Internet Explorer 8 – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Internet Explorer 8

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Windows Internet Explorer 8
Internet Explorer 7 Logo.png
A component of Microsoft Windows

Internet Explorer 8.png

Internet Explorer 8 in Windows 7


Web browser
FTP client

Included with
Windows 7
Windows Server 2008 R2

Also available for
Windows XP SP2 or later
Windows Server 2003 SP2
Windows Vista
Windows Server 2008

Internet Explorer 7

Replaced by
Internet Explorer 9

Support status


Related components

Internet Explorer versions:
1 · 2 · 3 · 4 · 5 · 6 · 7 · 8 · 9 · 10

Windows Internet Explorer 8 (abbreviated as IE8) is a web browser developed by Microsoft in the Internet Explorer browser series. The browser was released on March 19, 2009 for Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008, and Windows 7.[1] Both 32-bit and 64-bit builds are available. It is the successor to Internet Explorer 7, released in 2006, and is the default browser for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 operating systems.[2] As of January 2011, estimates of IE8’s global market share ranged from 26-33%.[3][4][5]

Internet Explorer 8 is the first version of IE to pass the Acid2 test, although it scores only 20/100 on the Acid3 Test. According to Microsoft, security, ease of use, and improvements in RSS, Cascading Style Sheets, and Ajax support were its priorities for IE8.[6][7]

Internet Explorer 8 is the last version of Internet Explorer to be supported on Windows XP; the next version, Internet Explorer 9, is supported only on Windows Vista and Windows 7 operating systems.[8][9]



[edit] History

Browser’s wordmark

IE8 development started in at least March 2006.[10] In February 2008, Microsoft sent out private invitations for IE8 Beta 1,[11] and on March 5, 2008, released Beta 1 to the general public,[12] although with a focus on web developers.[13] The release launched with a Windows Internet Explorer 8 Readiness Toolkit website promoting IE8 white papers, related software tools, and new features in addition to download links to the Beta.[12][14] The Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN) added new sections detailing new IE8 technology.[12][14][15] Major press focused on a controversy about Version Targeting, and two new features then called WebSlice and Activities. The readiness toolkit was promoted as something "developers can exploit to make Internet Explorer 8 ‘light up’."[12]

On August 27, 2008, Microsoft made IE8 Beta 2 generally available.[16] PC World noted various Beta 2 features such as InPrivate mode, tab isolation and color coding, and improved standards and compatibility compared to Internet Explorer 7.[17] Two name changes included Activities to Accelerators, and the IE7 Phishing filter renamed Safety Filter in the first Beta to SmartScreen, both accompanied by incremental technical changes as well.[17] By August 2008 the new feature called InPrivate had taken the spotlight.[17]

The first non-beta version was released on March 19, 2009.

[edit] Release history

Internet Explorer 8 Release History

Release Date
Windows XP
Server 2003
Windows Vista
Server 2008
Windows 7


Beta 1[12]
March 5, 2008
SP2 Only
SP2 Only

Beta 2[16]
August 27, 2008
SP2 Only
SP2 Only

Partner Build (Pre RC)[20]
December 10, 2008
SP2 Only
SP2 Only

Release Candidate[21]
January 26, 2009
SP2 Only
SP2 Only

Release to Manufacturing[23]
March 19, 2009
SP2 Only
SP2 Only

Release to Manufacturing[25]
May 27, 2010
SP2 Only
SP2 Only

*additional languages, for a total of 63 by June 2009, were released, but not all languages are available on all Windows versions.

On January 5, 2009, a tool was provided by Microsoft to block the automatic install of Internet Explorer 8 via Windows Update.

As of May 20, 2009, Windows XPe (Embedded) was not a supported platform for Internet Explorer 8. There have been no announcements of planned support.

On May 27, 2010, Microsoft released Internet Explorer 8 optimized for Bing and MSN. The file name is BOIE8_ENUS_XP.exe.

[edit] Language support

Language support (localization) was not complete on release. IE8 was released with 25 languages.[23] This has grown up to 63 for Vista 32-bit in June 2009.[26] Support for additional languages can come pre-installed based on the OS, or from downloaded "MUI" language packs.[24] MUI stands for Multilingual User Interface.

