Yesterday, Microsoft made the first release of its near-final "release candidate" version (RC1) of Internet Explorer 8 (IE8). It is the next version of its Web browser which includes a few new features. The free browser is available for users of Windows Vista (64-bit), Windows Server (64-bit) and Windows XP Service Pack 2 (64-bit). Some changes regarding updates are also important. For Windows 7 users will have to wait a bit longer, it is a pre-release candidate version for Windows 7.
RC1 has come out with a few important modifications since the release of Beta 2 back in August, 2008. With IE 8, Microsoft expects to retake some lost ground. It added features including private browsing, improved security, and a new type of add-ons, called accelerators. On the security line, Microsoft added a cross-site scripting filter, similar to protections against a type of attack known as "clickjacking".
Due to the change, Microsoft is going to be able to push the RC1 update to all users who run IE8 Beta 1 or Beta 2 through Windows Update. It is a change from August when people who ran Vista and Server 2008 had to do a download manually. Microsoft still has not stated when it is going to trigger the RC1 update. This release was announced to be "feature complete". This means that unless major critical issues occur, the final version of the browser should be similar.
At least one additional update is needed either before IE8 RC1 is installed, or before it is run. Without one of the two listed for Vista , IE8 RC1 will balk during setup. Error messages which says "Setup cannot continue because one or more updates required to install Windows Internet Explorer 8 are not present" will also be displayed. That patch is a revised version of a Vista Service Pack 1 (SP1) prerequisite. In February, 2008 it sent computers into an endless round of reboots. Systems which already run Vista SP1 are going to have that update in place.
IE General Manager Dean Hachamovitch said in an interview, that the little modifications are going to be between the release candidate and the final version. Though he refused to say when the final version will be released. Hachamovitch stated that the ecosystem should expect the final candidate to behave like the release candidate.