Internet Explorer 8 has reached RTM

According to Russian publication Wzor, Microsoft finalised Internet Explorer 8 on February 21st.

The final build that was prepared and passed to internal staff and partners is 8.0.6001.18691. Microsoft is reportedly readying this build for distribution via TechNet/MSDN and Connect before a general release to web.

The software giant released a final test build (RC1) last month before readying the RTM last week. According to Microsoft Internet Explorer 8 includes the following enhancements:

  • Faster Internet Explorer 8 is more responsive with new pages and tabs, opening up fast and reliably. You can now get to the information you care about most, in fewer steps; one click access to your webmail, favorite news sites or other online services.
  • Easier Reduce the steps to accomplish many common tasks, and automate your access to real time information updates. You can keep track of your favorite sports team, news, weather with a single click.
  • More Private Helps protect your privacy and confidential information where ever you go on the web.
  • More Secure Helps protect and stop malicious software from reaching your PC, and makes it easier to detect when a website is an imposter.
If you're interested in more information on IE8 then please see our own review of Internet Explorer 8 for Windows 7 or our overview of the new compatibility mode Microsoft has introduced with this version of Internet Explorer.

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So should I leave the give up poor little IE 6's virginity and welcome it to IE8, just for the hell of it? (I don't use IE)

I will upgrade so the IE lying dormant on this system gets the latest security updates, but Firefox still the main browser (just can't browse without the plugins any more).

yakumo said,
I will upgrade so the IE lying dormant on this system gets the latest security updates, but Firefox still the main browser (just can't browse without the plugins any more).

Really? I do. The only thing I use with Firefox is a plugin to recreate Opera's Speed Dial. I don't use any sorts of extensions with Opera or Chrome, and with IE 7 & 8, I use IE7Pro, and that's only for a couple of things (namely the "Easy Homepage" Speed-Dial clone, ad blocker, and DNS/link caching; in IE7, I also used the crash recovery functions, which are unneeded in IE8).

Maybe its just me, but I don't see the need behind having a few dozen extentions/plugins; its a web-browser, not your OS.

Adobe claims that the reason IE7 hangs with flash 10 is BECAUSE IE7 was to blame and not it's player. If IE8 hangs with flash player 10, someones gonna be in deep doodoo! (cough adobe)

if its rtm.. why wouldnt they just release it? they are going to release it to technet first?? LoL. Its a web browser. They must have to get all their servers ready for the billions of people dying to get their hands on IE 8.

Yeah, I hope the RTM one works with the Win7 Beta, unlike the RC1 build; the version of IE8 in the Win7 Beta is pretty crappy compared to the older Beta 2 and the newer RC1; mainly is has some serious text rendering issues. Its the one thing I dislike about the Windows 7 Beta so far; the OS itself is quite good.

I won't be updating to IE8 when it releases in a hurry. I don't understand why but it's highly unstable on my PC and it's actually slower then IE7. While I primarily use Firefox I do use IE7 for websites that won't work correctly in Firefox. Updating to IE8 is kind of a pointless move in that respect.

i been a full time Firefox user since it was a little prior to v1.0 and i doubt ill be switching back to anything IE anytime soon.... but at least it's good to see that Microsoft is improving IE due to competition from Firefox, because without Firefox it's unlikely IE would be in it's current state (i.e. tabbed browsing etc)

cause Firefox not only has good speed it's 'extensions' are what really gives it a advantage over stuff like IE... cause i would rather not live without stuff like 'adblock plus' or 'tabscroller' extensions on Firefox because 'tabscroller' makes the browsing experience noticeably more efficient for those who tend to use multiple tabs pretty often as you can set it up to where you hold down the right mouse click and use the wheel to scroll and instantly flip between tabs... it take a little while to get used to but once you do it's clearly more efficient than a stock Firefox install and i would rather not go without Tabscroller installed on any browser.

even 'adblock plus' is pretty much 'must have' for Firefox as it blocks a pretty good percentage of popup's etc.

I can't believe they left the command bar so full of junk. You can barely fit two tabs in there! Cleaning it up wouldn't exactly be rocket science (here's five minute Paint-job), and would make the UI look far more professional.

random_n said,
I can't believe they left the command bar so full of junk. You can barely fit two tabs in there! Cleaning it up wouldn't exactly be rocket science (here's five minute Paint-job), and would make the UI look far more professional.


In fact, it's so not rocket science that Microsoft even supplies its' own tool to do so! Right-click > Customize Command Bar > Add or Remove Commands...

