Windows 8 launched with Internet Explorer 10 installed by default but Windows 7 users were still stuck with IE 9. With Internet Explorer 10 Preview, Windows 7 users can now enjoy some of the new features that Windows 8 already have.
While Internet Explorer 10 for Windows 8 lives a double life as a touch-based and desktop browser, Internet Explorer 10 for Windows 7 only presents the desktop version of IE 10. Still, there are plenty of interface and upgrades under the hood.
The interface of Internet Explorer 10 for Windows 7 has changed only a little. The forward and back buttons are integrated into the window, making the look of Internet Explorer 10 Preview more seamless. Tabs and the address bar share the same space. If you have a lot of tabs open, the interface can look a bit cluttered.
Menus have been simplified and the menu bar is still hidden by default. Users can get to all of the options from the little gear icon on the top right. The options menu is still there for the more technically inclined but it hasn't received any update.
In our HTML5 benchmarks, Internet Explorer 10 for Windows 7 fell behind both Chrome and Opera but beat out Firefox. It is slightly faster than IE 9 and much faster than IE 8. Microsoft has done a great job of making Internet Explorer 10 for Windows 7 a speedy browser.
IE has been very weak in the security department and Microsoft hopes to change this with Internet Explorer 10 for Windows 7. The main security addition to Internet Explorer 10 Preview is "Enhanced Protected Mode," which will lock down parts of the Windows operating system, preventing the browser from accessing the OS. There will be specific pop-ups that will ask for permission to access part of the OS that a browser typically doesn't require. This will help prevent viruses or hackers from gaining access to your files, even if IE has been compromised.
Internet Explorer 10 for Windows 7 takes a page out of Google's play book and adds automatic updating. This way, users won't have to remember to update their browsers for the latest security and performance upgrades.
Do Not Track
It seems that just about every browser these days has a 'do not track' feature. This feature allows users to opt out of targeted advertising. With Google Chrome, you'll have to enable it yourself. Microsoft makes 'do not track' user friendly by having it be opt-out instead. This move by Microsoft has upset some companies with its do not track enabled by default. Some companies have announced that they will be ignoring Internet Explorer 10 for Windows 7's do not track settings.
Like in Windows 8's version of Internet Explorer 10, Internet Explorer 10 for Windows 7 will feature integrated Adobe Flash support but only for selected sites. The Flash plugin isn't integrated into Internet Explorer 10 for Windows 7 yet but will be added in a future update for the browser.
Internet Explorer 10 for Windows 7 offers a great look at the future of IE 10 but lacks the complete touch-focused redesigned of IE 10 for Windows 8. There are still interface elements in the Internet Explorer 10 Preview that look and feel antiquated. Unfortunately, its improvements aren't enough to sway users away from competitors like Firefox or Chrome.