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Internet Explorer 8

Windows Internet Explorer 8
Internet Explorer 8 in Windows 7
Developer(s) Microsoft
Initial release March 19, 2009 (2009-03-19)
Stable release 8.0.7601.17514 (February 22, 2011 (2011-02-22))
Preview release None
Operating system
Included with Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2[2]
Engine Trident 4.0
Platform c.f. § platform support
Type Web browser
FTP client
License Proprietary, requires Windows license

Internet Explorer versions:

1 · 2 · 3 · 4 · 5 · 6 · 7 · 8 · 9 · 10 · 11

Windows Internet Explorer 8 (IE8) is a web browser developed by Microsoft in the Internet Explorer browser series, released on March 19, 2009. It is the successor to Internet Explorer 7, released in 2006, and is the default browser for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 operating systems.[3]

Internet Explorer 8 is the first version of IE to pass the Acid2 test, and the last of the major browsers to do so, although it scores 24/100 on the Acid3 Test. According to Microsoft, security, ease of use, and improvements in RSS, CSS, and Ajax support were its priorities for IE8.[4][5]

Internet Explorer 8 is the last version of Internet Explorer to run on Windows Server 2003 and Windows XP; the next version, Internet Explorer 9, works only on Windows Vista and later.[6][7] Support for Internet Explorer 8 is bound to the lifecycle of the Windows version it is installed on.[8][9] Microsoft has announced it will drop support for Internet Explorer 8 on Windows beginning January 12, 2016. It will drop support for the Windows 7 operating system later in 2020,[10] that came with IE8 but has later versions available for it.


  • History 1
    • Release history 1.1
    • Language support 1.2
    • Platform support 1.3
  • New features 2
    • Accelerators 2.1
    • Autocomplete changes 2.2
    • Automatic tab-crash recovery 2.3
    • Developer tools 2.4
    • Favorites Bar 2.5
    • Inline search within pages 2.6
    • InPrivate 2.7
    • Performance and stability 2.8
    • SmartScreen Filter 2.9
    • Suggested sites 2.10
    • Web Slices and authenticated feeds 2.11
    • Zooming and image scaling 2.12
    • ActiveX behavior control 2.13
  • Removed features 3
  • Standards support 4
    • Standards mode 4.1
    • Compatibility mode 4.2
  • Adoption 5
  • Reviews 6
  • System requirements 7
  • See also 8
  • References 9
  • External links 10


Browser's wordmark

IE8 development started in at least March 2006.[11] In February 2008, Microsoft sent out private invitations for IE8 Beta 1,[12] and on March 5, 2008, released Beta 1 to the general public,[13] although with a focus on web developers.[14] The release launched with a Windows Internet Explorer 8 Readiness Toolkit website promoting IE8 white papers, related software tools, and new features in addition to download links to the Beta.[13][15] Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN) added new sections detailing new IE8 technology.[13][16] Major press focused on a controversy about Version Targeting, and two new features then called WebSlice and Activities. The readiness toolkit was promoted as something "developers can exploit to make Internet Explorer 8 'light up'."[13]

On August 27, 2008, Microsoft made IE8 Beta 2 generally available.[17] PC World noted various Beta 2 features such as InPrivate mode, tab isolation and color-coding, and improved standards and compatibility compared to Internet Explorer 7.[18] Two name changes included Activities to Accelerators, and the IE7 Phishing filter renamed Safety Filter in the first Beta to SmartScreen, both accompanied by incremental technical changes as well.[18] By August 2008, the new feature called InPrivate had taken the spotlight.[18]

The first non-beta version was released on March 19, 2009.

On January 5, 2009, a tool was provided by Microsoft to block the automatic install of Internet Explorer 8 via Windows Update.

As of May 20, 2009, Windows XPe (Embedded) was not a supported platform for Internet Explorer 8. There have been no announcements of planned support.

On May 27, 2010, Microsoft released Internet Explorer 8 optimized for Bing and MSN. The file name is BOIE8_ENUS_XP.exe.

