Internet Explorer 9 launch: What you need to know

Microsoft's Internet Explorer 9 launches tonight at 9 p.m. Pacific, accompanied by a celebratory bash at the South-by-Southwest conference in Austin, Texas. The hoopla might be appropriate, because IE9 is Microsoft's most aggressive attempt yet at hanging onto its lead in the browser market.

Here are the highlights of Microsoft's new browser.

IE 9 Looks Like a Modern Browser

The Internet Explorers of yesteryear opted for clutter-inducing features like Web Slices, but not IE9. The browser's new look is a simple combination of tabs and a unified bar for Web addresses and searches, all on a single horizontal strip. On appearances alone, IE9 has joined competitors Firefox and Chrome in the race for minimalism, and if you can deal with having tabs and the address bar on the same line, you'll have more room for Web pages than any other browser.

Acts Like a Modern Browser

IE9's other big features aren't ones that you'll notice right away. This will be Microsoft's first browser to fully support HTML5, for websites that want to embed videos, animations and audio without plug-ins like Flash or Silverlight. IE9 can also use a computer's GPU to render graphics and can take advantage of multi-core processors by compiling JavaScript in the background on separate core of the CPU.

It Loves Windows (Vista and 7, That Is)

Microsoft hopes that you'll make Internet Explorer 9 part of your desktop by incorporating Websites into Windows. You can do this by dragging any open tab into the task bar or start menu, where they'll remain as shortcuts. Websites can also create "jumplists" for these pinned programs, showing a selection of quick links when you right click on the shortcut. But XP owners won't be able to feel the love; IE9 only works with Windows Vista and Windows 7.

Is it a Modern Browser?

I've already written about why IE9 isn't going to win me over, but the biggest reason is its lack of web apps. With the Chrome Web Store up and running, and Mozilla building its own app system, IE9 risks falling behind on the fertile ground of helping users discover and access useful Web services.

[See: Internet Explorer 9 Beta: A Visual Tour]

Follow Jared on Facebook and Twitter for even more tech news and commentary.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Browsers & Add-OnsapplicationsMicrosoftbrowserssoftwareInternet Explorer

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jared Newman

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Essentials

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?