[edit] Features


Internet Explorer 8 contains many new features, including WebSlices and Accelerators.[27][28]

[edit] Added features
[edit] Accelerators

Main article: Accelerator (Internet Explorer)

A map Accelerator using the IE8 Accelerators Smart tag

Accelerators are a form of selection-based search which allow a user to invoke an online service from any other page using only the mouse.[29] Actions such as selecting the text or other objects will give users access to the usable Accelerator services (such as blogging with the selected text, or viewing a map of a selected geographical location), which can then be invoked with the selected object. According to Microsoft, Accelerators eliminate the need to copy and paste content between web pages.[27] IE8 specifies an XML-based encoding which allows a web application or web service to be invoked as an Accelerator service. How the service will be invoked and for what categories of content it will show up are specified in the XML file.[30] Similarities have been drawn between Accelerators and the controversial Smart tags feature experimented with in the IE 6 Beta but withdrawn after criticism (though later included in MS Office).[13]

[edit] Autocomplete changes

The address bar features domain highlighting for added security so that the top-level domain is shown in black whereas the other parts of the URL are grayed out. Domain highlighting cannot be turned off by users or web sites. Other features of the address bar include support for pasting multi-line URLs and an improved model for inserting the selection caret, and selecting words, or entire URLs in the Address bar. The inline autocomplete feature has been dropped from Internet Explorer 8, leading to criticism by beta users.[31]

[edit] Automatic Tab crash recovery

If a website or add-on causes a tab to crash in Internet Explorer 8, only that tab is affected. The browser itself remains stable and other tabs remain unaffected, thereby minimizing any disruption to the browsing experience. If a tab unexpectedly closes or crashes it is automatically reloaded with the same content as before the crash.

[edit] Developer tools

For developers, IE8 includes tools that allow HTML, CSS and JavaScript debugging directly from the browser.[32]

[edit] Favorites Bar

Another new feature in IE8 is a redesigned Favorites Bar, which can now host content such as Web Slices, web feeds, and documents, in addition to website links.

[edit] Inline search within pages

Internet Explorer 8 now has replaced the Find… dialog box with an inline Find toolbar which can be activated by pressing CTRL+F or from search box drop-down menu but the F3 (or any other kind of a keyboard-driven) NextFind command has gone. Internet Explorer 8 highlights all instances of found words while allowing the user to continue the navigation normally.[33]

[edit] InPrivate

Main article: privacy mode

Internet Explorer 8 in InPrivate mode

A new security mode called InPrivate debuted with IE8, and consists of two main features: InPrivate Browsing and InPrivate Filtering.[17] InPrivate Browsing has been described as a "porn mode" in various news outlets.[34][35][36][37][38][39][40][41] A similar feature, first introduced in Safari in 2005[42], was later implemented in Firefox 3.5, Opera 10.5 and Google Chrome. InformationWeek mentioned it as a "’Stealth’ Privacy Mode".[43]

InPrivate Browsing in Internet Explorer 8 helps prevent one’s browsing history, temporary Internet files, form data, cookies, and usernames and passwords from being retained by the browser, leaving no easily accessible evidence of browsing or search history. InPrivate Filtering provides users an added level of control and choice about the information that third party websites can use to track browsing activity. InPrivate Subscriptions allow you to augment the capability of InPrivate Blocking by subscribing to lists of websites to block or allow.

As with other private browsing modes there are ways that information about a browsing session can be recovered.

[edit] Performance and stability

The architecture of IE8

Internet Explorer 8 includes performance improvements across the HTML parser, CSS engine, mark-up tree manipulation as well as the JScript runtime and the associated garbage collector. Memory leaks due to inconsistent handling of circular references between JScript objects and DOM objects were corrected.[44] For better security and stability, IE8 uses the Loosely Coupled Internet Explorer (LCIE) architecture and runs the browser frame and tabs in separate processes. LCIE prevents glitches and hangs from bringing down the entire browser and leads to higher performance and scalability. Permissions for ActiveX controls have been made more flexible – instead of enabling or disabling them globally, they can now be allowed on a per-site basis.[45]

[edit] SmartScreen Filter

SmartScreen Filter extended Internet Explorer 7‘s phishing filter to include protection from socially engineered malware. Every website and download is checked against a local list of popular legitimate websites, if the site is not listed the entire address is sent to Microsoft for further checks.[46] If it has been labeled as an impostor or harmful, Internet Explorer 8 will show a screen prompting that the site is reported harmful and shouldn’t be visited. From there the user can either visit his or her homepage, visit the previous site, or continue to the unsafe page.[47] New with SmartScreen in IE8: if a user attempts to download a file from a location reported harmful then the download is cancelled. The effectiveness of SmartScreen filtering is superior to socially engineered malware protection in other browsers [48]

This feature can be disabled or enforced using Group Policy.

