Windows 7 Users Can Now Download Internet Explorer 11
November 8, 2013

Windows 7 Users Can Now Download Internet Explorer 11

Peter Suciu for - Your Universe Online

When Microsoft released Windows 8 last year, it made Internet Explorer 10 an integral part of the operating system. However, Windows 7 users were left with the older IE9 for months; it wouldn't be until about four months later (Feb 26) when the latest version, IE10, arrived for Windows 7 users.

Microsoft is apparently not looking to make Windows 7 users wait this time around, however.

Internet Explorer 11 arrived as part of the Windows 8.1 update on October 18, and officials said then that Windows 7 users would soon be able to also make the upgrade. This has been just three weeks, but it is also the first time that IE has seen two major-point updates in less than a year. For those who had put off the upgrade to IE10 it will be possible to skip it entirely and just migrate to IE11.

“Internet Explorer 11 (IE11) is available worldwide in 95 languages for download today,” Rob Mauceri and Sandeep Singhal, group program managers for Internet Explorer, posted on the official MSDN blog on Thursday. “We will begin automatically updating Windows 7 customers to IE11 in the weeks ahead, starting today with customers running the IE11 Developer and Release Previews. With this final release, IE11 brings the same leading standards support--with improved performance, security, privacy, and reliability that consumers enjoy on Windows 8.1—to Windows 7 customers.”

The new browser is designed to speed up Web browsing while reducing CPU usage, which could come in handy on mobile PCs. There are also new Web security measures that are designed to prevent persistent security holes from being exploited by hackers.

More importantly it adds support for WebGL, the 3D graphics API that had long been resisted by Microsoft. It is also designed to speed up JavaScript performance – with an increase of about nine percent over IE9 according to claims by Mauceri and Signhal.

“IE11 advances JavaScript performance, while ensuring compatibility, interoperability, and security,” the blog post added. “On Windows 7, IE11 is 9 percent faster than IE10, which is nearly 30 percent faster than the nearest competitive browser.”

Microsoft also appears to be speeding up, at least in terms of advancing its updates for Internet Explorer. This comes as Google’s Chrome and Mozilla’s Firefox have jumped into a more rapid-release schedule with updates every six weeks or so. Microsoft hasn’t quite gotten to that point, but it does appear the Redmond, WA-based software giant is now putting its efforts into higher gear.

As noted by Cnet, this shift to getting IE11 to Windows 7 signals that Microsoft isn’t abandoning its pre-Windows 8 operating systems. While IE11 for Windows 7 includes many of the improvements that this new browser brings to Windows 8 it will of course not include touchscreen functionality.

The new browser is also meant to provide greater support for the new HTML5 standard.

“The opportunities continue for HTML5 to make both Web sites and applications better,” the blog post noted. “Those opportunities are exciting for everyone on the Web. As with IE11 on Windows 8.1, this release brings high performance HTML5 development to Windows 7. For developers building on HTML5, now is time to ready your sites for IE11. Developers can use the recently updated modern.IE to test and verify your sites, using a wizard that scans a Web page URL for common interoperability problems and suggests ideas for how to address those issues to improve the user experience across modern and older browsers.”

For those making the upgrade, there will be some notable changes but also some differences from the Windows 8 version. Most notably the URL bar will remain at the top of the browser, and the Windows 7 version will lack the tab view available in Windows 8.1.

IE11 on Windows 7 also won’t support premium video extensions, nor will it support Google’s SPDY protocol or the Enhanced Protected Mode browser security enhancements. Beyond this, Microsoft has noted that the versions of IE11 in Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 will be largely the same – same but different apparently.

Microsoft officials have also declined to comment as to when IE11 will be available on Windows Phone 8, which currently includes IE10.