On August 7, 2014, Microsoft announced it will drop support for older browsers after January 12, 2016.[19][20]

Release history

Internet Explorer 8 release history
Version Release Date Windows XP SP2 /
Windows Server 2003 SP1
Windows Vista /
Windows Server 2008
Windows 7 Languages
Name Number
Beta 1[13] 8.0.6001.17184 March 5, 2008 Yes Yes No 3[21]
Beta 2[17] 8.0.6001.18241 August 27, 2008 Yes Yes Yes 25[22]
Partner Build (Pre RC)[23] 8.0.6001.18343 December 10, 2008 Yes Yes Yes 1
Release Candidate[24] 8.0.6001.18372 January 26, 2009 Yes Yes Yes 25[24]
Release to Manufacturing[25] 8.0.6001.18702 March 19, 2009 Yes Yes Included 25–63
*^ Initially, Internet Explorer supported 25 languages;[25] additional languages, for a total of 63 were released by June 2009, but not all languages are available on all Windows versions[26]

Language support

Language support (localization) was not complete on release. IE8 was released with 25 languages.[25] This grew up to 63 for Vista 32-bit in June 2009.[27] Support for additional languages can come pre-installed based on the OS, or downloaded and installed via Multilingual User Interface (MUI) packages.[26]

Platform support

Operating systems and CPU architectures IE8 runs on[28][29]
Operating system Service pack needed CPU architecture
Windows XP SP2 and later IA-32[30] and x64[31]
Windows Server 2003 SP2 IA-32[32] and x64[31]
Windows Vista RTM or later IA-32[33] and x64[34]
Windows Server 2008 RTM or later IA-32[33] and x64[34]
Windows 7 RTM or later IA-32[2] and x64[2]
Windows Server 2008 R2 RTM or later x64[2] and Itanium[2]

New features

Quick Tabs on Internet Explorer 8

IE8 contains many new features, including WebSlices and Accelerators.[35][36]


A map Accelerator using the IE8 Accelerators Smart tag

Accelerators are a form of selection-based search which allow a user to invoke an online service from any other page using only the mouse.[37] Actions such as selecting the text or other objects will give users access to the usable Accelerator services (such as blogging with the selected text, or viewing a map of a selected geographical location), which can then be invoked with the selected object. According to Microsoft, Accelerators eliminate the need to copy and paste content between web pages.[35] IE8 specifies an XML-based encoding which allows a web application or web service to be invoked as an Accelerator service. How the service will be invoked and for what categories of content it will show up are specified in the XML file.[38] Similarities have been drawn between Accelerators and the controversial Smart tags feature experimented with in the IE 6 Beta but withdrawn after criticism (though later included in MS Office).[14]

Autocomplete changes

The address bar features domain highlighting for added security so that the top-level domain is shown in black whereas the other parts of the URL are grayed out. Domain highlighting cannot be turned off by users or web sites. Other features of the address bar include support for pasting multi-line URLs and an improved model for inserting the selection caret, and selecting words, or entire URLs in the Address bar. The inline autocomplete feature has been dropped from Internet Explorer 8, leading to criticism by beta users.[39]

Automatic tab-crash recovery

If a website or add-on causes a tab to crash in Internet Explorer 8, only that tab is affected. The browser itself remains stable and other tabs remain unaffected, thereby minimizing any disruption to the browsing experience. If a tab unexpectedly closes or crashes it is automatically reloaded with the same content as before the crash.

Developer tools

For developers, Internet Explorer 8 includes tools that allow debugging HTML, CSS, JavaScript and VBScript within the browser.[40]

Favorites Bar

Another new feature in IE8 is a redesigned Favorites Bar, which can now host content such as Web Slices, web feeds, and documents, in addition to website links.

