Proceed With Caution on Firefox 4.0 upgrade

Pioneers get all the arrows in early upgrades to new browsers – Internet Explorer 9 and Firefox 4

 
Upgrading to either Internet Explorer 9 or Firefox 4 is not without some trauma. They say pioneers catch all the arrows.

I’ve been writing about the new browsers for a few months when they were in beta.
Upgrading to the final versions seemed like a cinch but both IE 9 and Firefox upgrades were time wasting examples of how to not release new software.
Internet Explorer 9 is off my computer now, not intentionally but it is gone.
Firefox 4 is working but did the improvements make up for the days lost tracking down problems?

Internet Explorer 9
I tried an early beta of IE 9 in September 2010 and it wasn’t ready for prime time. By early March 2010 that bad memory seemed like ancient history. 
The Release Candidate of Microsoft’s Internet Explorer 9 was fast, stable and reasonably bug-free. So I wrote it up in How to make your computer 5 times faster without spending a cent
It was faster and could display cool HTML 5 pages. The installation was simple and nothing broke on my computer.
The final release was another matter. I don’t know how Microsoft botched the final version but it was noticeably slower and an unpleasant experience. Web pages were taking more than a minute to load.
Saving a few milliseconds in rendering graphics didn’t make up for the feeling I was working on a iPad or iPhone, which are about the worst way to browse the web. Internet Explorer 9 wins speed race then stumbles
Sometimes, upgrades will leave old code on your computer so I tried to remove IE9 and 8 from mine. Since both are embedded elements of Windows, that meant a quick visit to Control Panel and Turn Windows Features On Or Off.
Unfortunately once IE 9 was turned off, it could not be re-installed with a fresh copy. Windows gave the warning that a newer version of IE 9 was already installed.
I’m sure there is a Registry edit that will fix that problem but how much time is it worth?  My computer no longer has Internet Explorer 9.
If anyone knows how to remove and re-install IE 9 – I’d appreciate knowing the right way to do it.

Firefox 4
The installation of Firefox 4 was not without similar hiccups but the end result was better.
After installing the final version of Firefox 4, most of my plugins stopped working. That meant downloading the usual Adobe Acrobat reader, Bit.ly sidebar etc. That wasn’t a real hardship.
Then Firefox refused to save login id’s and passwords. The problem was reported and a real solution wasn’t available.
Assuming the problem might be left-over code, I uninstalled both Firefox 3.6 and Firefox 4 beta which had been left on my computer after the upgrade.  Then I used CCleaner to clean out the registry for references to Firefox.
When I re-installed Firefox 4, it looked totally different which told me the first upgrade was using some parts of the old code.  Now I had the clean interface that the upgrade promised.
In the process, I lost all my preferences, bookmarks etc. which took a couple of hours to replace. Some plugins are still not ready for Firefox 4. I lost Add-To-Any for awhile but gained a new Bit.ly sidebar that does a better job.
Sometimes cleaning house allows you to find out what’s new and improved.
Firefox 4 is working reasonably smoothly but for the less adventurous I’d recommend waiting until the bugs are out unless you have some time to spend. It’s not a slam dunk upgrade, but what is?

By Stephen Pate, NJN Network

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