Aside from Microsoft's unilateral decision to enable Do-Not-Track by default, the most controversial thing about Internet Explorer 10 may have been its limited platform support. Except for its first couple of previews, the browser has remained compatible only for flavors of Windows 8. Today though, Microsoft has released their first Windows 7 compatible preview of IE10.
Download: IE10 preview for Windows 7
When IE10's first preview was birthed in April, its release notes indicated it would only be compatible with Windows 7 and up -- Vista and XP users be damned. Microsoft seems to have a habit of doing this kind of thing, but -- oh well -- that's just the way it is.
After IE10's June developer preview arrived, Microsoft seemingly abandoned Windows 7 users, supporting only Windows 8 from then on. Fast forward to recent times and IE10 is bundled with Windows 8, but Windows 7 users have remained in the lurch. Sure, we've known since April that IE10 would be available for Windows 7 but of course the problem was no one really knew when. We learned in October that Microsoft was getting very close to releasing its Windows 7 version in "mid November" and it appears that rumor spot on.
While many tech enthusiasts are likely to hold fast to their favorite alternative browsers like Chrome, Firefox and Opera, IE10 makes significant performance improvements over IE9. It's fair to say some of IE10's tablet-focused (i.e. Windows 8 RT) features have been stripped out for Windows 7 users though, like embedded Adobe Flash and Metro mode. Most of IE10's improvements over IE9 are improved performance, better web standards rendering, DNT on by default and multi-touch gestures support.
Microsoft has been mum in regards to when Windows 7 users can expect the finalized version of IE10. However, if the lag time between past IE previews and final releases serve as an indicator, we can probably expect the final version to hit Windows 7 in spring 2013.
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