A straightforward, clean UI out of the box counts for so much - it's the whole "first impressions" thing. The Windows 7 UI team seems to have really taken this to heart, and it saddens me to see the IE team neglect to do the same (especially after the radical redesign in IE7 which clearly had this goal in mind!).

IE8 is really nice and renders very well...

As soon as the pages remove their old ie6 hacks, all problems dissapear and even the reason to use compability mode.

Excuse me? I do not see any Chrome advertisements here. I see other advertisements, though.

If you are seeing Chrome advertisements, that is because the adverts display what it thinks the reader is interested in, based off content on the page. In this case, web browsers.

No browser is "standards" compliant because there aren't any "standards". There are recommendations, but there are not any "standards".

No, this is not that kind of site. I would recommend waiting till it hit's Microsoft's servers and my guess is sometime next month.

I'm thinking it will be available shortly before or at the same time as the Windows 7 RC since they'll want the final versions of everything in the release candidate.

@WindowsNT -

Thank you This isn't the kind of website for providing illegal links, however, I maintain that lalovista was asking for a legal link to the official version, seeing as though the news is that it has RTMd

Wouldn't IE8 be rolled out on Windows Update?

It IS going to get rolled out on Windows update right guys? ....RIGHT?!

I don't think it will before end of March. However we will be able to download, probably even tonight if this thing gets leaked.

In my opinion they should just give up with IE totally. Sign a contract with firefox or someone, and then get them do the dirty work. Microsoft can focus on what they do best... (trying to think of something....) :P...

But in all seriosness, I think they should drop IE. It's a waste of time. No one apart from the amateurs will use it, and thats just because they have nothing else.

booboo said,
....No one apart from the amateurs will use it, and thats just because they have nothing else.

Did you mean to call the VAST MAJORITY of PC users "amateurs" ?

"amateurs" is not the term you were looking for, I don't think, booboo?

Wouldn't "less technologically-minded people" be more appropriate?

In any case, you are very wrong. A lot of people who know a tremendous amount about technology still use Internet Explorer and will no doubt upgrade to Internet Explorer 8.

One question: I'm currently using the IE8 RC1; when the Final does get released, do I need to uninstall RC1 to roll back to IE7, or can I just install IE8 RTM on top of IE8 RC1? I'm using Vista SP1 if it matters.

Yes, I'm more than positive it will just install over your current release candidate :)

I think there were a few problems doing this on one of the Windows XP service packs, though, if I'm not mistaken.

Feature-wise, this is certainly the best version of IE yet! However, I still prefer IE 6's interface instead of the new interface that started with IE 7.

I've played around with IE 8 for a little while, and I can certainly say it's much MUCH better than IE 7. 8 isn't as slow and clunky like its predecessor was. Yes, there are rendering issues, but I expect that will clear up overtime (just to note, I haven't come across any major problems myself when I browsed with IE 8). And of course, there's always room for improvement.

Hey, CalumJR, do you or anyone else know when Neowin will do an updated review? The last one was for beta 2.

@Kevin. -

I'll ask the right people and see if there are any plans for an updated review :)

It makes sense, though if we did one for beta 2, so thank you for bringing that to my attention.

When I find out, I'll send you a personal message.

CalumJR said,
@Kevin. -

I'll ask the right people and see if there are any plans for an updated review :)

It makes sense, though if we did one for beta 2, so thank you for bringing that to my attention.

When I find out, I'll send you a personal message.


Thanks a lot! The reason I asked is because stuff has changed between beta 2 and the final, so an updated review makes perfect sense.

Yeah, even at RC1 this thing is not usable in my eyes. I can't do banking with the browser because it can't remember my cookie. I don't change a single setting. Has problems with some sports sites. Doesn't do Gmail correctly. It crashes plenty. Still locks up after sleep. I hope it's everyone else, meaning websites, that have to change because otherwise this is going to cause people to flock to other browsers in an extreme hurry. I never used to install a different browser because I love a clean install, but man, Firefox is starting to look really good!

I hope for the best!

Nexus- said,
now they can go ahead and start on IE 9 which is rumored to be using webkit.

Not really a rumour, more just like speculation because Steve Ballmer sort of said he was considering it.

i really hope they do. tbh, i would LOVE it if all browsers used the same rendering engine and webkit does seem like a good choice.

