IE 9 Has Finally Arrived

It’s here…  The final release of IE 9 will ship almost exactly one year after the first beta preview was unveiled, and about a year and a half after the browser was originally demonstrated during the Windows 7 launch in October 2009.

Last night, at midnight, Microsoft made IE9 available for download.
America’s favorite – well – since it comes pre-installed on every Windows PC ever sold – let’s just call it America’s most installed Web browser – is back for another round. And with its market share sliding, Microsoft seems like it might actually want to impress us this time around. Internet Explorer 9 rises to the challenge with an impressive new set of features – including some you can’t find in any other browsers. Check out some of the new and noteworthy additions to Internet Explorer 9.

Hardware Acceleration
Internet Explorer 9 uses your computer’s graphics processor to render Web pages. The result: Your CPU can take a breather, and pages still load faster

Compact Interface
Microsoft has finally gotten the hint about toolbars and icons cluttering up the user experience, and condensed IE9 into one of the most minimalist browsers out there. Even the address bar and tabs bar, which share different rows in Chrome, have been crammed together onto one line to save vertical space. While you can restore the old stuff with a simple right click, this is the most stripped down – and clean – Internet Explorer has ever looked

Windows 7 Integration
You had to know Microsoft would leverage its position as the maker of Windows 7 to make IE9 play nicer with the OS than any other browser. With this iteration, you can pin websites to the taskbar as shortcuts the same way you typically would with a program, making it easy to access your favorite sites with one click, whether you have a browser open or not.

Address Bar search
Google Chrome’s most revolutionary original feature has finally made it over to Internet Explorer with IE9. One bar handles both addresses and search terms, so you don’t have to decide which you’re entering and tab over to the right box. About time

Performance Advisor
Plug-ins and add-ons are great… until you accumulate so many your browser crawls under the weight of them.  Microsoft has wisely started accounting for the extra weight with a new performance manager that shows you exactly how long, in fractions of a second, each new addition tacks onto your browser load and navigation time.

New Tab Features
A revamped “new tab” page in IE9 automatically arranges the sites you most frequently visit, and color codes them with bars that indicate how much time you spend on them. You can also “tear off” tabs to produce new windows.

Minimum system requirements for Internet Explorer 9 are Windows Vista with Service Pack 2 and Windows 7. IE9 will not run on Vista Service Pack 1. If you’re still running Windows XP you are, once again, out of luck – time to upgrade!

Should you install IE9? All I can say – test, test and then test some more before deploying this application in your enterprise. It’s ok to be on the leading edge of technology, but stay away from the “bleeding” edge. Unless you have a brand new computer system, I’d strongly recommend waiting a few months till all the bugs are shaken out.

What’s new in Internet Explorer 9
http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/internet-explorer/help/ie-9/whats-new-in-internet-explorer-9

Compare Explorer versions 7 through 9 to see the progress over the years
http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/internet-explorer/products/ie-9/compare-browsers

Download it here – if you dare:
http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/internet-explorer/downloads/ie

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