Microsoft's newly released Internet Explorer 8 beta 2 is generating plenty of buzz around the Web, but there are a few things you should know before you decide to install it. The update, released late Wednesday, comes with some caveats:
1) You might not be able to uninstall beta. Users of Windows XP who have Service Pack 3 installed may find it impossible to uninstall the new beta once the deed is done. It gets a little dicey, but here's the deal: If you installed SP3 after installing IE8 beta 1, your beta 2 installation will become permanent. Microsoft says you'll be able to upgrade as new versions come out, but you'll never be able to remove any of them from your system. There is a slightly complicated procedure you can do to avoid this: Uninstall SP3, then uninstall IE8 beta 1. Once you've done that, re-install SP3. At that point, you'll be able to do a clean install of IE8 beta 2 without having the lockdown issue.
2) You might not be able to upgrade to IE8 beta 2 directly. Users of Windows Vista who already have IE8 beta 1 will have to take several steps before getting the new beta 2. First, you'll need to manually uninstall beta 1. Second, you have to go here and manually install a system update. Then, you can move forward with the IE8 install -- though it will actually prompt you to accept a couple other system updates when you begin. Make sure you check the "Install the Latest Updates" option in the Setup Wizard.
3) You might not be able to use some of your existing programs. IE8 beta 2 is completely incompatible with both Visual Studio .Net version 7 and Windows Live Mail. Either program will fail to operate correctly and will likely just crash once IE8 beta 2 is installed. Microsoft says there is no workaround as of yet. You also won't be able to view on-demand movies in NetFlix, use the Google Toolbar, or use some versions of the Skype add-on.
All right... got all that? If you're still ready to roll, you can download Internet Explorer beta 2 here. Also, be sure to check out more expanded coverage of the product and its ups and downs below.