Windows 7 is almost always sold in its 64-bit version on new computers, except on Netbooks have the 32-bit version as the hardware is not 64-bit compatible. So we are going to tests this on a Netbook. As always these tests are done uncached. I am running these tests on Windows 7 Home Premium 32bit on an HP Mini 1000 (1030NR) with 2 Gb of RAM and a 1.6Ghz Intel Atom. I will also state that there are come clear winners here unlike in Vista, because of the companies that embraced the new user interface in Windows.
1. Microsoft Internet Explorer 9.0.2 (9.0.8112.16421 32-Bit Edition) Microsoft really outdid themselves with this one. This is not the IE of the past, yes IE7 and IE8 were great improvements and brought many new features to Internet Explorer, but IE9 really shines. It is quick, and very standards compliant. The new user interface is clean but still keeps a lot of usefulness in it. Also, a few feature is being able to pin a website to the Task Bar in Windows 7 which is like putting a shortcut to the website there so you can launch it anytime, but be able to keep a different homepage for normal browsing. I have to give IE9 the number one in Windows 7 though because of recent independent tests which say that it is the most secure browser you can use. This shows the dedication the IE Team has to turn it around. You can download Internet Explorer 9 from here at http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/internet-explorer/downloads/ie-9/worldwide-languages
2. Mozilla Firefox 6.0 Like the new version of Internet Explorer, it has a less cluttered user interface. Also, it now has an orange Firefox button up at the top left. Clicking on this brings up a Start Menu-like menu with commands and options. The user interface feels like a combination of Opera and Chrome. What makes Firefox useful in Windows 7 is its integration with the new features in the Operating System. Firefox 6 supports both Jump Lists and Tab Previews (however Tab Previews has to be enabled in the options) This makes Firefox a great alternative browser Windows 7. Firefox 6 is very standards compliant and it screams on this Netbook it’s so fast. If you have moved from Firefox to Chrome, I may suggest you look at Firefox again and see if it doesn’t win you back. You can download Firefox 6 here at http://www.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/new/
3. Google Chrome 13.0.782.215 m Google has taken a dud of a browser and turned it into something that competes. In fact, its user interface is what has inspired other browsers to clean their interfaces up. The sad thing is that despite it being on its 13th revision it is not more mature than it is. One of the reasons this is not my number two browser for Windows 7 is that it does not support Tab Previews in Windows 7 making it not as useful since I use that feature a lot. (Come on Google, Get this done in an update already) The second reason is that on this Netbook it is not as fast as Firefox. It does, however, support Jump Lists which is quite handy. Every release it does get better and better, one of the newer features that is interesting is Instant, which tries to guess what page you are typing in the address bar and starts loading it before you are done typing. (this is not enabled by default and you will have to enable it, but it is impressive) It is fast and standards compliant making it a great contender. If you are not using Internet Explorer or Firefox, then you really should be using Chrome, if not take a look because it will surprise you. You can get Chrome from here at http://www.google.com/chrome
4. Apple Safari 5.1 (7534.50) Apple has always done things differently, and Safari is no exception. Originally designed as part of the Apple Mac OS X operating system, they have created a Windows version and have improved it over the years. It uses most of the standard Windows interface which will make Windows users feel at home . It does support Tab Previews in Windows 7 but not Jump Lists. (Come on Apple this is useful lets see this get added) Safari supports multiple tabs however for some reason Apple hides this in the user interface. To open a new tab you must click on the file button on the right side and on the menu that pops up click on New Tab. It is standards compliant however and does have some interesting features like Top Sites and Safari Reader (which is supposed to unclutter a webpage making it easier to read the information on it) The new version 5.1 seems to actually speed up the browser a little, but it is not as fast as Chrome. If you would like to check it out you can get it from here at http://www.apple.com/safari/
5. Opera 11.50 (Build 1074) When talking about Internet Browsers, there are not many that have been around as long as Internet Explorer and Opera. Opera 11 builds on an interesting browsing platform. While many Netscape fans have moved to Firefox because of the relationship between those two browsers, Netscape fans may feel more at home with Opera. It still tries to be more than just an internet browser and I would suggest any old Netscape users out there to check Opera out if you find yourself missing the old rival to Internet Explorer. Opera supports both Jump Lists and Tab Previews in Windows 7 and has its own Tab Preview like feature, if you mouse over a tab that is not being displayed, a preview of that tab will show up below the tab (pictured below). Opera is pretty quick and is standards compliant as well however I have had it display some websites incorrectly, including this one (hope to get that fixed soon). The interface features a red O button in the upper left side of the window. Clicking on this brings up a master menu of commands and options. Opera actually had this button before Firefox implemented their own. If you want a browser that is different then I suggest checking out Opera 11, wich you can do so here at http://www.opera.com/browser/
6. KDE Konqueror 4.7 Konqueror was originally made for the Linux operating system, but there is now a Windows version. Linux has been at the center of the open source community since its inception and some would say it created the open source world as we know it. That being said a group has decided to create a port of the KDE software from Linux for other operating systems, including Windows. The Windows version is a bit of Windows, and a bit of the KDE user interface from Linux. It is not as fast as any of the other browsers tested, and is not as compliant with current web standards as the other internet browsers but version 4.7 does render most websites very well. (myspace.com will crash it though) I also have not found out how to get it to work with Flash or Java on a Windows machine yet. But like most things out of the Linux and open source communities, it is a work in progress. It does do multiple tabs, but you have to click on File and then New Tab. It does not work with either Jump Lists or Tab Previews in Windows 7 at this time. It is interesting, and can only be installed with the KDE software installer, (no standalone installer at this point) You can check it out as well as a bunch of other free software here at http://windows.kde.org/download.php (as a note you should have the latest MS Visual Studio runtimes installed as well before installing Konqueror which you can get here)
With all the options for Internet Browsers out today, and how fast it changes, it can be hard to keep up on which one works better, however, I hope I have helped. For the browser tests all updates have been applied to Windows and all internet browsers, and I am using the latest versions of Flash, Adobe Reader, Silverlight, and Java. All temporary internet files and caches have been cleared with the use of Ccleaner (www.ccleaner.com) and from the programs themselves so all pages are loaded from the internet and not from local cache. For standards testing, I am using Acid3 at www.acid3.acidtests.org. I load up everyday web pages that people use and that I use in every browser and time how long it takes from hitting enter till the page has completed loading.
Go back to Part 4 for Windows Vista 32bit.
Go to Part 6 for Windows XP
Check out Part 7 for Windows 7 64-bit