Internet Explorer 8 Developer Tools in a JavaScript debugging session

[edit] Suggested Sites

This feature is described by Microsoft as a tool to suggest websites, which is done by the browser sending information to Microsoft over a secure connection, which keeps the information and a per-session, uniquely-generated identifier for a short time.[49] The Suggested Sites feature is turned off by default and is disabled when the user is browsing with InPrivate enabled or visiting SSL-secured, intranet, IP address, or IDN address sites. Potentially personally-identifiable information such as the user’s IP address and browser information is sent to Microsoft as an artifact of the HTTPS protocol. Microsoft has stated that they do not store this information.

The functionality was defended by Microsoft after’s Gregg Keizer described it as a "phone home" feature.[50]

[edit] Web Slices and authenticated feeds

Main article: Web Slice

IE8 Favorites menu displaying a WebSlice in a flyout Window

Web Slices are snippets of the entire page to which a user can subscribe.[29] Web Slices will be kept updated by the browser automatically, and can be viewed directly from the Favorites bar, complete with graphics and visuals. Developers can mark parts of the pages as Web Slices, using the hAtom and hSlice microformat. Web Slices have been compared to Active Desktop, introduced in Internet Explorer 4 in 1997.[51]

Microsoft donated the specification to the public domain under the Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication. It is also covered by the Microsoft Open Specification Promise.[52]

Windows RSS Platform also supports authenticated feeds beginning with Internet Explorer 8.[53]

[edit] Zooming and image scaling

Full-page zoom now reflows the text to remove the appearance of horizontal scrollbars on zooming.[45] Image scaling is done using bicubic interpolation resulting in smoother looking images when scaled.[54]

Using the compatibility mode will cause style issues with <select> form elements when changing zoom levels.

[edit] Multilingual User Interface (MUI)

see Internet Explorer 8#Language support

[edit] Per-Site ActiveX Controls

The Information bar lets users allow an ActiveX control to run on all Web sites or only the current one (Per-Site basis). Users can easily make changes to this behavior through the Manage Add-ons dialog box. For each ActiveX control there’s a list of sites where it has been approved by the user.

[edit] Removed features
  • In Internet Explorer 8, the previous session can no longer be automatically restored the next time. The user must remember to and manually open it the next time. [55]
  • Address Bar inline AutoComplete[31]
  • CSS Expressions are no longer supported in Internet Explorer 8 Standards mode[56]
  • No longer able to drag and drop web page text to other applications.[57][dubiousdiscuss]
  • Opening web folders (must now be done through the drive mapping tools).[58]
  • Support for the proprietary <wbr> element is dropped[59]
  • The option to delete files and settings stored by addons or ActiveX controls; rather, it is performed automatically.[60]
  • Web page links and images can be dragged only to the desktop or to an open Explorer window.[57]

[edit] Standards support

[edit] Standards mode

Internet Explorer 8’s main rendering mode, known as standards mode, has improved support for various web standards, especially CSS, compared to Internet Explorer 7 and earlier versions.[61]

The web standards supported by IE8 include the following:

However, IE8 does not support some other W3C standards:

Internet Explorer’s failure (20/100) of the Acid3 rendering test.

IE8 passes the Acid2 test,[66][67] but fails the Acid3 test with a score of 20/100. During its development, Microsoft developed over 7,000 tests for CSS level 2 compliance, which were submitted to the W3C for inclusion in their test suite.[68]

[edit] Compatibility mode

See also: Version targeting

Internet Explorer 8 was promoted by Microsoft as having stricter adherence to W3C described web standards than Internet Explorer 7. As a result, as in every IE version before it, some percentage of web pages coded to the behavior of the older versions would break in IE8. This would have been a repetition of the situation with IE7 which, while having fixed bugs from IE6, broke pages that used the IE6-specific hacks to work around its non-compliance. This was especially a problem for offline HTML documents, which may not be updatable (e.g. stored on a read-only medium, such as a CD-ROM or DVD-ROM).

To avoid this situation, IE8 implements a form of Version Targeting whereby a page could be authored to a specific version of a browser using the X-UA-Compatible declaration either as a meta element or in the HTTP headers.[69]

In order to maintain backwards compatibility, sites can opt-into IE7-like handling of content by inserting a specially created meta element into the web page that triggers the "Compatibility mode" in the browser, using:[61]

<meta http-equiv="X-UA-Compatible" content="IE=EmulateIE7" />

A newer version of the browser than the page was coded for would emulate the behavior of the older version, so that the assumptions the page made about the browser’s behavior holds true.

Microsoft proposed that a page with a doctype that triggers standards mode (or almost standards mode) in IE7 would, by default, trigger IE7-like behavior, called "standards mode" (now called "strict mode") in IE8 and future versions of IE. The new features of IE8 are enabled to trigger what Microsoft called the "IE8 standards mode" (now called "standards mode"). Doctypes that trigger quirks mode in IE7 will continue to do so in IE8.

