New features for IT pros coming in next IE8 beta

Microsoft described some improvements aimed at IT professionals that will come with the second beta of IE8 in August.

Microsoft is making some improvements to Internet Explorer that it hopes will make deploying and managing the browser easier for IT professionals.

The second beta version of IE8, expected in August, will have new capabilities for IT staff, including an easier way to deploy the browser with Vista. IT staff will be able to add IE8 to a Vista image more quickly in order to deploy the two products out to many users. Currently, IT professionals have to go through a process that can take two hours to deploy IE7 along with a Windows XP image, Microsoft said.

The new capability comes after consistent feedback from users that deploying IE7 as part of Windows XP is difficult, Microsoft said in a blog post.

Microsoft is also adding new tools aimed at making it easier for IT staff to manage Web site compatibility issues with IE8. IT staff will find new events in the Application Compatibility Toolkit that detect and resolve potential issues between IE8 and internal applications and Web sites. ACT is a tool that can be used to test applications and internal Web sites for compatibility with IE and Vista.

The new browser beta will also get an updated version of Internet Explorer Administration Kit, the tool that lets IT professionals customize IE. The new version includes some bug fixes and will support custom IE8 builds for the newest releases of Vista and Windows Server 2008.

Microsoft released the first beta for IE8 in March and only recently announced that the second version would come out in August. With IE8, Microsoft is hoping to get itself out of a jam that became glaringly apparent in IE7. With that release Microsoft attempted to improve its support for Web standards, but in doing so caused some Web sites -- those designed to display well in Microsoft's older, less standards-compliant browsers -- to work poorly. Microsoft has said that with IE8 it hopes to support Web standards as well as sites designed for older versions of the browser.

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