Internet Explorer 9
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Windows Internet Explorer 9
Internet Explorer 9 in Windows 7
March 14, 2011; 7 months ago (2011-03-14)
The system requirements for Internet Explorer 9 are Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Vista Service Pack 2 or Windows Server 2008 SP2 with the Platform Update. Windows XP and earlier are not supported. Internet Explorer 9 is the last version of Internet Explorer to be supported on Windows Vista; Internet Explorer 10 will only be supported on Windows 7 and later. Both 32-bit and 64-bit builds are available.
- 1 Release history
- 2 Development
- 3 Changes from previous versions
- 4 Removed features
- 5 Reception
- 6 Mobile version
- 7 See also
- 8 References
- 9 Further reading
- 10 External links
 Release history
New notable features
Internet Explorer 9 Platform Preview 5
Internet Explorer 9 Beta
New user interface.
Internet Explorer 9 Platform Preview 7
Internet Explorer 9 Release Candidate
Improved performance, InPrivate Filtering renamed to Tracking Protection, a refined UI, support for more web standards, the option to add a new tab row, and other improvements.
Internet Explorer 9
Improved performance, improved Tracking Protection, and the option to pin multiple targets per page.
Internet Explorer 9 displaying Acid3
Development of Internet Explorer 9 began shortly after Internet Explorer 8 was released. Microsoft began taking features suggestions through Microsoft Connect soon after Internet Explorer 8 was released. The Internet Explorer team focused on improving support for HTML5, CSS3, SVG, XHTML, and the user interface featuring agility and "a clean new design".
Microsoft first announced Internet Explorer 9 at PDC 2009 and spoke mainly about how it takes advantage of hardware acceleration in DirectX to improve the performance of web applications and improve the quality of web typography.
These previews were not full builds of Internet Explorer 9, as they were for testing the latest version of the Trident layout engine. They were for web developers to send feedback on the improvements made, functioned in parallel with any other installed browsers, and were previews of the renderer technology only, containing minimalistic user interfaces and lacking traditional interface elements such as an address bar and navigation buttons. Microsoft updated these previews approximately every eight weeks.
On November 23, 2010, two updates for the Internet Explorer 9 Public Beta were released. KB2448827 brings improvements to reliability and fixes stability issues from the previous beta release. There are not much details of resolved issues disclosed by Microsoft. Moreover, KB2452648 resolves the in-built feedback issue with Internet Explorer 9 and the latest version of Windows Live Sign-in Assistant. These updates can be fetched from Windows Update or the Microsoft Download Center website. On the same day, Internet Explorer build 9.0.8027.6000 based on Internet Explorer 9 Platform Preview 7 was leaked. On February 10, 2011, the Internet Explorer 9 Release Candidate and Platform Preview 8 were released. The Release Candidate version featured improved performance, a Tracking Protection feature, a refined UI, support for more web standards, and other improvements.
 Changes from previous versions
 User Interface
Internet Explorer 9 includes significant alterations to its user interface when compared with previous versions. These include:
- Pinned Sites: Integrates with the Windows 7 taskbar to make web site experience more like an application where users may "pin" a site and then return to it later like a shortcut. In the release candidate, users can pin a site and add more homepages to that site (e.g. pin Facebook and add Twitter as another homepage to that pinned site, so it would become a social program)
- Security-enabled Download Manager: Manages file transfers and can pause and resume downloads and informs if a file may be malicious
- Enhanced Tabs and Tab Page: the new tab page can show most visited sites, and tabs are shown next to the address bar (there is an option to have a separate row, like in Internet Explorer 8) with the feature of closing an inactive tab.
- Add-on Performance Advisor: Shows which third-party add-ons may be slowing down browser performance and then allows the option to disable or remove them
- Compact user interface.
After its final release, 32-bit Internet Explorer 9 has been tested to be the leading mainstream browser in the Sunspider performance test.
The engine significantly improves support for ECMA-262: ECMAScript Language Specification standard, including features new to the recently finalized Fifth Edition of ECMA-262 (often abbreviated ES5). The Internet Explorer 9 browser release scored only 3 faults[original research?] from 10440 tests in the Test262 Ecmascript conformace test (Ver. 0.6.2 5-Apr-2011) created by Ecma International.
DOM improvements include:
- DOM Traversal and Range
- Full DOM L2 and L3 events
getComputedStylefrom DOM Style
Internet Explorer 9 has improved Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) support. The Internet Explorer 9 implementation report, which was created using Internet Explorer 9 Beta, shows Internet Explorer 9 passing 97.7% of all tests on the W3C CSS 2.1 test suite. This is the highest pass rate amongst CSS 2.1 implementation reports submitted to W3C.
