#ie8 free download
First Look: Internet Explorer 8 Is Microsoft’s First Truly Modern Browser
First Look: Internet Explorer 8 Is Microsoft s First Truly Modern Browser
Microsoft Internet Explorer 8 on the Windows XP desktop.
The most popular web browser in the world has been reborn.
Microsoft made the latest version of Internet Explorer available as a free download Thursday. You can grab Internet Explorer 8 for Windows Vista or Windows XP (but not Windows 7) at microsoft.com/ie8 .
IE8 has been in development for several months. If you ve been using the pre-release betas or the most recent release candidate, then today s release won t be all that new to your eyes. Aside from some minor tweaks, the code is very much the same as what s been publicly available for almost half a year.
However, if you re coming to this release with fresh eyes, upgrading from Internet Explorer 7 or (heaven forbid) Internet Explorer 6, then you ll notice huge improvements across the board.
The new browser also contains each webapp in its own tab, so if one site crashes, it just crashes the tab instead of bringing the entire browser down with it.
Microsoft has improved its support for web standards to a point, choosing to support CSS up to version 2.1. Support for CSS 3 is minimal, with only vertical text making the cut. Support for SVG, rounded corners, audio and video tags and other proposed standards are penciled in for future versions .
Search is central to the experience, as it should be. IE8 has a smart address bar — start typing a URL and a drop-down offers suggested destinations from your recent history, favorites and feeds. The search box also returns preliminary results as you type. Any website can build a plug-in search engine that gives richer results, complete with thumbnail images, snippets of text and page descriptions. IE8 arrives with options to install such smart engines for Amazon, The New York Times and Wikipedia with a few clicks.
There s a private browsing mode and new protections against scripting attacks. A feature called Accelerators extends the semantic web by providing context-sensitive commands in when you right-click on different page elements. Highlight some text and right-click, for example, and you re given options to Blog this or Search for this or Translate this.
Users upgrading from previous versions of IE are going to be pleased. There are bunches of little things, like new bookmark manager and the ability to isolate and print a specific part of any page, that are just added niceties. But it s the five S s — speed, stability, security, standards and search — that are the most important enhancements.
If you re a devotee of any other browser, you re probably groaning yourself silly right now, and with good reason. Mozilla s open source Firefox browser has long been ahead of the curve on many of these features, like the smart address bar and the security protections. Opera is way ahead on emerging standards like CSS 3 and HTML 5. Google Chrome upped the ante with private browsing mode (aka porn mode ) and isolated web apps within tabs.
And IE8 is faster than IE7, but it s not the fastest. We haven t done any controlled speed tests, but Chrome and the latest beta of Firefox (3.1 beta 3) on Windows are both clearly faster at rendering the Wired.com, Ars Technica and Digg front pages than IE8.
But since somewhere between 60 percent and 75 percent of the web still uses IE, upgrading those users will be an advancement for the web as a whole. A better IE, even if it s not as bleeding-edge as other browsers, is a good thing for everyone.
It s a manual download right now, but IE8 will be pushed out to all Windows users running Windows Updater later this spring. There s also an IE8 update blocker available for controlled environments.
This release of IE8 is only for Windows Vista and Windows XP Service Pack 2 or later. Windows 7 beta testers can t download the new code. Instead, they ll get their own, Win7-optimized version of IE8 when the new OS arrives later this year.
Word to the wise: Installing IE 8 on Windows XP is a huge test of patience. After downloading the installer, you ll be asked to verify Windows through Windows Genuine Advantage, then install additional components and numerous updates, then reboot, then check for malicious software, then install more updates, then reboot again. The whole time, you re never shown a progress bar, told where you are in the process or given any indication of how much longer the installation might take. Expect the full installation to take as long as 30 painful minutes.
IE8 may be a whole new bag, but some things never change.