Review: IE 9 Is Microsoft's Best Browser Yet - InformationWeek

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3/20/2011
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Review: IE 9 Is Microsoft's Best Browser Yet

Internet Explorer 9 is a powerful, fast, and intuitive interface for browsing the Web and compares favorably with competing browsers such as Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox.

Internet Explorer 9 Fast, Powerful, Intuitive
Internet Explorer 9 Fast, Powerful, Intuitive
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Another potential performance boost for IE 9 comes from its ability to use the PC's graphics processor to handle video, images, and other graphics-intensive applications within the browser.

IE 9 also includes some new features designed to improve security and privacy control. One of the more interesting is the new Tracking Protection, which uses third-party lists to prevent certain sites from tracking Web activity through cookies. Microsoft doesn't maintain any of these lists, but users can choose one or select sites from their browsing history to create their own list.

Also useful is the inclusion of ActiveX filtering, which blocks any ActiveX applications on the Web from running. That's a good thing as ActiveX is often used to spread malware. I appreciated that it was possible to allow ActiveX to run on certain sites, which is useful for internal or other trusted sites where ActiveX support might be required.

Settings configuration in IE 9 has improved somewhat, though some areas, such as the classic Windows Internet Options, haven't changed much at all. IE 9 does now finally feature a good download manager that made it possible view content downloaded through the browser and also pause in progress downloads and restart failed downloads.

IE 9 also does a good job managing add-ons and plug-ins. One very nice feature makes it possible easily enable or disable add-ons in order to improve browser performance.

When it comes to standards support, IE 9 is certainly improved over previous versions and, like most other browsers, IE is making strides towards supporting the emerging HTML 5 standard. Using the Web Standards Project's Acid3 test, IE 9 scored a 95 out of 100, better than previous IE versions but still behind competing browsers.

As is often the case with Microsoft products, IE 9 has one major weakness when compared to competitors. While browsers such as Chrome and Firefox run on Macs, Linux, and Windows 7 through XP, IE 9 will only run on Vista or Windows 7.

You can find the new Internet Explorer 9 here.


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