Microsoft Serves Up Internet Explorer 11 Release Preview for Windows 7

 
 
By Pedro Hernandez  |  Posted 2013-09-19 Email Print this article Print
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Windows 7 users can now kick the tires on a version of IE that is set to launch alongside Windows 8.1 this fall.

Following up the release of Internet Explorer 11 (IE11) Developer Preview for Windows 7 in July, Microsoft delivered a version of the Web browser for all Windows 7 users that promises to speed up the Web.

IE11 Release Preview lets users of the company's most popular desktop operating system experience many of the optimizations and enhancements that Microsoft has baked into the browser in preparation for the Windows 8.1 launch next month. Jointly, Windows 7 and 8.1 will expose IE11 to more than half the desktop computing public, Roger Capriotti senior director of Internet Explorer Marketing, wrote in a blog post.

"This release also signals the final preview release before general availability of IE11 for Windows 7 later this fall. IE11 for Windows 8.1 will coincide with Windows 8.1 GA [starting at 12 a.m., Oct. 18, in New Zealand]—making IE11 available to more than 50 percent of all desktops worldwide," noted Capriotti.

Upon its release, IE11 will serve as a faster, more responsive foundation for getting things done on the Web, according to Sandeep Singhal and Rob Mauceri, group program managers for Internet Explorer. The browser's Chakra JavaScript engine has been tuned to deliver substantial improvements in speed, even compared with the IE11 Developer Preview.

"On Windows 7, IE11 Release Preview is 9 percent faster than IE10, which is a 5 percent improvement from the IE11 Developer Preview, and over 30 percent faster than the nearest competitive browser," they reported in a Sept. 18 IEBlog post. In WebKit SunSpider JavaScript benchmarks, the browser bested Chrome 29, Firefox 23 and Opera 16 by significant margins.

To see firsthand how fluidly IE11 handles interactive content, the company has a created a new test drive demo called PirateMarrrk (in honor of International Talk Like a Pirate Day, Sept. 19). The demo is a test of "HTML5, JavaScript and Scalable Vector Graphics performance," stated the post.

IE11 Release Preview for Windows 7 paves the way for broader Web standards support, including emerging standards like Tracking Preference Expression (DNT) and Pointer Events, which are currently wending their way through the W3C approvals process. In addition, the release adds user controls for the Standard Delivery Profile for Closed Captioning.

Consumers aren't the only ones that Microsoft is hoping to turn on to IE11; it is also catering to Web developers. In-browser F12 tools—named as such since they are invoked by a press of the F12 key—have been tweaked.

Upgrades include a DOM Explorer that provides live previews of edits like Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) values and a console that maps WebGL errors to corresponding JavaScript locations to track down bugs. Other improvements include a refined file picker or debugging complex Web projects, a new "always refresh from server" option for site performance tuning, Search Next and Search Previous network trace functions.

IE11 Release Preview for Windows 7 is available for download now. Virtual machine images are scheduled for release sometime this week at modern.ie.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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