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Windows Internet Explorer 8 Beta 2 Fact Sheet

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

August 2008

Windows Internet Explorer 8 is the next version of the world’s most popular browser that 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 enable customers to reach beyond the page in more secure, easier and faster ways than ever. Following are brief descriptions of the key new and enhanced features in Internet Explorer 8. Features that are new in beta 2 or have been significantly improved since beta 1 are noted with an asterisk (*).

Faster, Easier Web Browsing

Internet Explorer 8 makes great strides in both features and performance improvements that provide faster day-to-day browsing. Many ways in which Internet Explorer 8 makes browsing faster and easier include these:

Smart Address Bar*. In addition to matching URLs in the user’s site history, the Smart Address Bar in Internet Explorer 8 matches what a user types in the Address Bar with titles in the history as well as content in their favorites and feeds, making it easier to locate sites the user wants to visit.

Enhanced Find On Page. Find On Page functionality has been enhanced to improve how users 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 the user how many places the search text appears on the page.

Result highlighting. The enhanced Find On Page functionality highlights all places on the page where the search text appears so users can locate them at a glance.

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

Tab Groups*. When one tab is opened from another, the new tab is placed next to the originating tab, and both are marked with a colored tab, so users can quickly discern which tabs have related content.

Reopen last browsing session*. Internet Explorer 8 enables users to reopen their last browsing session from the most recently closed instance of Internet Explorer, which is useful if the user accidentally closes the browser.

Faster, Easier Deployment and Manageability for IT Professionals

Internet Explorer 8 offers new features designed to benefit IT professionals. Some of the 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 and cannot be uninstalled by users, thereby improving desktop consistency and manageability.

Simplified Internet Explorer Administration Kit (IEAK)*. The Internet Explorer Administration Kit has a new user interface that helps IT professionals more easily configure deployment settings for Internet Explorer. This feature will be available as a beta in English timed with Internet Explorer 8 beta 2. The IEAK will support Internet Explorer 8 as it expands into additional languages once it is released to the public.

Group Policy enhancements*. More than 100 new Group Policy settings ease browser deployment, configuration and customization. Examples of settings that can be managed in this way include specifying the browser’s default rendering mode, configuring accelerators and search providers, controlling the behavior of the SmartScreen filter, or controlling access to the browser’s integrated developer tools.

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. Upon final release, Internet Explorer 8 will have full support for the CSS 2.1 specification. With support for CSS 2.1, Web developers and designers can write their pages once and have them more easily render properly across different browsers.

Document object model (DOM) and HTML 4.01 improvements. Internet Explorer 8 fixes many cross-browser inconsistencies such as get/set/remove Attribute, default attributes, Attribute object and the <Q> tag.

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 and the Web API Working Group’s Selectors API.

New navigation features for asynchronous Javascript and XML (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 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*. The tools formerly available via the Internet Explorer Developer Toolbar are built directly into Internet Explorer 8 with expanded functionality. These tools enable developers to quickly debug HTML, CSS and JScript in a visual environment. 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 the variety of online services to life. Several ways that Internet Explorer can bring online services to life include these:

Accelerators. Accelerators, which were called Activities in beta 1, give users ready access to the online services they care about most from any page they visit, and developers gain an easy way to extend the reach of their online services. They allow users to browse faster by allowing them to launch online services without having to leave the current Web page.

Web Slices*. Developers can mark parts of Web pages as Web Slices and enable users to monitor information they rely on as they move about the Web. With a click in the Favorites bar, users see rich Web Slice visuals and developers establish a valuable end-user connection.

Enhanced Search Box*. The Search Box in Internet Explorer 8 is more helpful, making it easier for users to find content of interest and increasing the odds that search results will be relevant. As users type a search term, they can see real-time search suggestions, including images, from their chosen search provider. In addition, the Search Box now presents results from the user’s own Favorites and browsing history.

The Most Secure Version of Internet Explorer to Date

Today’s online threat attack vectors have evolved dramatically, but people still need to trust they can browse securely. 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 browser-based exploits. Several security and privacy investments found in Internet Explorer 8 include these:

InPrivate Browsing*. When activated, InPrivate Browsing ensures that history, temporary Internet files and cookies are not recorded on a user’s PC after browsing.

InPrivate Blocking*. InPrivate Blocking helps protect privacy by offering the user the ability to block 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 block.

Compatibility View*. 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. Internet Explorer 8 has a Compatibility View button that displays those pages as they were designed to be viewed, providing people with an easy way to fix display problems such as out-of-place menus, images and text.

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 users with the ability to delete some cookies, history and other data while preserving cookies, history and other data for their favorite sites.

SmartScreen filter*. Built upon the Microsoft Phishing Filter, the SmartScreen filter helps protect against a broader set of phishing threats and helps protect from sites that attempt to download malicious software.

Cross-Site Scripting (XSS) filter*. 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. This helps protect users and systems from attacks that can lead to information disclosure, cookie stealing, account/identity theft or otherwise masquerading as the user without permission.

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 your computer 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.

Cross-domain requests (XDR). Cross-domain communication is an integral part of AJAX development and mashup applications. 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 data is available only when the server signals its explicit intent to share data across domains, helping protect legacy servers from attack.

Domain highlighting. Internet Explorer 8 highlights the domain name of the URL string in the Address Bar in bold text, making it easier for users to tell which site they are on and aid them in identifying phishing sites and other deceptive sites. 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 only installed 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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