Internet Explorer 11 Preview Arrives For Windows 7 Users

Windows 7 users can now take the next version of Internet Explorer (IE11) out for a test drive

Microsoft has provided Windows 7 users with the chance to try out its new Web browser that promises to speed up the Web.

This comes after Redmond released the Internet Explorer 11 (IE11) Developer Preview for Windows 7 in July.

Faster Browser

IE11 Release Preview lets users of the company’s most popular desktop operating system experience many of the optimisations and enhancements that Microsoft has baked into the browser in preparation for the Windows 8.1 launch next month. Jointly, Windows 7 and 8.1 will expose IE11 to more than half the desktop computing public, Roger Capriotti senior director of Internet Explorer Marketing, wrote in a blog post.

IE11-with-address-bar-and-tab-preview (Custom)“This release also signals the final preview release before general availability of IE11 for Windows 7 later this fall (Autumn). IE11 for Windows 8.1 will coincide with Windows 8.1 GA [starting at 12 a.m., Oct. 18, in New Zealand] – making IE11 available to more than 50 percent of all desktops worldwide,” noted Capriotti.

Upon its release, IE11 will serve as a faster, more responsive foundation for getting things done on the Web, according to Sandeep Singhal and Rob Mauceri, group program managers for Internet Explorer. The browser’s Chakra JavaScript engine has been tuned to deliver substantial improvements in speed, even compared with the IE11 Developer Preview.

“On Windows 7, IE11 Release Preview is 9 percent faster than IE10, which is a 5 percent improvement from the IE11 Developer Preview, and over 30 percent faster than the nearest competitive browser,” they reported in a 18 September IEBlog post. In WebKit SunSpider JavaScript benchmarks, the browser bested Chrome 29, Firefox 23 and Opera 16 by significant margins.

Talk Like A Pirate

To see firsthand how fluidly IE11 handles interactive content, the company has a created a new test drive demo called PirateMarrrk (in honour of International Talk Like a Pirate Day, 19 September). The demo is a test of “HTML5, JavaScript and Scalable Vector Graphics performance,” stated the post.

IE11 Release Preview for Windows 7 paves the way for broader Web standards support, including emerging standards like Tracking Preference Expression (DNT) and Pointer Events, which are currently wending their way through the W3C approvals process. In addition, the release adds user controls for the Standard Delivery Profile for Closed Captioning.

Consumers aren’t the only ones that Microsoft is hoping to turn on to IE11; it is also catering to Web developers. In-browser F12 tools – named as such since they are invoked by a press of the F12 key – have been tweaked.

Upgrades include a DOM Explorer that provides live previews of edits like Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) values and a console that maps WebGL errors to corresponding JavaScript locations to track down bugs. Other improvements include a refined file picker or debugging complex Web projects, a new “always refresh from server” option for site performance tuning, Search Next and Search Previous network trace functions.

IE11 Release Preview for Windows 7 is available for download now. Virtual machine images are scheduled for release sometime this week at

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Originally published on eWeek.