Peter Bright of Ars Technica claimed that the idea of using a meta tag to pick a specific rendering mode fundamentally misses the point of standards-based development but positioned the issue as one of idealism versus pragmatism in web development, noting that not all of the Web is maintained, and that "demanding that web developers update sites to ensure they continue to work properly in any future browser version is probably too much to ask."[70]

The result for IE 8 Beta 1 was that it could render three modes: "Quirks," "Strict," and "Standard." When there is an old DOCTYPE or when there is no DOCTYPE, IE renders it like IE5 would (quirks mode). When a special meta element or its corresponding HTTP header is included in a web page, IE8 will render that page like IE7 would (strict mode). Otherwise, IE8 renders pages with its own engine (standard mode). Users can switch between the three modes with a few clicks.[27] The release of Internet Explorer 8 Beta 1 revealed that many web sites do not work in this new standards mode.

Microsoft maintains a list of websites that have been reported to have problems in IE8’s standards mode, known as the compatibility view list. When a user enables this list IE8 will render the websites in the list using its compatibility view mode.[71] The list is occasionally updated to add newly reported problematic websites, as well as to remove websites whose owners have requested removal. The Internet Explorer team also tests the websites on the list for compatibility issues and removes those where none are found.[72]

[edit] Adoption

Internet Explorer Market Share

— Jul 2011[73] via Net Applications [note 1]

Internet Explorer 6


Internet Explorer 7

Internet Explorer 9


All variants


  1. ^ Includes Maxthon, Tencent Traveler, and other Internet Explorer shells.

This box: view · talk · edit

Five weeks after the release of IE 8 Beta 2 in August 2008, Beta 1’s market share had grown from 0.05% to 0.61%, according to Net Applications.[74] On July 2009, just under 4 months after the final release, the market share jumped to 13%.[74]

See also: Usage share of web browsers

[edit] Reviews

On March 19, 2009, review by Benny Har-Even of IT PRO said:

Overall, Internet Explorer 8 is an impressive package, and while it lacks the raw speed of Chrome, the flashiness of Safari 4, and the extendibility of Firefox, it does offer reliability and some good features, which could be enough to win it some fans. It’s certainly the best version of Internet Explorer in a long time, and Firefox fanboys are going to have to face up to the fact that IE is no longer a dog on which to pour unremitting scorn. That said, there’s not yet anything here to make Firefox users want to jump ship, though once a bit of spick and polish has been added, particularly to the addons it’s going to make it harder to persuade the unconverted to switch away from IE. In that sense, Mozilla and the others have done their job fantastically – forcing Microsoft to up its ante to produce a better featured, faster and more reliable browsing experience for the masses. Microsoft should get some praise at least, simply for paying attention.[75]

On April 2, 2009, a review by the editor and network engineer Mark Joseph Edwards in the newsletter Windows Secrets said:

Microsoft touts Internet Explorer 8 as a big improvement over previous versions of the browser in terms of security, speed, and compatibility. […] Even though IE 8 adds some useful security features, its continued reliance on ActiveX makes the browser vulnerable in its very foundation. This lack of security is a primary reason many people have stopped using IE. Security isn’t the only factor causing Web denizens to flock to alternative browsers. For years, Internet Explorer’s page rendering has caused major headaches for Web developers and users alike. Some pages that look and function as designers intended in Firefox, Opera, and other third-party browsers have their layouts broken when rendered by Internet Explorer. IE 8 makes an effort to improve compatibility but ultimately falls short. Performance is another area where IE has trailed the competition. Just as IE 7 runs faster than IE 6, the new version 8 is quicker than its predecessor. However, early tests indicate that IE 8 is still much slower than other browsers. […] There’s no doubt that IE 8 is a much better browser than IE 7. Nevertheless, it’s still inferior to Firefox and other alternatives. As to whether you should upgrade to IE 8 now or later, my advice is to use Firefox instead of either version.[76]

[edit] System requirements

IE8 requires at least:[77]

  • Processor speed: 233 MHz
  • Memory: 64 MB for 32-bit Windows XP/Server 2003, 128 MB for 64-bit Windows XP/Server 2003, and 512 MB for Windows Vista/Server 2008 (32-bit and 64-bit)
  • Display: Super VGA (800 x 600) monitor with 256 colors.
  • Peripherals: Modem or internet connection; mouse or compatible pointing device.
[edit] OS requirement

Internet Explorer 8 – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


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