Inline search within pages

Internet Explorer 8 now has replaced the Find... dialog box with an inline Find toolbar which can be activated by pressing CTRL+F or from search box drop-down menu but the F3 (or any other kind of a keyboard-driven) NextFind command has gone. Internet Explorer 8 highlights all instances of found words while allowing the user to continue the navigation normally.[41]


Internet Explorer 8 in InPrivate mode

A new security mode called InPrivate debuted with IE8, and consists of two main features: InPrivate Browsing and InPrivate Filtering.[18] InPrivate Browsing has been described as a "porn mode" in various news outlets.[42][43][44][45][46][47][48][49] A similar feature, first introduced in Safari in 2005,[50] was later implemented in Firefox 3.5, Opera 10.5 and Google Chrome. InformationWeek mentioned it as a "'Stealth' Privacy Mode".[51]

InPrivate Browsing in Internet Explorer 8 helps prevent one's browsing history, temporary Internet files, form data, cookies, and usernames and passwords from being retained by the browser, leaving no easily accessible evidence of browsing or search history. InPrivate Filtering provides users an added level of control and choice about the information that third party websites can use to track browsing activity. InPrivate Subscriptions allow you to augment the capability of InPrivate Blocking by subscribing to lists of websites to block or allow.

As with other private browsing modes there are ways that information about a browsing session can be recovered.

Performance and stability

The architecture of IE8

Internet Explorer 8 includes performance improvements across the HTML parser, CSS engine, mark-up tree manipulation as well as the JScript runtime and the associated garbage collector. Memory leaks due to inconsistent handling of circular references between JScript objects and DOM objects were corrected.[52] For better security and stability, IE8 uses the Loosely Coupled Internet Explorer (LCIE) architecture and runs the browser frame and tabs in separate processes. LCIE prevents glitches and hangs from bringing down the entire browser and leads to higher performance and scalability. Permissions for ActiveX controls have been made more flexible – instead of enabling or disabling them globally, they can now be allowed on a per-site basis.[53]

SmartScreen Filter

SmartScreen Filter extended Internet Explorer 7's phishing filter to include protection from socially engineered malware. Every website and download is checked against a local list of popular legitimate websites, if the site is not listed the entire address is sent to Microsoft for further checks.[54] If it has been labeled as an impostor or harmful, Internet Explorer 8 will show a screen prompting that the site is reported harmful and shouldn't be visited. From there the user can either visit his or her homepage, visit the previous site, or continue to the unsafe page.[55] If a user attempts to download a file from a location reported harmful, then the download is cancelled. The effectiveness of SmartScreen filtering has been reported to be superior to socially engineered malware protection in other browsers.[56]

This feature can be disabled or enforced using Group Policy.

Internet Explorer 8 Developer Tools in a JavaScript debugging session

Suggested sites

This feature is described by Microsoft as a tool to suggest websites, which is done by the browser sending information to Microsoft over a secure connection, which keeps the information and a per-session, uniquely generated identifier for a short time.[57] The Suggested Sites feature is turned off by default and is disabled when the user is browsing with InPrivate enabled or visiting SSL-secured, intranet, IP address, or IDN address sites. Information that could be personally identifiable, such as the user's IP address and browser information is sent to Microsoft as an artifact of the HTTPS protocol. Microsoft has stated that they do not store this information.

The functionality was defended by Microsoft after's Gregg Keizer described it as a "phone home" feature.[58]

Web Slices and authenticated feeds

IE8 Favorites menu displaying a WebSlice in a flyout Window

Web Slices are snippets of the entire page to which a user can subscribe.[37] Web Slices will be kept updated by the browser automatically, and can be viewed directly from the Favorites bar, complete with graphics and visuals. Developers can mark parts of the pages as Web Slices, using the hAtom and hSlice microformat. Web Slices have been compared to Active Desktop, introduced in Internet Explorer 4 in 1997.[59]

Microsoft donated the specification to the public domain under the Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication. It is also covered by the Microsoft Open Specification Promise.[60]

Windows RSS Platform also supports authenticated feeds beginning with Internet Explorer 8.[61]

