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Poor Internet Explorer. Years of neglect from Microsoft and poor adherence to web standards have led to Windows’ native browser being a much-maligned presence on your computer.

But is it really that bad? In truth, Microsoft attempted to reverse the rot with Internet Explorer 7, following the disaster that was IE6. Restoring Internet Explorer to a browser that people actually wanted to use was always going to be a hard road, but it’s just possible that with Internet Explorer 11 this stage has been reached.

Internet Explorer 11 Is Fast

Full of surprises, perhaps the biggest shock is the speed of Internet Explorer 11. This new version is able to download pages much more quickly to your computer (mirrored in the Windows Phone 8 version, incidentally), and has done well in independent tests.

Graphically intensive web pages displayed with Internet Explorer 11 are rendered using your computer’s graphics processor rather than the CPU as usual, a move which helps with the speed of pages opening.

However, Internet Explorer isn’t all about relying on the GPU. In the background, the browser is busy trying to guess which link you’ll click next – and preloading the data! Although this doesn’t happen every time (the algorithm will only pre-fetch the predicted page when it is certain of your choice) it certainly speeds things up when it does.

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Websites Look Superb With IE 11

Along with the use of the GPU to improve the speed on graphic-extensive pages, Internet Explorer 11 makes impressive headway in tackling the long-held concern that the browser doesn’t adhere to web standards.

muo-internetexplorer11-visual

In the past, Microsoft’s browser – whether on Windows or Mac OS – had a poor reputation for implementing standards for web page development that were not among the standards (or maintained standards that were deprecated) laid out by the W3C W3C Standards Group Launches Web Standards Page [Updates] W3C Standards Group Launches Web Standards Page [Updates] The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has launched a new documentation website called at WebPlatform.org. Its mission is to help web developers make sense of the wide variety of technologies that they must deal with... Read More . This was in direct contrast with Netscape Navigator, later Mozilla Firefox, Safari and virtually other HTML web page browser available.

While this might not sound like a big deal in 2013, 10-15 years ago it caused a lot of problems, some of which persist to this day on web resources that were developed with Microsoft Frontpage or Frontpage Express, for instance.

Internet Explorer 11’s adherence to web standards is a massive, albeit late, feather in its cap.

Improved Security & Privacy Features In Internet Explorer 11

There is no way you want to go online without ensuring your browser is secure from intrusion and your activity private. In comparisons, Internet Explorer 11 has performed well in detecting phishing sites, while Microsoft’s regular update cycle means that any vulnerabilities are quickly patched.

muo-internetexplorer11-delete-history

If you haven’t used Internet Explorer for a while, you may be unaware of the Safety menu, where you’ll find options to Delete browsing history… and enable InPrivate browsing, the latter a similar feature to the incognito mode in Chrome.

Better still, the Safety menu has an easy to reach Do Not Track feature, enabling you to request that websites you visit refrain from tracking you.

muo-internetexplorer11-ssfilter

There’s also the SmartScreen Filter, a menu item that will check the current website against a Microsoft database of threats and advise you of how to act.

The Modern Interface For Windows 8.x

For Windows 8.x users, Internet Explorer 11 has an alternative mode for tablet users, a touchscreen interface A Brief Guide To The Secrets Of The Windows 8 User Interface A Brief Guide To The Secrets Of The Windows 8 User Interface For most users, Windows 8 will come as something of a surprise when it is released, thanks to the unusual implementation of the Metro UI. If you’re not inclined to make use of whatever methods... Read More that while a little unsuitable for mouse use is ideal if you’re using fingers or a gesture-based touchpad of some sort (perhaps a laptop, or dedicated touchpad).

muo-internetexplorer11-privacy

Arguably a superior touch browsing experience than offered by Google Chrome’s Windows 8 mode, the Modern interface option for Internet Explorer 11 continues the work started in Windows 8. There really is very little difference between the two versions, although the same improvements to security and privacy have been implemented, and can be found by opening the Settings charm and selecting Options or Privacy.

