Microsoft Issues Patch For IE8 On Windows 7

The update includes fixes that boost the browser's reliability on the new OS.
Microsoft has released a patch for Windows 7 Beta that will allow the Internet Explorer 8 browser to perform more reliably on the new operating system.

The fix is available on Microsoft's automated Windows Update service and also through the Microsoft Update download center.

Windows 7 screen shot.
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Microsoft in a support bulletin didn't specify the problems with IE8 on Windows 7, but said about 10% of Windows 7 users were reporting problems with the browser. It added that about 1.5% of users were encountering full-on crashes of IE8, currently available only in trial form, on Windows 7 Beta.

"This is relatively good for a pre-release version of Internet Explorer running on a beta operating system," Microsoft said. "We were also pleased to see that the new IE8 Crash Recovery feature was successfully helping customers recover from these crash situations 94% of the time."

Microsoft has said it would ship the final version of IE8 sometime this year, but hasn't provided a specific release date for Windows 7.

Microsoft has added a number of new features in IE8, most noticeably in the privacy arena.

InPrivate Browsing lets users control whether IE8 saves their browsing history, cookies, and other Internet data. InPrivate Blocking informs users about sites that can track their browsing history and will allow them to block such activity. InPrivate Subscriptions lets users choose which Web sites to subscribe to or block.

A fourth feature, Delete Browsing History, gives users control over their browsing history after visiting a Web site.

Along with IE8, Microsoft needs Windows 7 -- expected by most observers to be released in late 2009 or early 2010 -- to be a hit. Vista, the company's current OS, has failed to catch on with mainstream computer users while businesses have shunned it outright. Many users have complained about Vista's hardware requirements, intrusive security measures, and lack of compatibility with older applications.

InformationWeek has published an in-depth report on Windows 7. Download the report here (registration required).