Friday, February 11, 2011

Internet Explorer 9 (IE9) Release Candidate

After a few years of Firefox (Free, 4.5 stars) chipping away at Microsoft's dominant browser position, Internet Explorer's real threat emerged just over two years ago: Google's Chrome. While Chrome has gone from nothing to over 10 percent of browser use, Firefox has held steady, and Internet Explorer has steadily declined. Microsoft knew they had to do something big to fight back against Chrome, and IE9 is the result of these efforts. It's a huge advance from the Internet Explorers of the past. But is it good enough to take the browser crown from recent favorite Google Chrome? The release candidate is available for download today, so I've decided to give it the review full treatment.

The release candidate of IE9 is even faster than the beta, adds more HTML5 support, and it sticks with that software's trimmed down UI, giving the most space to the webpage of any browser. Microsoft has also built in the unique new Tracking Protection feature for added privacy. Finally, it tweaks tabs, search, and its unique pinned site capability that places site icons in the Taskbar.

If you're running the IE9 Beta, there's no need to uninstall it: IE9 RC will replace it, and will become your only version of IE. There are already language versions in Chinese traditional and simplified, French, Spanish, Japanese, Korean, and German in addition to English, with many more presumably to follow. But remember, IE9 only runs on the most recent flavors of Microsoft's operating system—Windows 7 and Vista—and there are separate installers for the two and separate versions for 32-bit and 64-bit editions. After downloading the correct installer, running it takes longer than installing Chrome, Firefox, or Opera (Free, 4 stars), and, also unlike those, it requires a reboot and OS updates

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