Windows Internet Explorer 8

Applies To: Windows 7



Windows® Internet Explorer® 8 is the next version of the world’s most popular browser. Microsoft® built it 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 makes great strides in both feature set and performance improvements. This article highlights ways that Internet Explorer 8 makes browsing faster, easier, and safer than earlier versions of Internet Explorer.

Also see the following related documents:


For a complete view of Windows 7 resources, articles, demos, and guidance, please visit the Springboard Series for Windows 7 on the Windows Client TechCenter.
For a downloadable version of this document, see the Windows Internet Explorer 8 in the Microsoft Download Center (


Most IT pros are always looking for good deals on hardware and software they can use at home. For example, you might be in the market for a new media player, and start shopping at the Microsoft Store. You’re sure you can find a good deal on eBay, however, and so you open eBay in another tab and search for Zune. There just has to be a faster way to shop than opening tabs, retyping the name of the product you want, and so on. Based on the data Microsoft collects from millions of users, we know that 80% of the time people spend online is on navigating to the information they need. Microsoft listened, and now Internet Explorer 8 Accelerators can help you use Web services more quickly and easily.

Accelerators provide quick access to the Web services that you use most. Internet Explorer 8 comes with built-in Accelerators that you can use for searching, mapping, translating, and more. Over 1,200 add-ons for Internet Explorer 8 are already available in the Internet Explorer 8 Add-ons Gallery, and Microsoft adds more every day. Take the shopping example. After installing the Find on eBay Accelerator, simply highlight the name of the product, which is Zune in this case, and Internet Explorer 8 displays a small blue Accelerator icon next to the highlighted text. Click the Accelerator icon, and Internet Explorer 8 displays a dropdown list of default Accelerators. Point to the Find product with eBay Accelerator, and a small window pops up, showing a list of matching auctions, as Figure 1 shows. Click any auction to open it in a new tab.


Figure 1. Accelerators

All your search providers are also available as Accelerators. Your default search provider will be your default search Accelerator, and your secondary providers will be available in the Accelerator overflow menu. By clicking Manage Accelerators, you can categorize Accelerators, and you can choose whether each is a default Accelerator or appears on the overflow menu.

Web Slices

Wouldn’t it be great if you knew when your friends had added more pictures to their social network pages, or you could tell instantly when the price changed on an auction you were watching? Web Slices can give you those types of updates directly from the Favorites bar, helping you keep track of important information. A Web Slice is a subscription to a provider’s content; when an update to the content is available, Internet Explorer 8 bolds the title of the Web Slice so that you know there’s something new to see. Web Slices provide much richer content than RSS feeds. You can maintain several Web Slices, easily keeping track of the local weather, your friends’ updates, news, and current auction items. When the Web Slice notifies you of an update, you can either preview the update or click through to the Web page.

You can add Web Slices directly from a Web site that supports the technology or from the Internet Explorer 8 Add-ons Gallery. Open a Web site, find the Web Slice you want to add, click the green Web Slice icon, and then click Add to Favorites Bar. Continuing the shopping example, click the View all items on eBay link to display a list of matching auctions. Then, point to an item in the list to display the green Web Slice icon shown in Figure 2. Click the Web Slice icon, and then click Add to Favorites Bar. Whenever the auction changes, the Web Slice on the Favorites Bar will turn bold.


Figure 2. Web Slices

Click the bold text to open preview that shows the updated content. The preview doesn’t lose your place on the Web, so you can easily get your updates and then quickly return to the Web page you were browsing. This can be much faster than opening a new tab, searching for product, waiting for the page to load, then closing the tab. It’s just another way that Internet Explorer 8 is faster.

Instant and Visual Search Suggestions

Instant and visual search suggestions are examples of features that make browsing the Web easier. As you type in the Search box, it displays a list of search suggestions for similar or related keywords. These suggestions come from the current search provider. In Internet Explorer 8, in addition to providing text suggestions, search providers can deliver visual search suggestions that include an image. Search suggestions also include matching Web sites that are in your browser history. Figure 3 shows a search for “weather seattle”; you can see several suggestions such as seattle weather report, seattle weather history, and seattle weather radar. You also see a list of matching Web sites from the browser history.


Figure 3. Search suggestions

Search Providers

Internet Explorer 8 supports additional search providers, thus enabling you to use different search engines with the Internet Explorer 8 Search box. In a new installation of Windows 7, Bing is the default search provider for Internet Explorer 8, but you can add other providers by clicking the down arrow to the right of the Search button, and then clicking Find More Providers.

Adding additional search providers allows you to use the right provider, at the right time. When you click in the Search box, a QuickPick menu appears (shown in Figure 3). This menu shows icons for installed search providers. If you don’t recognize an icon, point to it, and a tooltip with the provider’s name appears. Due to search providers and the QuickPick menu, using your secondary providers to search the Internet takes just two clicks. You can search with your preferred provider every time.

Security and Privacy

Web sites can be dangerous: hosting malicious content, tricking you in to divulging personal information, or tracking activities without your consent. Internet Explorer 8 can help protect users against security and privacy threats. In a 2009 study by NSS Labs titled Web Browser Security: Socially Engineered Malware Protection Comparative Test Results, Internet Explorer 8 had a 69% catch rate against malware, and the closest competitor had a 30% catch rate. NSS Labs said, “It is clear that Microsoft is making an effort to provide security to their customers with IE8.”

Internet Explorer 8 can block malicious software and help identify malicious Web sites. Internet Explorer 8 has many new security enhancements. In particular, these important additions can help keep your friends and family safe when they are on the Web:

  • SmartScreen Filter. The SmartScreen® Filter can help protect Internet Explorer 8 users against phishing scams and sites that distribute malware. For more information about the SmartScreen Filter, read IE8 Security Part III: SmartScreen Filter.

  • InPrivate Browsing. Internet Explorer 8 InPrivate Browsing can help make privacy easy by not storing history, cookies, temporary Internet files, or other data. To use InPrivate Browsing, click Safety on the browser menu bar, and then click InPrivate Browsing. You can also press Ctrl+Shift+P in Internet Explorer 8, or right-click the Internet Explorer 8 in the Windows 7 taskbar and click InPrivate. Internet Explorer 8 will open a new InPrivate Browser window, as Figure 4 shows.

  • Cross-Site Scripting (XSS) Filter. Enabled by default, the XSS Filter can help provide automatic detection and prevention of Type-1 XSS attacks without affecting performance or compatibility. This setting is found on the Security tab of the Internet Options dialog box and should not be disabled. For more information about how the XSS Filter works, read IE 8 XSS Filter Architecture / Implementation.


Figure 4. InPrivate browsing


Internet Explorer 8 is faster, easier, and safer for how real people use the Web. It gives you fast access to the Web services that you use most. It makes finding and using the information that’s important to you easier. Additionally, Internet Explorer can help defend your security and privacy with features like SmartScreen Filter, Cross-Site Scripting Filter, and InPrivate Browsing. Your friends and family can browse their favorite Web sites faster and easier, and they can be more secure while doing it.