Browser

Microsoft Internet Explorer 8 is released

The latest release of Microsoft's Web browser is now available. Internet Explorer 8 has a few new features that might make it worth your consideration. Mark Kaelin takes a first look.

Just when you think the battle of the Web browser has been won, the other side comes out with a new version that draws us into the war of words all over again. This time the culprit is Microsoft and Internet Explorer 8.

The latest version of Microsoft's venerable Web browser has several new features to its credit; features that give it some chops against the main competitor for our attention, Mozilla Firefox. One of the newest features is the increased compatibility with mobile devices, which is an area of strategic emphasis for Microsoft.

To get a good look at the IE8 interface and new features, check out the Internet Explorer 8 TechRepublic Photo Gallery.

Compatibility and privacy

Perhaps in an effort to make the jump to Internet Explorer 8 more palatable to the masses, this version of the Web browser has a Compatibility View button between the Address Bar and the Refresh icon. The general idea is that you can view Web sites that may not render correctly under IE8 in a simulation of an earlier, presumably compatible, browser. While this may indeed be a handy feature, I'm not sure it is really a good selling point for Microsoft. I'd prefer a browser that displays every Web site correctly, no matter how or when it was encoded.

Another expanded feature found in IE8 is the InPrivate Browsing settings. Turning this feature on will block the passing of your session information to other third-parties for maps, advertisements, etc. Through this feature you can decide if, when, and where Web browsing session information will be passed. I am not all that concerned about my session information, but many people are, and this feature will give them some measure of control.

Bottom line

So the real question is, is Microsoft Internet Explorer 8 a better Web browser? The jury is still out on that question, I think, but I can find no glaring reason to throw it out of my default browser position. IE8 seems to be a capable browser, but it is so similar to IE7 that there is really no catalyst to drive a massive migration.

Whether you prefer Firefox, Internet Explorer, or some other Web browser, chances are you are going to stick with it for the time being. However, there is no specific reason I know of not to update IE7 to IE8. The general experience, at first glance, is more of the same. As time goes on, we may find features, problems, or other factors that will drive decision making one way or another, but the actual update is generally painless.

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About

Mark Kaelin is a CBS Interactive Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He is the host for the Microsoft Windows and Office blog, the Google in the Enterprise blog, the Five Apps blog and the Big Data Analytics blog.

33 comments
Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

Are you going to try Internet Explorer 8? So far I like it well enough to give it a fair shot as my default browser. How about you?

burianek
burianek

I tried ei8 buthad to take it off it was giving me a pleshing error in Norton 360 and I tried every thing so I took it off and went back toEI7

solr_07666
solr_07666

Just installed IE8 Release on Vista Ultimate. Check all the web sites I use, including Etrade. Have seen nothing unusual. Installed in 3 minutes. 3 GHZ Core2 Intel with 4 GB RAM Vista Ultimate 32Bit. Windows update is current, running Zone Alarm 2009 Security Suite and COMODO BOClean. Latest Java and Flash updates. IE8 is defintely faster and stable. IE7 would consistenlty lock u.

stephen.sottong
stephen.sottong

I installed version 8. It seemed to work just fine, but I soon found I couldn't do a proper shutdown on my computer. I reverted to 7 and the problem mostly went away. It still hangs occasionally on shutdown. I'd wait for a couple of service packs before trying it.

Adil_E
Adil_E

I tried IE 8 beta 2 several months ago and didn't like it. It crashed all the time. Opening a new blank tab took forever. Last week, i installed the new IE8 release on a differet computer. It didn't crash as much as the beta version but it still crashs for no particular reason. Of course i uninstalled and stuck with IE7.

V.H. Scarpacci
V.H. Scarpacci

I am willing to give ie8 a fair look and of course it will be coming 'bonded' to future releases of any MS OS. I am not so sure that I am willing to give Firefox up as my default browser. I like the half dozen or so free add-ons that I use on a daily basis.

manny
manny

Found a couple of business web apps that do not like ie8 - as well as remote access through Camus. On my home units I waiver between firefox and ie8.

mveh
mveh

I'm trying it on both my work and home PCs and there are still issues to be worked out in my opinion. I like that when there is an issue with a site the browser only closes the tab where the issue occurs but then it tries to reopen the same tab and it just becomes an endless loop. I don't really see much difference other than that with IE7 but I'll keep testing it anyway. I can always go back.

tlbaker1
tlbaker1

I cannot get onto BlackBerry.com, Citibank, Yahoo Hotjobs, etc., I have gone back to using Firefox for the moment until they / I can sort this out.

michaels.perry
michaels.perry

In the UK, our Post Office website displays perfectly in Firefox, Safari, Opera, etc - but not in IE8. Even compatiblity mode has some problems but is at least readable. I suspect the website was coded for IE4-7 so is non-compliant, but why can't IE8 display it properly yet? Another buggy RC?

