Speed Demon: Microsoft's New Browser Makes The Web Faster

Internet Explorer 9 IE9 One Bar

Photo: Microsoft

Microsoft released a new version of Internet Explorer last night.It only works on Windows 7 or Vista — not XP — but if you have those operating systems, it’s definitely worth checking out.

Here’s why:

  • Complicated sites will load faster. IE9 can tap into the graphics processor on your PC, which helps pages with lots of graphics and video load more quickly and perform better. IE9 also has a new JavaScript engine, meaning that certain kinds of interactive applications — like Gmail — will perform better. Finally, it’s the first version of IE to support HTML5, which is gradually supplanting Adobe’s Flash as a way to build interactive or video applications on Web sites.
  • It has new privacy features. IE9 has a “do not track” feature that lets you block certain companies — like ad networks — from tracking your clicks across multiple sites. The feature is a bit tricky to use, though: you have to select the Settings menu (which is under a little gear icon), then Safety, then Tracking Protection, then choose a particular list of tracking companies you want to block. But once you turn it on, it’s on forever — you don’t have to turn it on manually each time you relaunch the browser, as was the case with IE8.
  • It looks a little bit different. Microsoft has combined the search pane and address bar — just like Google did with Chrome — and all tabs are lined up right next to that pane. Basically, it gives more of your screen to the Web page. It also has some nifty touches like changing the background colours of the browser based on the design of the Web site.
  • It lets you get to your favourite sites more quickly. When used with Windows 7, you can pin any site to the Windows taskbar and then visit that site directly, instead of having to open IE and navigate to it.

One drawback: because IE is integrated with Windows, you’ll have to restart your computer when you install IE — unlike the case with other Web browsers. Overall install time is about 5 minutes, which isn’t a huge burden.

Sound interesting? If so, you can download it here.

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