CSS3 improvements include support for the following modules:
- CSS3 2D Transforms 
- CSS3 Backgrounds and Borders 
- CSS3 Color 
- CSS3 Fonts 
- CSS3 Media Queries 
- CSS3 Namespaces 
- CSS3 Values and Units 
- CSS3 Selectors 
 HTML5 Media
Internet Explorer 9 includes support for the HTML5 video and audio tags.
The audio tag will include native support for the MP3 and AAC codecs, while the video tag will natively support H.264/MPEG-4 AVC. Support for other video formats, such as WebM, will require third-party plugins.
 HTML5 Canvas
 HTML5 Inline SVG support
The first Internet Explorer 9 Platform Preview has support for:
- Methods of embedding: inline HTML, inline XHTML, <object>, full .svg documents
- Filling, Stroking, (CSS3) Color
- DOML2 Core and SVGDOM
- Presentation Attributes and CSS Styling
- Transform definitions:
SVG elements that are supported in the Platform Preview are fully implemented. Elements that exist in the Platform Preview have corresponding SVGDOM support and can be styled with CSS/presentation attributes.
The final build of Internet Explorer 9 also supports:
- Methods of embedding:
<img>, css image, .svgz
- Gradients and Patterns
- Clipping, Masking, and Compositing
- Cursor, Marker
- Remainder of Text, Transforms, Events
 Web typography
Internet Explorer was the first browser to support web fonts through the
@font-facerule, but only supported the Embedded OpenType (EOT) format, and lacked support for parts of the CSS3 fonts module. Internet Explorer 9 completed support for the CSS3 fonts module and added WOFF support.
 Navigation Timings
Internet Explorer 9 implements the new W3C Navigation Timings format. Microsoft has been a part of creating this format during the development of Internet Explorer 9.
 Tracking Protection
Internet Explorer 9 includes a Tracking Protection feature which improves upon Internet Explorer 8’s InPrivate Filtering. Internet Explorer 8’s InPrivate Filtering blocked third-party content using an XML list which had to be imported or automatically built a list by observing third-party servers that users kept interacting with as they browsed the web, and once a server showed up more than a set number of times, InPrivate Filtering would block future connections to it
Internet Explorer 9 supports two methods of tracking protection. The primary method is through the use of Tracking Protection Lists (TPL) which are now supplied by internet privacy-related organizations or companies. Tracking Protection by default remains on once enabled, unlike InPrivate Filtering which had to be enabled each time Internet Explorer 8 started. When a TPL is selected, Internet Explorer 9 blocks or allows third-party URI downloads based on rules in the TPL. Users can create their personal TPL’s or select a TPL supplied by a third party.
The other method is the use of a Do Not Track header and DOM property. Browser requests from Internet Explorer 9 include this header whenever a TPL is selected. Websites that follow this header should not deliver tracking mechanisms in their websites. At the moment following this header is a voluntary code of conduct but this method could in future be enforced by government legislation.
These tracking protection methods were submitted to W3C for standardization.
 Malware protection
Internet Explorer 9 uses layered protection against malware. It uses technical measures to protect its memory like the DEP/NSX protection, Safe Exception handlers (SafeSEH) and ASLR protection used in Internet Explorer 8.
In addition to those existing forms of memory protection, Internet Explorer 9 now opts-in to SEHOP (Structured Exception Handler Overwrite Protection) which works by validating the integrity of the exception handling chain before dispatching exceptions. This helps ensure that structured exception handling cannot be used as an exploit vector, even when running outdated browser add-ons that have not been recompiled to take advantage of SafeSEH.
In addition, Internet Explorer 9 is compiled with the new C++ compiler provided with Visual Studio 2010. This compiler includes a feature known as Enhanced GS, also known as Stack Buffer Overrun Detection, which helps prevent stack buffer overruns by detecting stack corruption and avoiding execution if such corruption is encountered.
Internet Explorer 8 used SmartScreen technology, which, according to Microsoft, was successful against phishing or other malicious sites and in blocking of socially engineered malware. In Internet Explorer 9, the protection against malware downloads is extended with SmartScreen Application Reputation. This warns downloaders if they are downloading an application without a safe reputation from a site that does not have a safe reputation.
In late 2010, the results of browser malware testing undertaken by NSS labs were published. The study looked at the browser’s capability to prevent users following socially engineered links of a malicious nature and downloading malicious software. It did not test the browser’s ability to block malicious web pages or code.
According to NSS, Internet Explorer 9 blocked 99% of malware downloads compared to 90% for Internet Explorer 8 that does not have SmartScreen Application Reputation feature. In early 2010, similar tests gave Internet Explorer 8 an 85% passing grade, the 5% improvement being attributed to "continued investments in improved data intelligence". By comparison, the same research showed that Chrome 6, Firefox 3.6 and Safari 5, which all rely on Google’s Safe Browsing Service, scored 6%, 19% and 11%, respectively. Opera 10 scored 0%, failing to "detect any of the socially engineered malware samples".
