IE8 Reliability Update for Windows 7 Beta Now Available

Posted by sumeethevans on February 26 2009, 6:08 AM. Posted in Windows 7.

We wanted to let you know that an update was released earlier today that will improve Internet Explorer’s reliability for users running the Windows 7 Beta. The update is now available via Windows Update, and can also be downloaded via Microsoft Update.

In this post we’ll discuss how we used the information that we’re receiving from Windows 7 Beta customers to determine the reliability fixes to include in this update.

We use the term “reliability” to broadly encompass all types of stability problems including crashes, hangs, memory leaks, etc. When we measure reliability we rely primarily on instrumentation built into Internet Explorer 8 and Windows 7. For example, the Customer Experience Improvement Program enables us to better understand how customers use our products, and Windows Error Reporting provides detailed information about the problems customers encounter. Shortly after the Windows 7 Beta became publically available these systems began to send information back to Microsoft.

After a week of monitoring this feedback we felt that we had reached a representative sampling of our customers. We found that approximately 10% of customers who had downloaded the Windows 7 Beta had experienced some type of reliability problem in IE8. We also found that a small number of users were experiencing crashes on a more regular basis and that about 1.5% of all Internet Explorer sessions had encountered a crash. This is relatively good for a pre-release version of Internet Explorer running on a beta operating system. We were also pleased to see that the new IE8 Crash Recovery feature was successfully helping customers recover from these crash situations 94% of the time.

One of the approaches that we use to analyze this data is called a failure curve. A failure curve is essentially a bar chart where each bar represents a unique failure (crash, hang, etc.). The height of the bar represents the number of occurrences in the last 30 days. Below you can see the failure curve for Internet Explorer 8 on Windows 7 Beta. The color indicates whether the failure is caused by Internet Explorer or a 3rd party toolbar or extension running inside of Internet Explorer.

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