scroll until you locate "Windows Internet Explorer 8 Beta 2," then click on the "Remove" button. The process is similar in Vista.

Windows reverts to IE7, with any previously added security updates still in place.

Where do I go for IE8 support? Microsoft has set up free phone support for IE8 Beta 2. Staffed from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. PDT Monday through Friday, and 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. PDT on weekends, the toll-free line is available only to North American customers and will handle questions about installation, setup and usage, according to Microsoft's support site.

Also available: an FAQ and a user-to-user newsgroup.

Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.

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