As expected, Microsoft has made the first release candidate of Internet Explorer 8 available for download today. This latest build introduces few significant changes since the introduction of Beta 2 back in August, namely some additional safety protections against ‘clickjacking’ and cross site scripting as well as other performance improvements. The free browser is available for users of Windows Vista (64-bit), Windows Server (64-bit) and Windows XP Service Pack 2 (64-bit) – so if you’re trying out Windows 7 you'll have to wait a bit longer.

Also, anyone running a supported operating system who has downloaded any of the previous public betas of IE8 will eventually be prompted to update their browsers in case they don't want to update manually. This release is billed as being “feature complete,” and unless major critical issues arise the final version of the browser should be identical. Microsoft is still leading the pack (love it or hate it) when it comes to browser market share, thanks to the fact its software comes bundled with Windows, but with IE8 the company is hoping to regain some recently lost ground to rivals Firefox and the like.