Either WebKit or Gecko would please me (I am currently an avid Firefox user). However, I do not see Microsoft using another rendering engine. They tend to want to create their own of everything and because of them maintaining that, Internet Explorer is so behind. If they'd have embraced web standards earlier, when all of the others did, Internet Explorer would probably be on par. If they'd adopted either Gecko or WebKit earlier, Internet Explorer would be on par.

Look at Opera Software. They have been developing websites for a short time than Microsoft and one of their alpha builds already passes the Acid 3 test. That is because they chose to embrace web standards early enough, just like Microsoft should have. Now us web developers are unfortunately paying the price (it will be some time before a lot of people upgrade from Internet Explorer 6 or 7, to Internet Explorer 8).

Microsoft's next hurdle, I reckon, will be better XML handling, which will in turn allow for better rendering of XHTML (and finally allow us to send XHTML 1.1 with the correct MIME type of application/xml+xhtml).

I really doubt they'll abandon all of the hard work they've put into getting Trident compatible with more standards by switching to Webkit or Gecko.

@M2Ys4U -

I agree if they are not going to use another rendering engine then they should focus on that first and, if possible, some CSS 3 support as well.

It may still be in development but some things, like opacity, really is handy. Also, it may well have finished being developed before Internet Explorer 9 is finished.

With regards to the Acid3 test, Microsoft has stated CSS3 draft compatibility wasn't a goal with this release. And if that let them get a CSS2.1 certified browser out sooner, then thats fine with me as it was desperately needed.

About the 2000 incompatible sites, those are the ones which IE8 renders in IE7 rendering mode. To the end user, there will be no difference and those sites will work properly.

Regarding IE8 RTMing, I wish they'd held out a little longer. RC1 didn't feel quite ready to me.

With regards to the Acid3 test, Microsoft has stated CSS3 draft compatibility wasn't a goal with this release.

Acid3 isn't primarily about CSS3 compatibility.

Well IE7 was listed as an optional for quite some time before it moved to a Critical. I wouldn't be surprised if we see IE8 as an optional before June.

Acid 3 is a good way of testing rendering, it's not impossible for browser teams to make there browser compliment to it. A Opera alpha passes it, a Chrome alpha passes it, a Safari alpha passes it and a Firefox nightly is so close to passes it, 94/100.

All that does is test how well the browser follows certain web standards. It's all up to Microsoft. I mean, if Apple, Google, and Mozilla can do it – why can't they? However, it doesn't mean Internet Explorer 8 is an "inferior" web browser.

The IE team has said time and again from the start that the goal for IE8 was Acid 2 and such, Acid 3 wasn't a target, so they haven't even tried for that yet. Finishing IE8 now means they'll start work on the next one, be it 8.1 or 8.5 or even 9.0 that will pass Acid 3.

When that happens though I'm sure the same pack of people who hate IE will still find something else to hate on. Standards and Acid 3 is just what flies now.

I think the IE team is held back by the responsibility they have to compatibility. They have to spend a lot of man hours on making sure the web does not break with their new browser. IE is in the dominant position, they can't move as quickly as others. Most sites work in Firefox and Chrome, and chances are they will continue to as they render to a more strict standard.

If IE all of the sudden went from quirks mode to a strict compliance mode as is required for ACID 3 the web would be a horrible horrible place for end users. I imagine the "IE7 compatibility mode" work and how to seamlessly integrate that into the final product is requiring a lot of work.

The IE team's incremental approach will certainly keep sparking debate on how IE sucks, it does not support the latest standards, blah blah blah, but I think many are quick to forget how broad IE is. In addition, many apps, like Yahoo Messenger and Steam use the IE rendering engine in their app, can't break that either.

I think a better gauge for how good a browser is is sunspider or other similar benchmarks. Faster, more efficient javascript execution can and will benefit everyone.

Acid 3 is more of a wishlist of new features. MS have come a long way in making sure that Trident renders old features correctly, give them a chance to get around to the new ones!

warwagon said,
So they fixed compatibility with 2000 sites in 1 week?

Is that not just sites that are coded for IE6's funny way ? Surely they will update to the more open minded standard IE8.

because it didn't pass "Acidtest 3" doesn't make it not standards compliant. Only 1 browser (which is a alpha i think) passes that test. No Safari or Firefox doesn't (AFAIK) yet either.

CSS 3.0 is still being developed AFAIK so it's not a "standard" yet.

Do you really think that MS should fixed a compatility? :P I thought it up to web-designers.

And IE8 is fully-complaint with approved standarts. It shouldn't be compatible with drafts.