Zooming and image scaling

Full-page zoom now reflows the text to remove the appearance of horizontal scrollbars on zooming.[53] Image scaling is done using bicubic interpolation resulting in smoother looking images when scaled.[62]

Using the compatibility mode will cause style issues with

Internet Explorer desktop market share

— September 2015[78] via Net Applications[note 1]

Internet Explorer 6  0.77%
Internet Explorer 7  0.41%
Internet Explorer 8 11.71%
Internet Explorer 9  6.19%
Internet Explorer 10  4.65%
Internet Explorer 11  25.26%
All variants 48.99%

Other statistics show lower numbers[79]

Five weeks after the release of IE 8 Beta 2 in August 2008, Beta 1's market share had grown from 0.05 percent to 0.61 percent, according to Net Applications.[80] On July 2009, just under four months after the final release, the market share jumped to 13 percent.[80]

As of September 2013, estimates of IE8's global market share ranged from 6.93% to 8.73%.[81][82][83]

According to Net Applications web analytics for October, 2014, Internet Explorer 8 accounts for 17.31 % of web traffic, now overtaken by IE11 in usage.


In a March 19, 2009 review, Benny Har-Even of IT PRO offered some praise of Internet Explorer 8, noting its reliability and good features and concluding that it was "certainly the best version of Internet Explorer in a long time", but also that "there's not yet anything here to make Firefox users want to jump ship".[84] He offered praise to Microsoft for paying attention to their competition and producing "a better featured, faster and more reliable browsing experience for the masses" and suggested that as Microsoft continues to improve the product, it would become "harder to persuade the unconverted to switch away from IE."[84]

The next month, on April 2, Mark Joseph Edwards wrote in the newsletter Windows Secrets that the new edition of Internet Explorer had greatly improved security, speed and compatibility, but opined that it still lagged behind competitors in all three areas.[85] Edwards noted that at the time Internet Explorer 8 was still underperforming relative to other browsers in speed and was not as successful in displaying webpages as they were intended to display as such browsers as Firefox and Opera. In terms of security, he wrote that its "continued reliance on ActiveX makes the browser vulnerable in its very foundation."[85] For these reasons, he suggested that Firefox remained a better alternative to Internet Explorer 8, even though it was a "much better browser than IE 7."[85]

System requirements

IE8 requires at least:[1]

  • Operating systems:
  • Processor speed: 233 MHz
  • Memory:
    • 64 MB on 32-bit versions of Windows XP or Windows Server 2003
    • 128 MB on 64-bit versions of Windows XP or Windows Server 2003
    • 512 MB on Windows Vista or Windows Server 2008
  • Display: Super VGA (800×600) monitor with 256 colors
  • Peripherals: Modem or internet connection; mouse or compatible pointing device

