Four months after Microsoft released Internet Explorer 10 for Windows 8, they have now followed up and released a version of the company’s newest browser for Windows 7 users. More than 700 million people now have access to the company’s most up-to-date browser in 95 different languages. IE10 will be available as an optional update with immediate effect. Anyone with the release preview installed will have it sent as an “important” update. That’s significant because Windows Update will, in its default configuration, install it silently and automatically. In the coming months, Microsoft will classify Internet Explorer 10 as “important” in more and more markets to ensure it is installed automatically as widely as possible. This is a significant change from Microsoft’s past modus operandi. Traditionally, Microsoft have released new browsers only as optional updates, and further, as interactive updates that required clicking through a EULA before installation actually took place. In late 2011, the company changed this policy, converting Internet Explorer 9 to an automatic (“important”) update. Internet Explorer 10 on Windows 7 will be near-identical to its Windows 8 counterpart. This includes features such as support for the Pointer Events touch API and hardware acceleration using Direct2D and DirectWrite. To that end, installing Internet Explorer 10 on Windows 7 requires the installation of a platform update that brings Windows 7’s version of these APIs in line with Windows 8. The controversial Do Not Track feature intended to reduce the ability of companies to track user behavior online will also be enabled by default. There will be one important difference between the versions, however. Internet Explorer 10 on Windows 8 includes an embedded version of Flash that gets its updates from Windows Update, rather than through Adobe’s installer. On Windows 7, Flash will not be embedded. Instead, it will use the same ActiveX plugin as Internet Explorer 9 did. Updates will have to be installed using Adobe’s updater, not Microsoft’s.
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