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Windows Internet Explorer 8 Fact Sheet
An overview of the features and benefits of Microsoft Windows Internet Explorer 8.

March 2009

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Microsoft Windows Internet Explorer 8 is the next version of the world’s most popular browser that has been built from the ground up to be the best browser for the way people really use the Web. Faster, easier and safer than ever before, Internet Explorer 8 optimizes developer and end-user experiences to provide a window to the Web of online services. Moreover, Internet Explorer 8 offers new features and functionality that enables people to reach beyond the page in a number of faster, easier, and more secure ways. Following are brief descriptions of the new and enhanced features that Microsoft Corp. has introduced in Internet Explorer 8.

Faster, Easier Web Browsing

Internet Explorer 8 makes great strides in both feature set and performance improvements. The result is faster day-to-day browsing. Here are the ways Internet Explorer 8 makes browsing faster and easier:

Smart Address Bar. The Smart Address Bar makes it easier for people to locate the sites they want to visit. It does this by efficiently matching what a consumer types into the Address Bar with titles in their History and Favorites, without duplicates.

Tab Groups. Tab Groups allow consumers to quickly discern which tabs have related content. When clicking on a link within one tab spawns another, the new tab is placed next to the originating tab, and both tabs are marked with a color.

Redesigned “New Tab” Page. The “New Tab” Page in Internet Explorer 8 has been redesigned to allow people to perform common tasks by clicking on links on the page.

Reopen Last Browsing Session. For those who accidentally close the browser or experience a crash, Internet Explorer 8 enables people to reopen their last browsing session from the most recently closed instance of Internet Explorer 8.

Enhanced Find On Page. Find On Page functionality has been enhanced to improve how consumers search for text on Web pages.

-Find On Page. Find On Page now appears as a toolbar activated by pressing Ctrl-F or choosing Find On Page from the Edit menu or Instant Search Box. The toolbar appears below the user’s tab so it doesn’t obscure any of the text on the page.

-Result count. The enhanced Find On Page functionality shows how many places the search text appears on the page.

-Result highlighting. The enhanced Find On Page functionality makes it so users can locate an item at a glance since it highlights all places on the page where the search text appears.

Faster, Easier Deployment and Manageability for IT Professionals

Internet Explorer 8 offers new features designed to benefit IT professionals. Features that improve IT network management and deployment include these:

Slipstream installation. This enables the deployment of Internet Explorer 8 and customizations as part of the Windows Vista operating system image, eliminating the need to install the browser separately. When Internet Explorer 8 is deployed in this way, it will behave as part of Windows Vista, thereby improving desktop consistency and manageability.

Simplified Internet Explorer Administration Kit. The Internet Explorer Administration Kit helps IT professionals easily configure deployment settings, and now has Favorites customization and the ability to import Accelerators.

Group Policy enhancements. Internet Explorer 8 allows IT administrators to control and configure browser features including Accelerators and Web Slices with more than 140 new Group Policy settings in Internet Explorer 8, bringing the total to nearly 1,500, to ease browser deployment, configuration and customization. There are multiple new Group Policy Objects in areas such as Connection limits, InPrivate, Compatibility View and SmartScreen actions.

Faster, Easier Development With Developer Platform Enhancements

In addition to significant advances in standards support, Internet Explorer 8 contains additional platform investments for developers. Internet Explorer 8 improves performance in many Internet Explorer subsystems, such as the HTML parser, cascading style sheet (CSS) rule processing, markup tree manipulation, the JScript parser, garbage collector runtime and memory management to help Web developers build compelling sites more easily. Additional developer investments include these:

CSS 2.1. Web developers and designers can write their pages once and have them more easily render properly across different browsers because Internet Explorer 8 fully supports the CSS 2.1 specification.

Document Object Model (DOM) and HTML 4.01 improvements. Internet Explorer 8 fixes many cross-browser inconsistencies; for example, get/set/remove Attribute implementation is now interoperable with other browsers, and developers will experience significant performance gains in asynchronous JavaScript and XML (AJAX) design patterns.

Emerging standards. Internet Explorer 8 incorporates advancements for what will become the standards of tomorrow, such as W3C’s HTML 5 Draft DOM Storage standard, the Web Applications Working Group’s Selectors API and ECMAScript 3.1 endorsed syntax.

New navigation features for AJAX applications. Developers can now update the browser back and forward navigation stack and Address Bar from their AJAX application so those browser features work correctly in an AJAX application.

Acid2. Internet Explorer 8 renders the Acid2 browser test correctly.

Compatibility. Internet Explorer 8 ships with a more standards-compatible layout engine that allows developers to build a single standards-based site for multiple browsers. To provide developers with the choice for when they migrate their sites to the new standards-compliant layout engine, Internet Explorer 8 enables Web developers to ask for the Windows Internet Explorer 7 layout engine by inserting a simple meta tag into their code or by adding a single HTTP header on their servers.

Developer tools. Developer tools enable developers to quickly debug HTML, CSS and JScript in a visual environment. These tools have been built directly into Internet Explorer 8 with expanded functionality including a helpful menu option for choosing which application to use when viewing a Web page’s source. Developers can quickly identify and resolve issues because of the deep insight the tool provides into the DOM.

Reach Beyond the Page With New Features

Internet Explorer 8 allows users to reach beyond the page and bring a variety of online services to life. Internet Explorer 8 achieves this through the following new features:

Accelerators. Accelerators give people easy access to the online services they care about most from any page they visit. Meanwhile, developers gain an easy way to extend the reach of their online services. Accelerators also allow users to browse faster by eliminating most of the clicks required to access desired content and services.