See also


  1. ^ a b "Internet Explorer 8 system requirements". Microsoft. Retrieved 3 October 2012. 
  2. ^ a b c d e "Internet Explorer 8 Upgrade Advisor does not function correctly after you install update 2183461 in Windows 7 or in Windows Server 2008 R2 (Revision: 2.0)". Microsoft Support. Microsoft. 4 November 2010. Retrieved 3 October 2012. 
  3. ^ Heiner, Dave (June 11, 2009). Meisner, Jeff, ed. "Working To Fulfill Our Legal Obligations in Europe for Windows 7". Microsoft on the Issues.  
  4. ^ LaMonica, Martin (May 3, 2007). "Microsoft Hints at General Plan for IE 8".  
  5. ^ Reimer, Jeremy (May 2, 2007). "Microsoft Drops Hints about Internet Explorer 8".  
  6. ^ Hall, Kevin (March 17, 2010). "Internet Explorer 9 Adds HTML5, Drops Windows XP".  
  7. ^ Foley, Mary Jo (March 16, 2010). "Microsoft IE9 Developer Preview with HTML5 Support Ready for Download".  
  8. ^ Keizer, Gregg. "US-CERT urges XP users to dump IE".  
  9. ^ "Windows lifecycle fact sheet".  
  10. ^ "Internet Explorer Support Announcement". Microsoft Support Lifecycle. Microsoft. Retrieved 18 August 2015. 
  11. ^ LaMonica, Martin (March 20, 2006). "Gates Looks To Expand View Beyond Windows".  
  12. ^ Foley, Mary Jo (February 23, 2008). "Private IE 8 Beta 1 Test Build Coming Soon".  
  13. ^ a b c d e Internet Explorer 8 Readiness Toolkit
  14. ^ a b Thurrott, Paul (October 6, 2010). "Internet Explorer 8 Beta 1 Review". Supersite for Windows.  
  15. ^ """MSDN "What's New in Internet Explorer 8.  
  16. ^ "MSDN IE8 White Papers". Microsoft.
  17. ^ a b IE8 Beta 2 download page.
  18. ^ a b c d Mediati, Nick (August 27, 2008). "Internet Explorer 8 Beta 2: Can It Outfox Firefox?".  
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^ Sena Kannan, Vishwac (April 8, 2008). "IE8 Beta 1 For Developers Now Available in Chinese (Simplified) and German". IEBlog.  
  22. ^ Sena Kannan, Vishwac (September 17, 2008). "Internet Explorer 8 Beta 2 Now Available in 25 Languages". IEBlog.  
  23. ^ Foley, Mary Jo (December 10, 2008). "Microsoft releases to select testers updated IE 8 build".  
  24. ^ a b Hachamovitch, Dean (January 27, 2009). "Internet Explorer 8 Release Candidate Now Available". IEBlog.  
  25. ^ a b c "Microsoft Announces Availability of Internet Explorer 8"
  26. ^ a b Sena Kannan, Vishwac (April 25, 2009). "Internet Explorer 8 is now available in 18 additional languages". IEBlog.  
  27. ^ Sena Kannan, Vishwac (June 26, 2009). "IE8 Is Now Available on Windows XP for 5 More Languages". IEBlog.  
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  32. ^ "Windows Internet Explorer 8 for Windows Server 2003". Microsoft Download Center. Microsoft. 11 March 2009. Retrieved 15 November 2012. 
  33. ^ a b "Windows Internet Explorer 8 for Windows Vista or Windows Server 2008". Microsoft Download Center. Microsoft. 11 March 2009. Retrieved 15 November 2012. 
  34. ^ a b "Windows Internet Explorer 8 for Windows Vista 64-bit Edition or Windows Server 2008 64-bit Edition". Microsoft Download Center. Microsoft. 19 March 2009. Retrieved 15 November 2012. 
  35. ^ a b Foley, Mary Jo (March 4, 2008). "IE 8 To Feature WebSlices, Activities".  
  36. ^ a b "New and Exciting Features".  
  37. ^ a b "How Do I Make My Site 'Light Up' with Internet Explorer 8?".  
  38. ^ a b "Address Bar improvements in Internet Explorer 8". March 11, 2008. Retrieved January 25, 2013. 
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  40. ^ "Internet Explorer 8: Features (Section: Better Find on Page)". Internet Explorer 8 web site. Microsoft Corporation. Retrieved 8 January 2010. Internet Explorer 8 includes a completely redesigned Find On Page toolbar, which is activated by pressing Ctrl-F or choosing Find On Page from the Edit menu or Search box drop-down. 
