Internet Explorer 8, Release Candidate 1 (aka “IE8 RC1”) has just been released for Windows XP, Vista, and Windows Server 2008 (64-bit, too). However, the RC will not be available for download by Windows 7 Beta testers because IE8 already ships with the Windows 7 Beta OS.
If you’re still running IE7, the high-level changes you’ll notice in the new IE8 include increased speed, increased responsiveness, and overall improved stability. However, it’s the new features like Accelerators and Web Slices that are getting the most attention.
The new IE8 includes something called “accelerators” which help speed up web activities like searches, finding a place on a map, blogging, and more. These are all available just by highlighting the text you want to act on, then right-clicking. A list of accelerators will appear. Several are built-in to the browser by default and developers can also extend the browser by creating their own and offering them as a download.
Another big new feature is “web slices.” These are special sorts of bookmarks (sort of) that you can add to your favorites bar. When clicked, these bookmarks don’t redirect you to a new page, but rather display portions of a web page in a small but easy-to-read window that appears. They’re great for keeping up with things like headlines or weather without having to navigate away from the site you’re on.
Also new in IE8 is private browsing, improved inline search, an improved search bar, automatic crash recovery, and tab groups.
What You Need to Know About RC1
Specifically, in IE8 RC1:
- If you are a Windows Vista or Windows Server 2008 user and you are upgrading from IE8 Beta 1 or Beta 2 to IE8 RC1, you are no longer required to manually uninstall earlier IE8 builds. Instead, IE8 RC1 installer will automatically upgrade your machine from the earlier IE8 builds to the latest IE8 build, all with a single reboot.
- There is a new pre-requisite for IE8 RC1 (KB957388). This update supersedes KB943302 and KB957055 and will be automatically installed as part of your RC1 upgrade, as long as you keep “Install the latest updates” checkbox checked. This update addresses known application compatibility issues in Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008 and improves the performance and reliability of IE8.
- All IE8 Beta 1 and Beta 2 users will be offered IE8 RC1 via Windows Update in 25 languages. For Windows XP and Windows Server 2003, the IE language that gets offered via Windows Update will match the base OS language. For Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008, the IE language that gets offered via Windows Update will match the Active Language that the user selected for their account.
For previous IE8 coverage here on Channel 10, check out our IE 8 First Look video for a run down of what's new.