Internet Explorer 8 reached RTM status on 21 February 2009 and the final build version for the browser is 8.0.6001.18691 as it was prepared and passed to internal staff and partners. The distribution was also made available to TechNet/MSDN and Connect subscribers before a general release to web.
Internet Explorer 8 includes a number of new features, including the latest tools to customise and control the software via centralised policies. Additionally, the browser has new privacy and security features and integration with Microsoft's System Center Configuration Manager to ease deployment.
Here's a complete rundown of the latest features and enhancements of Internet Explorer 8:
IMPROVED SPEED, PERFORMANCE AND STABILITY
Internet Explorer 8, according to a recent benchmark test conducted in a Microsoft lab is the fastest browser over Google Chrome, Apple's Safari and Mozilla Firefox. The browser is more response with newer pages and tabs, opening up fast and in a reliable matter.
You can get all of the information that you care about most, in fewer steps such as accessing your favourite news sites and other online services. You can also reduce the steps to accomplish many common tasks and automate your access to real time information updates such as keeping track of your favourite sports team, news, weather...all within a single click.
IMPROVED PRIVACY AND SECURITY
Internet Explorer 8 has two features that will help protect your privacy and confidential information where ever you go on the internet:
- InPrivate - With a new security feature mode that debuted in Beta 2 called InPrivate, it consists of three main features: InPrivate Browsing, InPrivate Blocking and InPrivate Subscription. Just like similar privacy protection modes in Safari and Google Chrome, various news outlets have described InPrivate Browsing as "porn mode" while Informationweek mentioned it as a "Stealth Privacy Mode". When the InPrivate feature is enabled, Internet Explorer 8 will not save browsing, search history, cookies, form data and passwords. InPrivate will also automatically clear the browser cache.
SmartScreen Filter - With the SmartScreen Filter now integrated in Internet Explorer 8, if a user visits a website which has been labeled as an impostor or harmful, then the browser will show a screen prompting that the site could harm your computer and shouldn't visit it. From there, the user can either (1) visit the homepage in question (not recommended), (2) visit the previous site or (3) continue accessing the unsafe website (not recommended). The feature can be disabled using Group Policy. SmartScreen Filter is a extension of Internet Explorer 7's phishing filter and was previously known as Safety Filter in Beta 1.
FEATURES ADDED IN INTERNET EXPLORER 8
Here are a list of key features that have been added to Internet Explorer 8:
- Accelerators - Accelerators are a form of a selection-based search which will allow a user to invoke an online service from any other page using only the mouse. Actions such as selecting the text or other objects will give users access to the usable Accelerator services in which it can then be invoked with the selected object. This feature eliminates the need to copy and past content between webpages. Similarities have been drawn between Accelerators and the ever so controversial Smart tags, a feature experimented in Internet Explorer 6 Beta, but it was later withdrawn after criticism, even though it was later included in Microsoft Office XP. Accelerators were previously known as Activities prior to the second beta release.
Autocomplete changes - The address bar features domain highlighting for added security so that the top-level domain is shown in black whereas the others of the URL are grayed out. Domain highlighting cannot be turned off by users or websites. Other feature of the address bar include support for pasting multiline URLs and an improved model for inserting the selection caret and selecting words or entire URLs in the address bar.
Suggested Sites - This feature is described as a tool to suggest websites as described by Microsoft. This is done by the browser sending information to the software over a secure connection, which keeps the information and a per-session, uniquely-generated identifier for a short time. The Suggested Sites feature is turned off by default and disable when the user is browsing with the InPrivate feature enable or is visiting over a SSL-secured, intranet, IP address or IDN address sites. Potentially personally-identifiable information such as the user's IP address and browser information is sent to the company as a artifact of the HTTPS protocol. Although the company has stated that they do not store personal information, the Suggested Sites feature was defended after ITWorld's Gregg Keizer described it as a "phone home" feature.
"Super Standards" rendering - Enabled by default, Internet Explorer 8 includes a new standards rendering mode feature that should place the brower among the rarified company of such standards-friendly browsers such as Firefox, Safari and Chrome. This is a huge change from the previous backward compatibility fixation made available since the Beta 1 release. By using the "Emulate IE 7" command bar feature, you can emulate rendering modes that previously worked in earlier versions of the browser. Microsoft made a incompatibility list of over 2,400 websites that don't render webpages correctly under Release Candidate 1.