Web Slices. With Web Slices, people can see the information they want to see most often without going away from the page they are on, and developers can mark parts of Web pages as Web Slices and enable users to easily monitor the information they most frequently browse to, all while they move about the Web. Web Slices appear in the Favorites bar, where people can identify updated sites when in bold. From there, they can see a rich Web Slice visualization of their content with easy access back to the source Web page.

Instant Search Box. The enhanced Instant Search Box in Internet Explorer 8 is more helpful, making it easier for people to find content of interest and increasing the relevancy of search results. As users type a search term, they can see real-time search suggestions, including images and rich text, from their chosen search provider. There is a quick pick menu at the bottom of the Search box, enabling people to toggle back and forth between their favorite Web sites and search providers’ Search Suggestions with a simple mouse click. In addition, the enhanced Instant Search Box presents results from the user’s own Favorites and browsing History.

The Most Secure, Reliable Version of Internet Explorer to Date

As today’s online threats evolve, people still need to trust that they can browse safely. Internet Explorer 8 enhances customers’ online confidence by providing an increased ability to control and protect their data. Internet Explorer 8 is delivering an end-to-end approach to security and privacy that is focused on social engineering, new defenses against Web server attacks, and additional improvements to defend against browser-based exploits. Several security and privacy investments found in Internet Explorer 8 include these:

InPrivate. InPrivate helps to protect people’s data and privacy from being retained locally on the PC they are using. This protects against third parties who might be in a position to track a consumers’ online activities. Consumers have the ability to use either of the features (InPrivate Blocking or InPrivate Filtering) independently.

-InPrivate Browsing. When activated, InPrivate Browsing helps ensure that History, temporary Internet files and cookies are not recorded on a PC after browsing. When in InPrivate Browsing, toolbars and extensions are automatically disabled, and browsing History is automatically deleted when the browser is closed.

-InPrivate Filtering. InPrivate Filtering helps protect privacy by enabling the consumer to filter content coming from third parties that are in a position to track and aggregate their online behavior. Users are provided with notice, choice and control of which third parties to allow and which ones to filter.

Compatibility View. Internet Explorer 8 provides people with an easy way to fix display problems such as out-of-place menus, images and text with a Compatibility View button that displays those pages as they were designed to be viewed. Some Web sites that are designed for older browsers may not display correctly in Internet Explorer 8, which by default renders content in the most standards-compliant way possible.

-Compatibility View list. Those using Internet Explorer 8 can choose to receive a list of major sites that are best viewed in Compatibility View. When navigating to a site on the list, Internet Explorer 8 will automatically display the site in Compatibility View without requiring the user to press the Compatibility View button.

-Crash recovery. In Internet Explorer 8, if a tab does crash, it is automatically restored and reloaded, and any information the user may have already entered on the page (such as when writing an e-mail or filling out a form) is restored.

Delete Browsing History. Internet Explorer 8 enhances the Delete Browsing History feature by providing the ability to delete some cookies, History and other data while preserving cookies, History and other data for favorite sites.

SmartScreen Filter. Built upon the Microsoft Phishing Filter, the SmartScreen Filter helps protect customers against a broader set of phishing threats and helps protect from sites that attempt to download malicious software. The SmartScreen Filter is easy to use with enhanced user interface and warning messages to reduce users’ click-through to confirmed sites.

ClickJacking prevention. New in Internet Explorer 8 is a feature that allows Web site content owners to put a tag in a page header that will help prevent ClickJacking, a type of cross-site request forgery. ClickJacking encompasses multiple techniques that can be used to trick Web users into unwittingly clicking an obscured or hidden Web element, usually resulting in an unwanted transaction. Internet Explorer 8 will detect sites that insert the tag and give users a new error screen indicating that the content host has chosen not to allow their content to be framed, while giving users the option to open the content in a new window.

Cross-site scripting (XSS) filter. Internet Explorer 8 helps protect customers and systems from attacks that can lead to information disclosure, cookie stealing, account or identity theft, or other attempts to masquerade as the user without permission. XSS attacks have emerged as a leading exploit against Web servers and Web applications. Internet Explorer 8 has an XSS filter that is able to dynamically detect type-1 XSS (reflection) attacks.

Data Execution Prevention (DEP). DEP, on by default in Internet Explorer 8 in Windows Vista Service Pack 1, is a security feature that can help prevent damage to computers from viruses and other security threats by preventing certain types of code from writing to executable memory space.

Cross-Document Messaging (XDM). XDM provides a highly secure method that allows different documents to communicate with each other given mutual consent. XDM is a simple, standards-based, high-performance mechanism for bidirectional cross-document communication. Internet Explorer 8 also provides a toStaticHTML method and native JavaScript Object Notation support to safely sanitize data without sacrificing performance.

Cross-Domain Requests (XDR). Internet Explorer 8 includes support for XDomainRequest objects, which can be used to more securely request public resources from another domain’s server. Cross-domain communication is an integral part of AJAX development and mashup applications. XDR now checks Access-Control-Allow-Origin for specific URLs as well as wildcards. Cross-domain data is available only when the server signals its explicit intent to share data across domains, helping protect legacy servers from Domain Highlighting. Internet Explorer 8 makes it easier for consumers to tell which site they are on and aid them in identifying phishing sites and other deceptive sites by highlighting the domain name of the URL string in the Address Bar in bold text. The domain name is in black, standing out from other characters in the URL, which are gray.

Per-site ActiveX. Per-site ActiveX reduces attack surface by providing an implicit SiteLock (a tool for restricting access to a specific domain) so that controls may only run from their point of installation by default. This enables users and administrators to manage where a given ActiveX Control is allowed to run.

Per-user ActiveX. Per-user ActiveX allows developers to write their ActiveX Controls so that when a user installs them, they are installed only for that user and not for all users on the system, providing a level of protection for other users against malicious or badly written controls.

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