Manufacturers of other browsers criticized the test, focusing upon the lack of transparency of URLs tested and the lack of consideration of layered security additional to the browser, with Google commenting that "The report itself clearly states that it does not evaluate browser security related to vulnerabilities in plug-ins or the browsers themselves", and Opera commenting that the results appeared "odd that they received no results from our data providers" and that "social malware protection is not an indicator of overall browser security".
Internet Explorer 9’s dual-pronged approach to blocking access to malicious URLs—SmartScreen Filter to block bad URLs, and Application Reputation to detect untrustworthy executables—provides the best socially engineered malware blocking of any stable browser version. Internet Explorer 9 blocked 92 percent of malware with its URL-based filtering, and 100 percent with Application-based filtering enabled. Internet Explorer 8, in second place, blocked 90 percent of malware. Tied for third place were Safari 5, Chrome 10, and Firefox 4, each blocking just 13 percent. Bringing up the rear was Opera 11, blocking just 5 percent of malware.
 User agent string
Due to technical improvements of the browser, the Internet Explorer developer team decided to change the user agent (UA) string. The
Mozilla/4.0token was changed to
Mozilla/5.0to match the user agent strings of other recent browsers and to indicate that Internet Explorer 9 is more inter operable than previous versions. The
Trident/4.0token was likewise changed to
Trident/5.0. Because long, extended UA strings cause compatibility issues, Internet Explorer 9’s default UA string does not include .NET identifiers or other "pre-platform" and "post-platform" tokens that were sent by previous versions of the browser. The extended string is still available to websites via the browser’s .userAgent property, and is sent when a web page page is displayed in compatibility view.
IE7 compatibility view?
User agent string
Windows 7/Windows Server 2008 R2
Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 7.0; Windows NT 6.1; Trident/5.0)
Windows 7/Windows Server 2008 R2
Mozilla/5.0 (compatible; MSIE 9.0; Windows NT 6.1; Trident/5.0)
Windows Vista/Windows Server 2008
Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 7.0; Windows NT 6.0; Trident/5.0)
Windows Vista/Windows Server 2008
Mozilla/5.0 (compatible; MSIE 9.0; Windows NT 6.0; Trident/5.0)
In Internet Explorer 9, the extensibility mechanisms for Browser Helper Objects (BHOs) and toolbars remain the same. Not loading BHOs or toolbars improves startup time, but limits the ability of developers to augment the user experience through these extensibility mechanisms.
 Removed features
- Separate search box
- Security zone information and Protected Mode status, progress bar, and other status bar elements except for the Zoom button
- Tab list menu button (Ctrl+Shift+Q)
- Page title from title bar
- Large icons on command bar
- Option to entirely disable ClearType for Internet Explorer only
- Support for DirectX page transitions
 Release candidate
A release candidate was launched on February 10, 2011 in San Francisco. New features since the last beta version were tracking protection and use of hardware accelerated graphics, and improvements included faster performance and more support for emerging HTML5 standards.
Noting that according to Net Applications, Internet Explorer’s share fell to 56% in January 2011, the BBC quoted Microsoft’s claims that Internet Explorer 9 is "playing catch up, but it leapfrogs everything" and "you are seeing innovation after innovation that other folks are catching up to."
In The Register, Tim Anderson said Internet Explorer 9 was Microsoft’s answer to the fall in Internet Explorer’s market share (from 68.5% in July 2008 to 46% in January 2011, according to StatCounter). He felt it was "fast and polished", a "remarkable improvement" over version 8, noting "superb" development tools and "real and significant" support for HTML5, though "not as comprehensive as the company’s publicity implies." However, configuration options are "strewn all over the user interface", and the "distinctive and excellent" ActiveX filtering and Tracking Protection features might be "perplexing for less technical users." Having reached release candidate status eleven months after it was originally announced at the March 2010 MIX conference, "Microsoft’s development process is too slow." The new version is "a good modern browser" but "the competition is moving faster."
 Final release
On its first day of commercial availability, Internet Explorer 9 was downloaded over 2.35 million times.
On 31 October 2011, PC World ranked Internet Explorer 9 as #19 on its 100 Best Products of 2011. The other web browser listed was Maxthon 3.1, a hybrid browser based on Google Chrome and Internet Explorer. PC World praised for its performance.
 Mobile version
At the February 2011 Mobile World Congress, Steve Ballmer announced a major update to Windows Phone 7 due towards the end of 2011, which will include a mobile version of Internet Explorer 9 that supports the same web standards (e.g. HTML5) and hardware accelerated graphics as the PC version. Microsoft demonstrated hardware-accelerated performance of a fish-tank demo using a development build of mobile Internet Explorer 9 compared with slow performance on the November 2010 iOS 4.2.1 RTM of Safari on iPhone 4.