Microsoft’s internet explorer 11 for Windows 7 provides a
nominal speed boost over IE 10, and includes performance-enhancing technologies
such as pre-rendering and prefetching. Although users can download a copy of IE
11 for Windows 7 from the Microsoft website (go.pcworld.com/iedownload). the
company is also sending out the upgrade through automatic updates.
Overall, Microsoft claims, users will see a 9 percent
performance improvement versus IE 10, and performance that's about 30 percent
faster than rival browsers. IE 11 ships with the new Chakra just-in-time Java
compiler, which is designed to improve the performance of websites, plus
support for components of the ECMAScript6 standard.
IE 11 offloads WebGL graphics processing onto the GPU,
reducing CPU power consumption and improving performance. Microsoft has
improved the browser’s compliance with Web standards, too, including support
for processing HTML5 video without the need for plug-ins.
If you're not running Windows 8.1, you’re missing out on
touch-specific IE li features.
The performance improvements are also partly attributable to
the browser’s technique of prefetching the first or primary link on the page, downloading
and constructing the page before you even click the link. Background elements
are downloaded and stored ahead of time, as well. Finally, the previous page is
stored and cached for a smooth transition if you decide to back out of a page.
Nevertheless, if you’re not running Windows 8.1 on a
touch-enabled PC, you're missing out on a number of touch-specific IE 11
One of the most subtle, yet most convenient, of these is
"flip ahead,” a simple way to avoid the "pixel hunt” at the end of a
lengthy page of items. For example, imagine that you're shopping for a laptop
on Amazon.com, and you're looking for a middle-of-the-road model, so ordering
the list of results by price or screen size still forces you to navigate
through a few pages. While Amazon’s site allows you to navigate by clicking a
page link, "flip ahead" allows a touchscreen IE 11 user to advance
one page simply by flipping the page left with a finger gesture.
11’s clean-looking 'Reading View' neatly strips out ads.
Such a feature might have been a curiosity at one time. But
developers are adding "flip ahead" to major sites, bringing it not
only to Amazon but also to Best Buy, Barnes & Noble, and NewEgg.
("Flip ahead” is not enabled at the Costco, Target, or Walmart sites,
IE 11 also taps into other Windows 8.1 features such as the
ability to pin websites to the Start screen, to snap a window, and to save
articles to Reading List, an app within Windows 8 and 8.1.
Thanks to collaboration between Microsoft and partners,
projects such as the popular game Contre lour (qo.pcworld.com/contrejour) and
the Everest: Rivers of Ice (go.pcworld.com/everest) experience are both
optimized for Windows 8. And developers can visit Microsoft’s
In Windows 8, you can snap a couple of Internet Explorer
windows and run them in parallel. Not so for Windows 7.
In Windows 8, you
can snap a couple of Internet Explorer windows and run them in parallel. Not so
for Windows 7.
Build My Pinned Site tool (www.buildmypinnedsite.en.com) for
help in constructing a site that will appear as a dynamically updating live
tile on the Start screen.
Such efforts transform a website into something that looks
much like an app, a feat that Google and other browser rivals haven’t been able
to match so far. But Microsoft hasn’t done a great job of showing off these
capabilities, something that Roger Capriotti, director of marketing for
Internet Explorer, says the company might explore further.
To date, Microsoft's unofficial mantra for the latest
versions of IE has been "Touch is the new fast.” With the release of IE 11
for Windows 7, Internet Explorer is simply faster. But users who run IE 11 on
Windows 8 or 8.1 will see noticeable improvements beyond that.
Fortunately, users of either IE 10 or IE 11 can view
Microsoft's frankly awesome Internet Explorer anime.