Internet Explorer at a glance

Here are some of the ways that Internet Explorer makes browsing the web easier, safer, and more enjoyable.

Features in Internet Explorer 8

  • The new Safety menu brings together security and privacy features such as Windows Update, SmartScreen Filter, and InPrivate Browsing into one place. If the Safety button doesn't appear, see Customize the Internet Explorer toolbars.

  • Searching the web is easier with the new search menu that offers search suggestions, history, and AutoComplete as you type into the search box. You can also quickly change search providers by clicking the arrow to the right of the search box and then choosing the search provider you want to use. For more information, see Change or choose a search provider in Internet Explorer and Tips for searching the Internet.

    Picture of the search box
    Internet Explorer search box
  • Highlight a word or phrase on a webpage, click the Accelerator button Picture of the Accelerator button, and instantly link to services such as mapping, translation, or searching. You can also preview services before you click by resting your mouse over the Accelerator. For more information about using Internet Explorer Accelerators, see Using Accelerators to find addresses, define words, and do other tasks with selected text.
  • Website developers can use Internet Explorer Developer Tools to create websites without having to custom-tailor them for each browser, and can view and debug their webpages right in Internet Explorer.

  • While developers are busy updating their websites for this version of Internet Explorer, you can click the Compatibility View button Picture of the Compatibility View button to display websites that haven't been updated. For more information, see Why don't some websites display correctly in Internet Explorer 8?
  • When things don't work out with a website, and a tab crashes, Internet Explorer's crash recovery now automatically closes and attempts to recover the tab without affecting other open tabs.

  • Close a tab or window by accident? No problem. Internet Explorer now lets you re-open closed tabs with form data recovery when tabs are closed during your current browsing session. If you have tabs open when you close your browser window, you can choose to re-open your last browsing session the next time you open Internet Explorer. See Open tabs you've previously closed.

  • While browsing the web, Suggested Sites, a new web service, offers you suggestions of websites you might like based on your browsing history.

  • Internet Explorer now supports W3C standards that enable web designers to provide alternate style sheets for websites. You can also turn off a style sheet on a webpage. For more information, see What are Internet Explorer styles?

Increased security and privacy

New security and privacy features allow you to browse the web more safely.

  • Microsoft‌ SmartScreen Filter can help protect you from phishing attacks, online fraud, and spoofed websites, as well as websites that distribute malicious software. For more information, see SmartScreen Filter: frequently asked questions.

  • InPrivate Browsing enables you to surf the web without leaving a trail in Internet Explorer. This helps prevent anyone else who might be using your computer from seeing where you visited and what you looked at on the web. For more information, see What is InPrivate Browsing?

  • InPrivate Filtering helps you prevent websites from sharing your browsing habits. For more information, see InPrivate: frequently asked questions.

  • Higher security levels can help protect you from hackers and web attacks. The Internet Explorer Cross-site Scripting (XSS) Filter can help prevent malicious websites from stealing your personal information when you visit trusted sites. For more information, see How does Internet Explorer help protect me from cross-site scripting attacks?

Get the latest content with the Favorites bar

You can add feeds, Web Slices, and favorites to the Favorites bar so you can see when updated content on your favorite websites changes. For more information, see Add to, view, and organize favorites.

Web Slices are website content—such as the current temperature, or a changing auction price—that you can monitor on your Favorites bar. When the Web Slice is updated, the link will appear in bold on the Favorites bar. You can then click the link to see the updated content. For more information, see Web Slices: frequently asked questions.

Help prevent online attacks by keeping Internet Explorer up to date

Keeping Windows and Internet Explorer up to date is one of the best ways to prevent trouble online. Microsoft periodically issues updates which can help prevent online attacks. These updates are available free of charge through Windows Update.

If your computer is not set up to automatically receive updates, you can manually request these updates by using Internet Explorer. Click the Safety button, and then click Windows Update. Follow the instructions on screen to check for updates.

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