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Appendix 1: Benefits of Internet Explorer 8

Updated: August 25, 2010

Applies To: Windows 7

Search suggestions. Now you can type a search term and see real-time, relevant search suggestions from your chosen search provider and your browsing history. Click a suggestion at any time to immediately execute the search without having to type the entire word or phrase.

Visual search. Internet Explorer 8 is collaborating with top search providers like Bing, Wikipedia, Yahoo!, Amazon, and more to deliver direct results and "visual search" images that provide you with immediate answers. For example, typing Seattle weather with Bing™ will instantly show you a preview of the current weather directly in the Search Box drop-down. Look for more visual search results with your preferred search providers.

Accelerators are contextual services that quickly access a service from any web page. Because users typically copy and paste from one web page to another, Internet Explorer 8 has made this common pattern easier to do. The Accelerators feature performs two main functions: it "looks up" information within a web page and "sends" web content to a web application. For example, you are interested in a restaurant and want to see its location. You can select the address and view an in-place map, using your favorite map service.

Alternatively, let us suppose you read an interesting article and want to blog about a portion of it. You can select the portion and use the blog Accelerator. This navigates to your blog site, with the selection already available in the edit field. Accelerators are services that you can install and manage.

You can install accelerators through any website that offers Accelerators or from the Windows Internet Explorer 8 Service Guide.

Web Slices. This new feature connects web pages to their users by having them subscribe to content directly within a web page. Web Slices behave just like feeds, where clients can subscribe to get updates and are notified of changes.

Internet Explorer 8 users can discover Web Slices within a web page and add them to the Favorites bar, a dedicated row below the Address bar for easy access to links. Internet Explorer 8 subscribes to the web page, detects changes in the Web Slice, and notifies the user of updates. Users can preview these updates directly from the Favorites bar and click through to the website to get more information. For example, a Web Slice could be used for an item up for auction on an auction site. A Web Slice on the page would let you subscribe to receive updates on a set-time basis, and notify you of price changes.

Automatic Crash Recovery (ACR). This feature of Internet Explorer 8 can help prevent the loss of work and productivity in the unlikely event that the browser crashes or hangs. The ACR feature takes advantage of the Loosely-Coupled Internet Explorer feature to provide new crash recovery capabilities, such as tab recovery, which will minimize interruptions to your browsing sessions.

InPrivate Filtering. Web sites increasingly pull content in from multiple sources, providing tremendous value to consumers and sites alike. Users are often not aware that some content, images, ads, and analytics are being provided from third-party websites or that these sites may have the ability to track their behavior across multiple websites. InPrivate Filtering provides you with an added level of control and choice about the information that third-party sites can potentially use to track your browsing activity.

To use this feature, open a new tab and select InPrivate Filtering, or select InPrivate Browsing from the Safety menu. To end your InPrivate Browsing session, simply close the browser window.

Improved Phishing Filter: SmartScreen Filter. Internet Explorer 7 introduced the Phishing Filter, a feature that helped warn users when they visited a phishing site. Phishing sites are hoax websites that spoof trusted, legitimate sites, and are designed to steal the user's personal or financial information. For Internet Explorer 8, Microsoft built on the success of the Phishing Filter with a more comprehensive feature called the SmartScreen Filter. If the SmartScreen Filter is active and users attempt to visit a Web site that is not considered safe, users are prompted to take specific alternative actions.

Accessibility. In response to increasingly complex user interface (UI) on the web, the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) group has defined a roadmap for Accessible Rich Internet Applications (ARIA). This introduces ways for website authors to define how custom UI elements are accessed. ARIA defines a set of HTML attributes that correspond to common UI controls. As a result, users with disabilities can access websites with a rich interaction model. By exposing ARIA through the Microsoft Active Accessibility API in Internet Explorer 8, assistive technologies that already use Active Accessibility can also support ARIA.

For more information, see the Web Accessibility Initiative.

ActiveX Improvements. Internet Explorer 8 offers greater control over who can install Microsoft ActiveX controls, and on which sites they are allowed to run.

Per-site ActiveX. Nearly half of all ActiveX controls meant to run on only one site do not use any form of site-locking technology. This means that many controls are not secure by default and could be misused by malicious websites. To prevent this, Internet Explorer 8 permits users to decide whether to allow ActiveX controls to run on a site-by-site basis.

Non-administrator installation. Standard users (those without administrator privileges) can install ActiveX controls to their user profiles without a User Account Control prompt or administrator involvement of any kind. If a user does install a malicious ActiveX control, only the user profile is affected; the system itself is not compromised.

Asynchronous JavaScript and XML (AJAX) enhancements (AJAX) is changing the way web applications are built. Internet Explorer 8 brings new functionality to the XMLHttpRequest object that enables AJAX applications.

Domain Highlighting. Clearly indicates to the user the domain hosting the page to prevent malware exploits.

For more information, see “Domain Highlighting” in Address Bar Improvements in Internet Explorer 8 Beta 1.

Data Execution Prevention/NX. Helps prevent a category of attacks by raising a hardware exception when the instruction pointer is pointing to any memory marked as executable.

For more information, see Internet Explorer 8 - Data Execution Protection/NX.

Protected Mode cookies. Restricts file writes to low-integrity locations, including cookies. In Internet Explorer 8, medium-integrity applications can access low-integrity cookies without user interaction.

For more information, see Protected Mode Internet Explorer Reference.

User Integrity Privilege Isolation (UIPI) and integrity. Builds on Mandatory Integrity Control; implements restrictions in the windows subsystem that prevents lower-privilege applications from sending window messages or installing hooks in higher-privileges processes.

For more information, see Windows Integrity Mechanism Design.

Standards. Consistent with its efforts to promote further interoperability across the web, Microsoft is now configuring the settings in Internet Explorer 8 to render content using methods which support web standards interoperability.

For more information, see Microsoft Expands Support for Web Standards.

Manageability. Internet Explorer 8 has the following manageability features:

  • Most manageable browser with close to 1500 group policies, using tools such as Group Policy editor and Group Policy preferences.

  • Internet Explorer Administration Kit (IEAK), which you can use to build deployment and configuration packages.

  • Generic compatibility settings.

  • Site to Zone Assignment List, which ensures that your browser knows which sites should be treated as Local Intranet sites.

  • Internet Explorer Standards Mode, which you can turn on for local Intranet to ensure that you are running in the more compatible mode for your internal sites.

  • Policy list for Windows Internet Explorer 7 sites, which you can use when adding additional external sites requiring enhanced compatibility.

Versioning and IE Modes. Versioning and Internet Explorer rendering modes enable Internet Explorer 8 to remain compatible with today's web content. These modes provide a mechanism for introducing new features and stricter standards of compliance. Internet Explorer has three different layout modes:

  • Quirks Mode. Backwards compatibility with Internet Explorer 5 rendering behavior.

  • Internet Explorer 7 standards. Backwards compatibility with Internet Explorer 7 JavaScript and layout behavior.

  • Internet Explorer 8 standards. Latest features, including the CSS 2.1 compliant layout engine and DOM/HTML breaking changes.

For more information about this issue and others related to developer’s tools, see the Web site Troubleshooting Guidance document.

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