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IE 7 bugs abound

Possible security flaw is found; preview release doesn't work with McAfee; and some security tools block browser installation.

People didn't lose any time in finding bugs in the latest preview release of Internet Explorer 7.

It's been but a day since Microsoft publicly released a test version of Internet Explorer 7, but Internet news groups and blogs are already teeming with bug reports. Also, one security researcher claims he found a security vulnerability in the new Web browser.

Issues reported several times include compatibility problems with McAfee security software and trouble installing the browser due to unnamed anti-spyware and antivirus tools. Some testers also said using certain features or surfing to specific Web sites caused the browser to hang or crash.

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Video: A look at Internet Explorer 7
Microsoft releases beta of latest browser

Microsoft made a preview version of IE 7 beta 2 publicly available on Tuesday, but the product is not fully baked, the company has said. The release is meant to give developers and IT professionals a chance to test-drive the software and give feedback to Microsoft so that the final version, expected later this year, and upcoming test releases, will have no, or at least fewer, issues.

The public preview release of IE 7 includes many of the features Microsoft has been touting for months. Among them are new security and privacy protection capabilities such as mechanisms designed to combat phishing attacks, spyware and other threats.

But browser testers may already be at risk, according to security researcher Tom Ferris. Late Tuesday, Ferris released details of a potential security flaw in IE 7. An attacker could exploit the flaw by crafting a special Web page that could be used to crash the browser or gain complete control of a vulnerable system, Ferris said in an advisory on his Web site.

Microsoft confirmed the security flaw and said it crashes IE, but is not exploitable by default to commandeer a PC, a company representative said on the IE team blog late Wednesday. The bug is scheduled to be fixed before the next public IE 7 release and was actually already found in Microsoft's own code review and analysis, the representative wrote. A Microsoft spokeswoman confirmed the authenticity of the blog post.

Also, the preview version of IE 7 clashes with some security software. Users reported that after they had downloaded and installed the beta, McAfee security software failed to display any text or graphics in their Windows when opened. Reinstalling the applications had no effect, according to the user reports.

"I have McAfee Internet Security Suite on my system, and when IE 7 is loaded, neither work," one tester wrote in Microsoft's news groups. "Surely...getting the system to work with an industry leader is a small price to pay."

Microsoft acknowledged the compatibility issues with the McAfee software in a response on the IE team blog. "The McAfee issue is known, and we'll work on this for a future build," a Microsoft representative wrote on the blog.

McAfee also said it is working to fix the problem with IE 7. "While the issue affects the way in which users view the McAfee interface, McAfee's automated protection is still running and protecting the user's systems," a company representative said in an e-mailed statement.

Other people had trouble installing IE 7 altogether, reporting an error during installation that stated a file called "msfeeds.dll" could not be found. This problem stems from compatibility issues with unnamed security applications, a Microsoft representative wrote in a blog post.

"Some anti-spyware and antivirus software is known to interfere with IE 7's ability to install," a Microsoft representative wrote. The software maker offers a work-around and otherwise recommends users wait until a future IE 7 release that it hopes will address the problem.