Microsoft Releases IE 10 for Windows 7
Internet Explorer 10 for Windows 7 is broadly available today for download.
The new Web browser is available at this page, although Microsoft was having some problems early on with the download button. IE 10 for Windows 7 can also be obtained via the Microsoft Download Center in x86 and x64 versions. It's available in 95 languages.
The installation of IE 10 will replace Internet Explorer 9. Users with Windows automatic updating turned on will start to receive the bits for IE 10 for Windows 7 in the next few weeks, according to Microsoft's announcement. Those organizations wanting to block the update can use Microsoft's blocking tool, although it's not intended for use by organizations relying on Windows Server Update Services or System Center Configuration Manager for their update management. The blocking tool also doesn't block upgrades for those running the release preview of IE 10 for Windows 7.
IE 10 for Windows 7 is designed to support touch interfaces. It has its One Box text box, used for searches and URL entries, located at the top of the browser, unlike its Windows 8 cousin, which puts that box at the bottom of the screen. The do-not-track feature, which broadcasts a string requesting that third-party advertisers not track user clickstream data, is turned on by default in the browser.
For developers wanting to check their site's compatibility with various versions of Internet Explorer, Microsoft offers tools at its modern.ie Web site. The tools are designed to check site performance with older IE browsers. The modern.ie site has a URL scan box, which doesn't seem to work. There's also a link at the site to get a three-month trial of the BrowserStack online site testing service, which is free to use if activated before Jan. 31, 2014.
IE 10 for Windows 7 has arrived after a bit of a time lapse. A release preview test version of the browser was made available in November. For some reason, the Windows 8 version of IE 10 arrived sooner, in October. Until today, Microsoft had stayed fairly quiet about the time lapse and progress of IE 10 for Windows 7, even though it typically will be more important for organizations to deploy than the Windows 8 version of the browser. Many organizations have newly upgraded to Windows 7 from the venerable Windows XP, which just supports IE 8 as the highest version of that browser.
Some differences between IE 10 for Windows 7 and IE 10 for Windows 8 are expected. For instance, the new "enhanced protected mode" security feature of IE 10 on Windows 8 may not be available for the Windows 7 version, based on earlier descriptions by the Microsoft team. Possibly, IE 10 for Windows 7 will come with the Adobe Flash Player add-on preinstalled. That's what Microsoft's FAQ indicates, but it was written when just IE 10 for Windows 8 was around. The FAQ suggests that add-ons aren't necessarily banned from IE 10, and that Silverlight and ActiveX controls can be added. Microsoft's early descriptions of IE 10 had suggested that add-ons might not be permitted at all.
Kurt Mackie is online news editor for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.