Alan.Gonzalez
Alan.Gonzalez

This is just a bizzare relese to me. I understand they were trying to make their browser more standards-compliant, but what freaking sandards are they talking about? Sites that display perfectly fine in Firefox, Chrome and IE7 come out looking like crap in IE8, whether or not compatibility mode is turned on. It just seems a poorly designed hunk of crap (and I am not one of those anti-IE types). It also routinely chokes and crashes and is generally much slower and less responsive than IE7 (no mean feat!). I'm just thoroughly disappointed. The one useful addition is the inclusion of colored tab groups. If you spawn a tab from one page both of those tabs will be the same color. Other than that, thoroughly unimpressed. I'll be rolling back to IE7.

production
production

IE8 immediately changed our default search engine to MS-LIVE. It wouldn't let me change back to Google. I used an IE7 interface to change back. But, when I rebooted and re-launched MI8, it said something about my default search being 'corrupt' and changed me back to MS-LIVE again. So, back to the squirrel cage that wouldn't let me make Google my default search again. I uninstalled IE8 and went back to IE7 until MS fixes this glitch. What I saw of IE8 was OK - except for this glitch.

Richard Turpin
Richard Turpin

Have had the dam thing installed and uninstalled twice now each time it is taking approx 15-20 secs to start up once started it was faultless, but I still unistalled it back to IE7. It will drive me insane waiting for the start up.Cant find a solution yet..if I can sort it I will probably use it.

david
david

Did the same with me despite me telling it not to change my search engine. Apparently there is no way round this as you have no way of getting rid of MS-Live as the default engine - IE8 has bit the dust and am back on Firefox and IE7 for certain things. Problem solved.

emets2
emets2

I switched to FIREFOX one year ago. It works so well I see no reason to return to the troubles of IE in any version. emets2@yahoo.com

techhelp2
techhelp2

Didn't I read somewhere that IE8 would be included in the automatic updates at some point? Is that true?

Tharbad
Tharbad

IE8 will be pushed out via automatic updates at some point in time. A link for the blocker toolkit can be found here: http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=21687628-5806-4ba6-9e4e-8e224ec6dd8c&displaylang=en

ian3880
ian3880

Um ... NO, I won't be trying IE8 ...

ian3880
ian3880

Thanks, Tharbad - you're a real lifesaver. I hate IEx.x with a vengeance - the least secure and least standards-compliant browser available. IE8 will be no exception. Does it pass the Acid3 test?, etc, etc. The blocker (maybe) will save me the embarrassment of having IE8 sneak onto my computer!

Tharbad
Tharbad

I downloaded and installed IE8 on Friday - both on my work pc (Vista Business) and home pc (Vista Ultimate) - absolutely no problems. Sites seem to load faster, and few neat features like accelerators and web slices make this all the better. All of my web based applications also work just fine with the new IE. I highly recommend at least giving it a try - you can always uninstall and go back if you don't like it.

Mycah Mason
Mycah Mason

...and it's been working great for me so far. All the pages that I've come accross so far have worked fine. It is a little snapier than IE7 and adds a few new features that are nice. I do like it more than IE7 for sure (a little faster, and some nice updates to functionality) but I would agree with what some others are saying: it seems more like a polished/finished version of IE7. My opinion: if you are using IE7, it's definately worth upgrading to IE8 ...so far.

Jimb49
Jimb49

No thanks, After my experience with IE7 I switched to Firefox - Far Superior

Slayer_
Slayer_

Breaks our system, good thing I used test system. It wrecks our IE control on a form in VBA, on a critical project. That sucks.

GSG
GSG

We have medical systems that aren't approved for IE7 let alone IE8. I have to stick with IE7 on my systems for now, and others have to stay with IE6.

Slayer_
Slayer_

For them testing ways they can botch the install process, without having to virtualize or w/e, they could just keep rerunning their tool.

kirk227
kirk227

I installed it after reading this story and had to spend the next 2 hours trying to get my computer online again. If you have A Hewlett-Packard printer you will definitely have compatibility issues with IE8. When I tried to uninstall it, it got worse. I did a sys. restore-no help. Tried a reg- restore, also no help. Had to call MS for help (which I've only had to do twice in 20 yrs.) They actually have a tool called IE8 removal tool. That alone should tell you something. I trusted TR until now, but they sure jumped the gun this time.

mwagner
mwagner

I was trying out IE8 today and it seems significantly slower than Firefox. I will give it some further testing though.

k_indy
k_indy

I've been using it with Beta7 and on my XP... I do have to agree that it is significantly slower... but at the same time.. Firefox seems to constantly have memory leaks whenever i have more than 3 tabs open, whilst IE8 doesn't.. I still prefer Mozilla though...lol

Oz_Media
Oz_Media

I did a few tests against FF but IE8 was definitely faster. Also tried it against Orca, again IE8 was still faster. Perhaps MS is finally starting to catch on.

Slayer_
Slayer_

I saw it while at work, but I will try it at home before at work. I have yet to see how well Avant integrates with IE8, hopefully it works well. My house IE7 getting very choppy, freezing randomly on web pages, very irritating.

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