Web Slices - This new feature are snippets of the entire page that any user can subscribe to and will be kept update by the browser automatically. Web Slices can be viewed directly from the Favourites bar, complete with graphics and visuals. In one news source, Web Slices have been compared to Active Desktop, a feature that was first introduced in Internet Explorer 4 in September 1997. Microsoft donated the specification to the public domain under the Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication and has been covered by the Microsoft Open Specification Promise.
Other features - Other key features in Internet Explorer 8 include Acid2 compatibility, Ajax navigation features, Automatic Crash Recovery, CSS 2.1 support, Caret Browsing, Delete Browsing History, HTML/DOM improvements, Tab Colour Grouping, tab isolation and User Preference Protection.
Here are the following features that were removed from Internet Explorer 8:
- Inline AutoComplete - This feature was dropped from Internet Explorer 8 resulting in criticism by beta users. The option was previously disabled by default in Internet Explorer 7.
Options to delete files and settings stored by addons or ActiveX controls.
CSS Expressions - In Internet Explorer 8 Standards mode, this feature is no longer supported.
Support for the proprietary wbr tag has been dropped.
For the complete list of changes in Internet Explorer 8, read the release notes: [link]
If you're interested, take a tour to see what is new with Internet Explorer 8: [link]
In order to install Internet Explorer 8, your PC must meet the following system requirements:
- A 233 MHz Pentium II processor or higher.
Super VGA (800 x 600) or higher-resolution monitor with at least 256 colours.
Windows XP Service Pack 2, Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1, Windows Vista or Windows Server 2008. 32-bit and 64-bit versions are fully supported.
64 MB of memory for Windows XP/Server 2003 and 512 MB of memory for Windows Vista/Server 2008.
Microsoft Mouse, Microsoft IntelliMouse or a compatible pointing device.
Wave 0 of Internet Explorer 8 is released in 25 languages and will be made available via Windows Update on the week of 23 March 2009 for Beta/RC users and on the week of 13 April 2009 for all users. Wave 0 will also be made available in Automatic Updates on 27 April 2009.
Wave 1 will be released in 18 additional languages and it will be made available on the week of 20 April 2009, on 5 May 2009 in Automatic Updates and on the week of 18 May 2009 via Windows Update.
Wave 2 will be released in 21 additional languages following Wave 1 on the week of 1 June 2009 and although it will be made available as in Automatic Updates on 24 June 2009, a final date is yet to be determined for release via Windows Update.
Internet Explorer 8 will also be the key component of Microsoft Windows 7, the successor to Windows Vista. Microsoft has clearly stated that Windows 7 will be shipped in stores sometime in January 2010, but reports are confirming a December 2009 general availability, meaning that Windows 7 will be in stores just in time for the upcoming Christmas holiday shopping season. Microsoft has included a option to turn off the browser by using the Windows Features dialogue box and has since been made available in build 7048 of Windows 7 to MSDN and TechNet subscribers. Build 7048 is the Release Candidate of the OS that will be made public sometime in April. The company has yet to confirm a specific release to manufacturing (RTM) and general availability date. Although Internet Explorer 8 can be turned off in Windows 7, it cannot be uninstalled.
Download Internet Explorer 8 NOW!: [link]
Instructions: To download Internet Explorer 8, click on Download Now on the IE8 website. The download size of Internet Explorer 8 is between 13.3 MB to 32.4 MB. Time of download depends on connection speed and on supported operating systems. 64-bit versions of Windows XP/Server 2003 and Windows Vista/Server 2008 will have 32-bit versions of Internet Explorer for ActiveX and add-on compatibility reasons.
Windows 7 Users: Microsoft Windows 7 Beta includes a pre-release candidate version of Internet Explorer 8 and will not be available for download at this time. The final version of Internet Explorer 8 will be made available in the release candidate version of Windows 7. Visit the Microsoft Windows 7 website for more information on the upcoming operating system.
Internet Explorer 8. Faster, safer & easier than ever!