As promised, Microsoft has released Internet Explorer 10 Preview on Windows 7. The new browser can be installed on Windows 7 32/64-bit SP1 or Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1. You require 512MB RAM and up to 120MB of hard disk space. Sorry XP and Vista users — you’re out of luck.
The installer itself is a 800Kb file which proceeds to download many megabytes in the background and reboot your PC. It takes a while, although that could have been people like me rushing to upgrade their Windows 7 PCs. But seriously, Microsoft — other browsers download and install in seconds.
So what’s it like? My recent IE10 review describes the main features and updates. The differences in Windows 7:
- There’s no (Interface Formally Known As) Metro mode — but you’re not missing much unless you have a tablet.
- Windows 7 has Aero, Windows 8 offers a simpler UI.
- Adobe Flash is not natively integrated — you require the plugin.
Other than that, it’s much the same browser. Same HTML5 test score of 320+6 / 500, same 100 / 100 Acid3 test result. If you liked IE9, you’ll like IE10. It’s just as fast and offers a full range of HTML5 and CSS3 facilities.
While it remains a preview (why the delay?), IE10 on Windows 7 is a full browser which replaces IE9. If necessary, you can revert back from the Control Panel > Programs and Features > Turn Windows features on or off > uncheck Internet Explorer 10.
Only one question remains: should you install IE10? If you only own one test machine, I’d suggest not. IE9 has an 17% market share; IE10 has less than 1%. Besides, IE10 will cause far fewer issues so there’s less urgency to test it.
For everyone else — go for it. IE10 may be a preview but it’s stable and, whatever your opinion of Microsoft’s browser, it’s better than IE9.
Craig is a freelance UK web consultant who built his first page for IE2.0 in 1995. Since that time he's been advocating standards, accessibility, and best-practice HTML5 techniques. He's created enterprise specifications, websites and online applications for companies and organisations including the UK Parliament, the European Parliament, the Department of Energy & Climate Change, Microsoft, and more. He's written more than 1,000 articles for SitePoint and you can find him @craigbuckler.
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