Exclusive: Internet Explorer 9 Release Candidate (RC) overview

By Tom Warren, on 10th Feb 11 12:58 pm with 23 Comments

Internet Explorer 9 RC

The day that many Internet Explorer 9 fans have been waiting for is finally upon us.

Microsoft is set to unveil its Internet Explorer 9 Release Candidate (RC) build later today. The software giant has been beavering away at the Release Candidate since it shipped a public beta back in September. Microsoft has added a number of features and enhanced some too. The company will release the RC build shortly after 10AM PST later today for members of the public to download.

WinRumors has managed to snag a copy early to check out exactly what’s new. We’ve also created a quick video overview (see below). As we promised, the first thing you’ll notice in the RC is the improved tabs. The build features square tabs and minor UI enhancements to the address bar buttons in Internet Explorer 9. The tab improvements don’t stop there though. Microsoft has included a new  ”show tabs on a separate row” option for those who wish to place their tabs beneath the address bar. This option addresses a major gripe that many users reported to the company.

Microsoft’s main change in Internet Explorer 9 is the addition of Tracking Protection. The new privacy feature allows consumers to address their concerns about being tracked on the web. Internet Explorer 9  RC offers users a new opt-in mechanism to identify and block many forms of undesired tracking such as cookies, web beacons, advertisements and trackers. Tracking protection involves lists that can be published online.

Tracking protection works by allowing users to create lists of sites that are protected from being tracked by other sites via cookies and other means. Microsoft expects technical users to create lists initially followed by consumers once Internet Explorer 9 is generally available later this year. Microsoft originally promised not to include a default list but it appears some Google Analytics blocks are part of a dummy list supplied with Internet Explorer 9 RC, although are not enabled by default.

Microsoft’s second security enhancement is the ability to block ActiveX controls. Internet Explorer 9 RC includes an “ActiveX filter” option. The filter allows users to switch off ActiveX elements within their session, furthering Microsoft’s commitment to security within its browser. The filter is basic and requires an on or off state to initialize. After the feature is enabled, users can disable ActiveX filtering on a per-site basis by clicking the filter button in the address bar.

The general performance of Internet Explorer 9 RC seems on par if not better than the beta. For those wondering about Acid 3 and HTML5 tests, here’s the lowdown:

  • Acid 3 test – 95/100
  • Acid 2 test – renders correctly
  • HTML5test.com – 116/300

Microsoft announced earlier this month that the beta version of Internet Explorer 9 has surpassed 20 million downloads, making it the most downloaded beta release of Internet Explorer ever. The download rate of Internet Explorer 9 beta has grown by 5 million each month since its release on September 15, 2010. Microsoft is expected to reveal the final version of Internet Explorer 9 at MIX 11 in April.

The build that Microsoft plans to distribute later today is 9.00.8080.16413. Stay tuned for details on how to download Internet Explorer 9 RC once it’s available.

  • K.

    Arrived here “Less than a minute ago”

    • Dave

      how did you got it?

    • K.

      By chance.

  • Bnlf

    yea baby

    • JohnCz

      double that

  • Anonymous

    Why the heck does this have box-shadow support but no text-shadow support? Can they do anything right?

    • Aethec

      Text-shadow is like make-up; unless it is done very well, it looks ugly.

    • jaybee

      Text-shadow is a simple aesthetic enhancement that unless done poorly, can look fantastic!

  • http://twitter.com/jarrichvdv Jarrich Van De Voord

    The menu really needs a huge overhaul to make the most used functions more accessible to users…

  • Anonymous

    Still the same “Internet Options” interface IE4-like… Still no spellcheck… Well, I’ve expected more, considering the amount of time passed between Beta and RC (almost 5 months). Anyway, eager to try it.

  • http://justinpaine.com xxdesmus

    looking forward to downloading this …though it won’t replace Chrome.

    • Anonymous

      I doubt anything can replace Chrome you know.

  • Guest

    is it already released somewhere?
    anyone has a download Link ?

  • John
    • http://justinpaine.com xxdesmus

      can someone else confirm?

    • http://justinpaine.com xxdesmus

      can someone else confirm?

    • Torko

      I confirm ! Installed !

    • Madeki0663

      already in another language ? Does it have to be same lanquage as installed beta ?

  • Chris Renshaw

    Tom that Google Analytics stuff is from your browsing, just as the old InPrivate Filter detected elements that appeared on many webpages and allowed you to have them automatically blocked, or chooes which to block. So the IE team didn’t actually include anything.

  • Third

    can i install the RC without uninstalling the Beta?

  • GSMP

    Czech version is available also, thas great :o)

  • majg

    Did the beta and IE8 have the ability to refuse disclosing your location information? I see that in InternetOptions–>Privacy

  • Texa10

    Acid3 and HTML5test.com are pointless scores. They just fragments of specifications and other things that are broken or half-ready like WebSockets. Why don’t you go to W3C to get actual test scores on conformance.