  41. ^ McDougall, Paul (August 26, 2008). "Internet Explorer 8 To Include 'Stealth' Privacy Mode".  
  42. ^ "Microsoft Internet Explorer 8 To Include So-Called 'Porn Mode' Privacy Feature".  
  43. ^ Porn Mode' Angers Rivals"'".  
  44. ^ Firth, Niall (August 28, 2008). "Microsoft Launches 'Porn Mode' Browser That Lets You Surf the Web Without Leaving a Trace".  
  45. ^ "Porn Mode Comes to IE8".  
  46. ^ Porn Mode' for New Internet Explorer"'".  
  47. ^ "Microsoft's 'Porn Mode' Browser".  
  48. ^ Peterkin, Tom (August 28, 2008). "Microsoft Launches 'Porn Browser' To Protect Privacy".  
  49. ^ Tam, Pei Zuan (October 2, 2005). "Private Browsing with Safari Web Browser". MacNify. 
  50. ^ Keizer, Gregg (August 26, 2008). "Microsoft Adds Privacy Tools to IE8".  
  51. ^ "Circular Memory Leak Mitigation".  
  52. ^ a b c "How Do I Keep My Site and Add-Ons Working with Internet Explorer 8?".  
  53. ^ "Please upgrade your browser - Microsoft Windows". Retrieved January 25, 2013. 
  54. ^ Lawrence, Eric (July 2, 2008). "IE8 Security Part III: SmartScreen Filter". Retrieved September 2, 2008. 
  55. ^ "The Q3 Socially Engineered Malware Test Report" (PDF). August 14, 2009. 
  56. ^ "Suggested Sites & Privacy". IEBlog.  
  57. ^ "Microsoft Defends Internet Explorer 'Phone Home' Feature". ITWorld.
  58. ^ Gralla, Preston. "IE8's New WebSlices Feature: Welcome to 1997".  
  59. ^ "Web Slice Format Specification - Version 0.9". Retrieved January 25, 2013. 
  60. ^ "Authenticated Feeds" (PDF). Retrieved January 25, 2013. 
  61. ^ "Image Scaling in Internet Explorer 8". Retrieved January 25, 2013. 
  62. ^ Open These the Next Time I Use Internet Explorer' No Longer an Option in IE 8"'". March 16, 2009. Retrieved January 25, 2013. 
  63. ^ Galineau, Sylvain (October 16, 2008). "Ending Expressions". Retrieved September 15, 2010. 
  64. ^ Open as Web Folder' Not in the Internet Explorer 8 File"'". MSDN.  
  65. ^ ppgrainbow (March 19, 2008). "Internet Explorer 8 Available Now!".  
  66. ^ Windows Help and Support: "Delete webpage history"
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  69. ^ "W3C - CSS browsers". Retrieved January 25, 2013. 
  70. ^ "James Hopkins » IE8 Bugs". Retrieved January 25, 2013. 
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  72. ^ "Berners-Lee Unhappy with IE8". September 29, 2008. Retrieved September 4, 2009. 
  73. ^ "IE 8: On the Path to Web Standards Compliance - ACID 2 Test Pass Complete".  
  74. ^ Hachamovitch, Dean (December 19, 2007). "Internet Explorer 8 and Acid2: A Milestone". Retrieved September 15, 2010. 
  75. ^ Upton, James (March 26, 2009). "More Web Standards Tests Submitted to the W3C". Retrieved September 15, 2010. 
  76. ^ Gustafson, Aaron (January 21, 2008). "Beyond DOCTYPE: Web Standards, Forward Compatibility, and IE8". Retrieved March 22, 2007. 
  77. ^ "Browser Version Market Share". Net Applications. August 2015. Retrieved 2013-08-12. 
  78. ^
  79. ^ a b "'"Usage Share Trend for 'Microsoft Internet Explorer 8.0.  
  80. ^ "Global Web Stats". W3Counter. January 2011. Retrieved January 18, 2011. 
  81. ^ "StatCounter Global Stats". StatCounter. January 2011. Retrieved January 18, 2011. 
  82. ^ "Browser Version Market Share".   Note: IE8 + "Compatibility Mode" numbers
  83. ^ a b IT PRO Reviews "Internet Explorer 8 review" . 
  84. ^ a b c Windows Secrets "No Reason To Rush Your Upgrade to IE 8" . 

External links

  • Official website
  • Internet Explorer Developer Center on MSDN
  • Internet Explorer team blog
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