Microsoft Brings Internet Explorer 10 Preview To Windows 7 PCs

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As promised last month, Microsoft today expanded access to its Internet Explorer 10 web browser, by launching a preview of IE 10 for Windows 7. Previously, IE 10 was only available on Windows 8. The update includes the same standards-based platform that Windows 8 users received, says Microsoft, including support for touch, a full screen user interface, security improvements, and support for HTML5 and CSS3.

The update will also send the “Do Not Track” signal to websites, also now supported by the latest version of Google Chrome, which is meant to enable consumers to protect their privacy by opting out of having online advertisers and websites track their movements for the purpose of sending them targeted ads. That option, however, is somewhat ineffective in its present form as it requires websites and services to respond to the DTR requests appropriately. Yahoo, notably, said it would not support DTR, despite being partners with Microsoft, where the option was switched on by default. (Chrome, Firefox, Opera and Safari have it shut off).

Microsoft took the time in today’s official announcement to further press the issue, saying:

Microsoft’s customers have been clear that they want more control over how their personal information is used online.  While “Do Not Track” is a technology solution that’s still in its formative stages, it holds the promise of giving people greater choice and control of their privacy as they browse the Web.

The link above points to a lengthy post from Brad Smith, Microsoft’s General Counsel & EVP, Legal & Corporate Affairs, which sets forth the case as to why Microsoft wants to make DTR a web standard, adopted by the W3C.

However, outside of the DTR controversy, the majority of IE 10’s features will be welcome new additions or upgrades. Microsoft took the time to highlight some of the technical underpinnings in the browser, including improved hardware acceleration, the Chakra JavaScript engine, improved HTML5 support, and more. Browser performance test results were also highlighted.

Although the world is rapidly shifting to mobile, IE still holds a top spot in desktop browser share. According to Net Applications, IE has 54.1% of the desktop market, ahead of Firefox, Chrome and Safari. Other browser tracking services, which analyze data differently, have seen Chrome overtake IE in months past, though. And on mobile, Safari leads.

The IE 10 preview (which is something like Microsoft’s code for “beta”), is available for download today, here.