It’s Time To Upgrade To IE 11

If you previously had any doubts about Internet Explorer 11, they should have dissipated enough that you might feel like trying it out. The bad news is that if you’re using Windows XP or Vista, Internet Explorer 11 isn’t compatible with your system (bad news in addition to the fact that if you’re still using Windows XP, your system is inherently unsafe Windows XP Security Risks: They're Real And Heading Your Way In 2014 Windows XP Security Risks: They're Real And Heading Your Way In 2014 Given the extensive coverage, you could easily think Windows XP end of support was just a hype. Sadly not. Without security updates, the aging operating system becomes a Trojan horse in your home or business. Read More and should be upgraded as soon as possible Upgrade From Windows XP to a Modern OS in 7 Simple Steps Upgrade From Windows XP to a Modern OS in 7 Simple Steps It's time to say goodbye! Microsoft is ending official support for Windows XP on April 8 2014. Are you at risk? If you are still running this ancient operating system, it's time to upgrade. Read More ).

For Windows 7, 8 and 8.1 users, however, the free upgrade to Internet Explorer 11 can be downloaded from Microsoft’s download page, where you should follow the brief instructions to install it. Once installed, you’ll be able to start using Internet Explorer 11 straight away.

Have you tried Internet Explorer 11? Does it give you the usability you expect from a modern browser? Perhaps you have some questions about the browser? Share your thoughts in the comments.

  1. Anubrata Bhattacharya
    May 5, 2015 at 1:46 pm

    IE 10 is sleek and lightning fast. Faster than Chrome(by a mile) and Firefox (close). Hats off to Microsoft. But it lacks the customizable features of Firefox making Firefox more user friendly and better in design. Another thing they could have worked on was that the right click menu is extremely long (covers almost your laptop screen) like the previous versions of IE and unlike Firefox. But speed and performance of IE 10 is great and if Microsoft addresses the right click menu issue and works on its design and customizability in the next version, Internet Explorer will easily rank as the best.

  2. robh
    December 23, 2014 at 6:17 pm

    I tried it, turned on diagnostics, crashed it irrecoverably. Delete and reinstall didn't fix it. Had to go back to IE10 for occasional use only, otherwise FF and Chrome but I need to find out how websites that work fine in all other browsers screw up in IE so I can fix (?) them.

  3. Krish
    December 23, 2014 at 2:26 pm

    the best browser for speed and providing stunning view of the webpages is Opera. Try it and you will never want to go to any other browser.

  4. Deen
    December 23, 2014 at 11:38 am

    Am using IE11 on my Windows 8.1 machine and I totally agree that the modern interface is indeed very smooth, very fast and yes, most websites look even better than they are on other browsers too! Well, makeuseof for one sure looks good here!

  5. Sam
    December 23, 2014 at 10:15 am

    Thanks Richard Allen, good to know. Could you expand on the reasons why you don't recommend IE?

  6. A41202813GMAIL
    December 23, 2014 at 9:18 am

    M$ Shot Themselves On The Foot, When They Sabotaged XP By Not Allowing The Normal User To Use IE9+ ( And Now Even IE7 And IE8 ) In It, While The Competition Got New Fans By Keeping Business As Usual, Even Until Today.

    KARMA Is A Classy Lady - Serves Them Right.

    Cheers.

  7. connecticut472
    December 23, 2014 at 4:35 am

    Great News!
    Thanks for sharing resourceful information regarding updations of internet explorer.

  8. KT
    December 22, 2014 at 9:34 pm

    Will it come with the message "your browser is ruining the internet, please upgrade", or will we have to wait a couple weeks for it? Firefox for me (Linux user any ways, just having some fun).

  9. portableman
    December 22, 2014 at 8:12 pm

    Internet Explorer 11 on touch is awesome. I use it everyday on my Windows tablet.

  10. dragonmouth
    December 22, 2014 at 8:04 pm

    IE 11 has no Linux version.
    Any "new" features MS incorporated into IE 11 other browsers already have had for years.
    "Do Not Track Me" feature is a JOKE in ALL browsers. It's a polite request, not an actual blocker like AdBlock.

  11. ReadandShare
    December 22, 2014 at 5:14 pm

    No, not for me.

