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IE10 on Windows 7: 5 Essential Facts

Four months after debuting on Windows 8, Internet Explorer 10 has finally come to Windows 7. Here are the five essential facts users should know.

Windows: Goofs And Gaffes
Windows: Goofs And Gaffes
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Four months after debuting as part of Windows 8, Internet Explorer 10 (IE10) is finally available for Windows 7. A preview version of the new browser has been available for Windows 7 since November, but Tuesday's release will be the first taste for the majority of the operating system's 700 million users, the largest user base of any Microsoft platform.

Available in 95 languages, IE10 continues Redmond's efforts to reclaim its status as the top Web-surfing option. Over the years, IE has slowly ceded ground to competitors such as Chrome and Firefox. Estimates vary, however, regarding how much damage has been inflicted. The most recent findings from Net Applications, for example, suggest that Microsoft continues to lead the field, with IE's various versions aggregately accounting for 55.14% of worldwide market share.

The findings also show IE making modest gains in recent months, with chief rivals Firefox and Chrome receding slightly over the same period. Recent StatCounter figures, in contrast, show that Chrome has held the top spot worldwide since last spring. They also show that IE, though comfortably ahead of Firefox, has continued to trend downward.

[ Will Microsoft stores become as ubiquitous as Apple's? Read Microsoft Woos Consumers With New Retail Plans. ]

Whatever Microsoft's actual market penetration, IE10 is the company's most competitive and modern browser. Should you give it a look if you've already migrated to an IE alternative? Here are five facts you need to know.

1. Most Of Changes Are Under The Hood.

If you've run IE9 on Windows 7, IE10 probably won't look much different at first glance. Whereas the Windows 8 version of IE10 moves the address bar to the bottom of each page and features a stripped-down, rakish aesthetic, the Windows 7 variant retains its predecessor's major design cues. There are tweaks, such as a change that allows users to close multiple tabs in succession without moving the mouse. Microsoft also has integrated spellcheck and autocorrect functions. But most of the changes are subtle.

2. Focus Is On Speed, Modern Web Development.

Any similarities to IE9 should slip away once IE10 loads a few pages. Microsoft claims the browser loads Web pages 20% faster than before thanks to better hardware acceleration and an enhanced JavaScript engine. As an added bonus for laptop users, IE10 is supposed to improve battery life, too. The browser also handles HTML5 particularly well by including support for 30 additional standards.

3. IE10 Is Microsoft's Most Secure Browser.

IE10 boasts a number of security and privacy enhancements, headlined by the fact that websites are barred by default from collecting user information. That feature got the lion's share of attention after it annoyed advertisers, but IE10 offers security improvements all around. AppContainer, for example, approximates the sandboxing approach used in mobile operating systems, essentially segmenting processes so that an infected program cannot easily spread malicious code elsewhere.

4. IE Supports Touch.

Like the preview version launched four months ago, the official IE10 release supports touchscreen capabilities. Sadly, most Windows 7 hardware isn't equipped to take advantage. For the few who have touchscreen-enabled Windows 7 laptops, a new world of haptic web-browsing awaits. For everyone else, the touch-powering APIs mostly serve to simplify matters for developers.

5. Most Windows 7 PCs Will Automatically Install IE10.

As long as it's running Service Pack 1, any Windows 7 machine on which auto-update is enabled will download IE10 over the next few weeks. Microsoft is beginning with customers running the preview release. Those who don't want to wait can download the new browser directly.

Microsoft previously released a toolkit that blocks the automatic delivery of IE10, a helpful option for IT admins who aren't quite ready.

Vista and XP users are still limited to Internet Explorer 9 and Internet Explorer 8, respectively.

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AustinIT
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AustinIT,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/25/2013 | 4:21:08 PM
re: IE10 on Windows 7: 5 Essential Facts
Precisely. You obviously missed the tongue-in-cheek part of my comment...
Prowler
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Prowler,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/10/2013 | 11:46:30 AM
re: IE10 on Windows 7: 5 Essential Facts
I work across many platforms and many browsers. Firefox running under Windows behaves oddly when you want to inspect Javascript. So I am comfortable using IE in Windows. There is one more reason for using IE - an ancient version 7 in a Virtual Box running Windows XP as the CCTV app uses an ActiveX routine to monitor Video feed.