Yes, deeper2k, is right.

The compatibility issues were up to web designers. It is their websites which need updating.

^^ Urrr... YES actually, they should. I develop my websites to W3's guidelines and they render correctly in the majority of today's browsers. IE6 and 7 are the most whack out of all of them- that's not my fault, I've done my job correctly, Microsoft haven't.

hotdog963al said,
^^ Urrr... YES actually, they should. I develop my websites to W3's guidelines and they render correctly in the majority of today's browsers. IE6 and 7 are the most whack out of all of them- that's not my fault, I've done my job correctly, Microsoft haven't.

I agree that Internet Explorer 7- were all terrible at rendering webpages. Internet Explorer 8, in my opinion, is still the worst out of all the major browsers.

Having said that, it is still the webdeveloper's responsibility to update their website to work correctly when new technologies are released. As a webmaster you are there to maintain your website and that does mean updating it as and when needed.

There is nothing Microsoft can do. Their older browsers were terrible for web standards and now they have finally improved a bit with Internet Explorer 8 webmaster will now have to change their code so it works better with web standards.

I, for one, am glad they adopted most, if not all, the CSS 2.1 standards.

warwagon said,
So they fixed compatibility with 2000 sites in 1 week?

LOL its not MS's job to fix all the sites that are broken. Its the webmaster that must do that.

@SHoTTa35
Opera 10 alpha,Safari 4 developer preview,Chrome 2 passes Acid 3 test with 100/100 ..... Thats IE for you on the people who still use it

Since CSS3 isn't completed yet (still in draft), doesn't that mean that if/when then do make any changes to it in the final version, it will break any sites developed for CSS3? Then we'll either:
a) Have web sites that are broken until updated to the "final" CSS3
b) Need a "CSS3 draft compatibility" list for all browsers that puts the browser into a compatibility mode for CSS3 draft (much like the IE7 compatibility list in IE8)

Yes, it's nice to know that the other browsers are closer to supporting CSS3 if/when it is finalized, but until that happens - does it really matter?

Heh, all this talk of Acid3 and "standards compliance" is funny.

But in either case, site compatibility seem to be about Microsoft having to use the IE 7 rendering engine compatibility list in IE 8, so I don't think this should be a major issue, at least not with the big sites like Microsoft.com and Gmail.com. It's updates like this that I'm talking about:

http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details...&displaylang=en

They'll likely have updated this both in time for this RTM release, and are ready to do it in the future as well.

I'm sorry, but the Acid 3 test is irrelevant right now. Alot of the stuff in it isn't even widely used on the internet, it's based on new standards that are still to be ratified or are freshly ratified.

Do you have any recollection of how long Acid 2 was around before the majority of the browsers passed it? The Acid 3 test is something to aspire to, not something they have to pass right now.

JonathanMarston: Adding new, standard, features won't break anything.

The incompatibilities have arisen because existing standards were incorrectly implemented in IE7 and before.

Secondly, draft feature implementation in other browsers (except for Opera, who think they know best) is done in a standards-compliant way e.g. -moz-border-radius instead of border-radius. Webkit has the -webkit- prefix and Microsoft has the -ms- prefix which they're now starting to use (see: filter => -ms-filter move.)

Acid 3 was also a wishlist of new features that the group compiling the test wanted implemented.

@rakeshishere -

Have you ever thought providing comments with more substance might actually add to the discussion? Maybe saying why you seem shocked at this news would benefit this discussion?

The IE version on Windows 7 beta build was so unstable and crashed everytime and also i did try the RC version on XP which left me reverting back to IE 7

I feel, they are hurrying this release and i dont get whats so urgent....

That's a fair point :)

I haven't used the release candidate much, so I can't comment on the stability of it now, but during beta 2 I had a fair few problems.

Responses like the one above really do help improve the discussion on articles, rakeshishere. Thank you

Yep! Now I'm happy :D
Although, we now need to think of a way to somehow get corporations and people who aren't technologically minded to embrace and download Internet Explorer 8.

I don't see that happening anytime soon though

CalumJR said,
Yep! Now I'm happy :D
Although, we now need to think of a way to somehow get corporations and people who aren't technologically minded to embrace and download Internet Explorer 8.

I don't see that happening anytime soon though :/


Agreed. In my college. all the computers are on IE6 and Firefox 2. I used to go about installing IE7, but it always requires a restart, so I don't so it anymore. I do install FF3 across the computers, though. They need it.