    1. Inherent Reason - My "go to" browser is the Chromium-based Comodo Dragon. I find Chrome/Chromium browsers much easier to use and much more elegant and aesthetically pleasing than IE 11 (which I have on my desktop).

    2. Philosophical Reason - I try not to rely on too many products from any of the major companies -- be they Google, MS, Amazon, etc. In MS' case, I am already using their OS and OneCloud.

  12. john
    December 22, 2014 at 3:50 pm

    IE11? There is no way to remove add-ons. No, thanks.

  13. Mike
    December 22, 2014 at 3:20 pm

    Makes absolutely no sense whatsoever, Prostetic Lips.

    • Doc
      December 22, 2014 at 5:00 pm

      There is no such word as "prostetic." Perhaps you meant "prosthetic"? :)

    • Doc
      December 22, 2014 at 5:01 pm

      Should you upgrade to IE 11? Yes, because it installs security updates that the rest of the OS needs.
      Should you USE IE 11? No way. Firefox has addons that beat anything IE offers hands down.

  14. Prosthetic Lips
    December 22, 2014 at 2:53 pm

    As a web developer, I'm not as excited about IE 11. With "emulator" mode available, does that mean our tricks for working with IE 6-10 will now need to be doubled, so we have IE 6-10 and IE 6-10 emulated? Also, some of the "features" that the previous version of IE handled are NOT handled in base IE 11 (unless you turn on the emulation / compatibility mode) - in other words, broken web pages that work great under previous versions.

    Yes, we should be developing to standards, but since IE was the company standard, we had to work with what we had. Unfortunately, now those bugs we were relying on are going away. Great for other pages going forward, not so great for legacy websites.

    Just to be clear, I'm using IE 11 now; but for our old (internal) website, we have to turn on Compatibility Mode.

    • Mike
      December 22, 2014 at 3:21 pm

      Makes absolutely no sense!

  15. Sam
    December 22, 2014 at 2:42 pm

    Unless there's support for plugins then no Adblock Plus means malvertising potential.

    • bartoj
      December 22, 2014 at 2:59 pm

      I agree. I recently used this as my primary browser for a couple of months, and this was a deal-breaker - it does actually have Adblock as an add-on, but it requires separate permissions to download as a more stand-alone feature. It's coming, however, and I imagine that the next release or two might bring it in line with the other browsers.

    • Richard Allen
      December 22, 2014 at 8:51 pm

      Adblock Plus IS available as bartoj mentioned. I personally don't see a reason why it shouldn't be installed (ABP) even though it ends up basically being a separate app install. The advantages of having Adblock installed far out way the disadvantages of installing it separately. Having adblock's easylist and the Easyprivacy "Tracking Protection List" available to use brings IE in line with all of the other browsers as far as malware protection. And don't forget about ActiveX, and SmartScreeen filtering. Also... having ABP installed separately does NOT slow down IE. This makeuseof webpage renders noticeably faster in IE compared to Chrome and Pale Moon (my main browser) as do a lot of webpages. Chrome uses more than twice the memory that IE does with this webpage the only open tab and both IE and Chrome either having flash disabled or not installed. 170+MB memory use for IE (including ABP) and Pale Moon (21 add-ons), 425MB memory use for Chrome (only ABP), on THIS webpage. WTH google!!
      I would never recommend IE as someone's main browser for various reasons but I have no qualms about using it as one of my backups. It is fast, doesn't use a crap ton of memory and can be very secure if set up correctly.

    • Richard Allen
      December 22, 2014 at 9:23 pm

      Another thing that I've noticed recently after repairing and cleaning multiple computers for family members and friends (thank you Teamviewer) that had badly infected systems is that IE is much much easier to clean out than Chrome. Significantly easier. Am I making my point? LOL I'm talking about systems with multiple hundreds if not 1000+ malware objects, misc toolbars and search engines. It's absolutely unbelievable what some people can get on their computers. Very surprising for me because I haven't seen a virus or malware on my computers in years!! LMAO

    • Kiki
      May 20, 2015 at 4:54 pm

      Actually, there is adblock, but I forgot what's it called, It's some type of thing in the Microsoft gallery. (Not extension)

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