Besides, I always notice that IE has the lowest memory foot print compared with all other browsers. I know you would say some components of IE is 'hidden' in the usual Windows. At the end of the day - IE still is my primary browser as most sites work without any hitch in IE.
pbug
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pbug,
User Rank: Strategist
3/13/2013 | 5:41:31 PM
re: IE10 on Windows 7: 5 Essential Facts
You missed a huge problem with IE10 on Win 7 - it causes BSOD's on MANY PCs. As per Microsoft, the problem is primarily on laptops with switchable graphics, like the HP DV7 I'm writing this from. Fixing the problem may require code changes in IE10 PLUS bios updates PLUS graphics driver updates (something HP tends to try very hard to not provide, IMHO). As far as I can tell, none of these updates have been released yet nor has a date been announced for any of them.

What happened to me - opened IE10, used the mouse to select text in another program, and BOOM - BSOD happens. An MS boss acknowledged the problem to me PLUS there is a KB article on the problem. They are working on it with HP and other vendors. Note that my DV7 has Intel and ATI graphics, and that the crash occurs in the NT kernel.

So if you are possibly affected by this, DO NOT install IE7. Hopefully WU won't force this update on users with switchable graphics, but I'm not sure of that, so you should turn off automatic updates on such systems.
Johnnythegeek
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Johnnythegeek,
User Rank: Strategist
3/3/2013 | 3:44:33 PM
re: IE10 on Windows 7: 5 Essential Facts
I used to only use IE for a long time. But I have to say while IE10 might eventually get installed on my Windows 7 PC's. It will not get much use. Given that IE10 already has fallen behind the others in many html5 test and that IE10 still grapples with sites that need compatibility view to work correctly.This has just given me even more reasons to embrace Chrome and Firefox. The one question I do have is why since other browser can still support XP and Vista that Microsoft cannot do so with its own IE?
Andrew Hornback
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Andrew Hornback,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/2/2013 | 4:02:27 AM
re: IE10 on Windows 7: 5 Essential Facts
The big question, from a security perspective, does IE10 protect the user from flaws in Java 7? Does AppContainer give us anything to mitigate those risks? Or does this multiply the 0-day threat now that we'll have a semi-vetted browser being deployed to all of our Windows 7 desktops?

Andrew Hornback
InformationWeek Contributor
GBARRINGTON196
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GBARRINGTON196,
User Rank: Strategist
2/28/2013 | 1:32:52 PM
re: IE10 on Windows 7: 5 Essential Facts
No interest here, I find myself slipping away from Microsoft products. Google just works better for me. Yes, Yes, I know Google tracks my every move. Now tell me just how much Microsoft loves me.
Hmmm...
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Hmmm...,
User Rank: Apprentice
2/27/2013 | 8:45:36 PM
re: IE10 on Windows 7: 5 Essential Facts
...which are all part of the Microsoft Windows computing platform. Not Android/Linux, Mac OS, etc.

Which is what he said... lol.
Derp.
AustinIT
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AustinIT,
User Rank: Apprentice
2/27/2013 | 6:09:48 PM
re: IE10 on Windows 7: 5 Essential Facts
What do you mean it's not cross-platform? It runs on XP, Vista, 7, and 8...

LOL
David Berlind
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David Berlind,
User Rank: Apprentice
2/27/2013 | 4:20:22 PM
re: IE10 on Windows 7: 5 Essential Facts
Great coverage Michael. It sounds like Microsoft is making some welcome adjustments in IE10, ones that may indeed meet users expectations, keeping Chrome and Firefox at bay. However, I still think this statement is rather telling:

>Available in 95 languages, IE10 continues Redmond's
>efforts to reclaim its status as the top Web-surfing option.

It's certainly an admirable goal for IE to be the top Web-surfing app. But so many things are working against Microsoft. For starters and forgetting version numbers (9, 10, etc.) for a minute, running a Microsoft operating system is a prerequisite. If 100% of new devices coming on line were based on on a Microsoft OS, I'd say that Microsoft stands a chance. But with Android, iOS, OSX, Linux, etc... that's just not the case. Now, if IE were cross-platform, that might be a different story.
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