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At long last, Windows 7 users can finally join their Windows 8 chums in running Microsoft’s latest and greatest web browser. Internet Explorer 10 for Windows 7 has been released, and it’s available now as a direct download from Microsoft. Downloads via Windows Update won’t start for a little while yet, so that means you’ll need to manually install the new version if you’re already running the Internet Explorer 10 preview for Windows 7.
Microsoft has already taken to its blog to officially announce the debut, which makes IE10 available to hundreds of millions of additional users. Those who upgrade will be treated to a much-improved IE experience. On the same test system, I saw IE10′s Peacekeeper score jump by nearly 500 points over IE9.
Internet Explorer 10 also builds on IE9′s already solid support for Web standards. That’s good news for the Web as a whole, since it should mean even fewer site compatibility issues across different browsers. Microsoft still has a long way to go before it catches up to the likes of Chrome and Firefox: IE10 scores 320 on HTML5test.com. That’s more than 70 points less than Firefox and 140 less than Chrome.
One other thing worth knowing about IE10 for Windows 7 is that Do Not Track is turned on by default, just as it is on Windows 8. Microsoft still contends that putting user privacy first mean flipping the switch first and letting users opt out later, rather than making the setting an opt-in as others have suggested. The debate over Microsoft’s “on by default” decision is just one more stumbling block that’s keeping Do Not Track from being an effective privacy tool. Even Mozilla is now hedging its bets: Firefox 22 will start blocking third-party cookies to boost privacy defenses.