IE 10 Arrives For Windows 7 – Expect Familiar Interface And Souped-Up Functionality
Peter Suciu for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online
While Windows 8 users — as well as those with Windows RT devices — have been able to take advantage of Microsoft´s Internet Explorer 10 since the OS debuted last fall, most Windows 7 users have been left with Internet Explorer 9. This week those Windows 7 users will finally be able to upgrade.
On Tuesday, Microsoft officially released the final, non-test version of IE10 for Windows 7. The new browser is now available for download from the Windows website. Microsoft will also begin auto-updating customers with Windows 7 Service Pack 1 and/or Windows Server 2008 R2 and higher in the coming weeks.
Past browser updates have brought a varying degree of changes, but the update from IE9 to IE10 could be among the most sweeping to date. However, only some of this will be noticeable in the actual layout and interface, while many of the changes will be in how the browser operates and interacts with the web.
IE10 promises to be 20 percent faster on Windows 7 than IE 9, and it offers support for HTML 5 and CSS3, including CSS Text Shadow, CSS 3D Transforms, CSS3 Transitions and Animations, CSS3 Gradient, SVG Filer Effects, HTML 5 forms, input controls, validation, Web sockets, HTML 5 Sandboxing, Web workers, HTML 5 App Cache, File Reader API, and HTML 5 Drag-drop. In total, IE10 offers 60 percent more HTML 5 capabilities than were available in IE9.
This could also allow Microsoft to catch up with HTML 5, the new web-based standard that could be used as an alternative to Adobe´s Flash and offers support for audio and video within a website.
IE9 users who upgrade will not have to learn an entirely new interface as the newest version features a nearly identical layout. This isn´t to say that there haven´t been some tweaks, however. For one, the browser will include an integrated spell-checker and auto-correct functionality. Additionally, users will be able to close multiple tabs by repeatedly clicking the mouse on each tab´s “X.”
IE10 will even make the touch functionality available to Windows 7 users — with supported hardware, of course — but it does not relocate the URL bar to the bottom of the screen as was done for Windows 8/RT. This remains about the most significant difference between IE10 for Windows 7 and Windows 8/RT.
Users can also be upgraded without having to proactively download the new browser themselves, as Microsoft will begin auto-updating users in the coming weeks. IE10 is the first browser to be released since the Redmond-based software giant upgraded its policy at the end of 2011. Instead of requesting that users upgrade, the company will automatically install the latest version available for the particular version of OS a customer is using.
At this point, IE10 is only supported on Windows 8 and Windows 7, while Windows Vista only supports IE9 and Windows XP supports IE8.
The new IE10 for Windows 7 will also offer a “Do Not Track” privacy setting Microsoft reportedly switches on by default. No doubt this could be bad news for large advertisers as well as some large web properties. When IE10 came out for Windows 8/RT last fall, Yahoo responded to the built-in anti-advertising setting by announcing it simply would not honor it.
While the browser could be seen by advertisers as a negative move, Microsoft will launch its own ad campaign called “Explore Touch” to promote the browser via the demo site. Microsoft is looking to reclaim its unchallenged dominance in the browser arena. And while the company has lost significant market share to Mozilla´s Firefox and Google´s Chrome over the years, the web-monitoring site NetMarketShare says IE10 is already helping the Microsoft browser family to reclaim some of this lost territory.