Microsoft releases for download IE11 for Windows 7

Microsoft releases for download IE11 for Windows 7

Summary: Microsoft is starting to push the release-to-Web version of IE11 for Windows 7 to users as of November 7.


Microsoft is making available for download the release-to-Web (RTW) version of its Internet Explorer 11 (IE11) browser for Windows 7.


The final bits will be downloadable from Microsoft's IE site.

Microsoft made a developer preview of IE11 for Windows 7 available in late July, followed by a consumer preview in mid-September. IE11 already is available as a bundled part of Windows 8.1 and Windows RT 8.1.

November 7 marks the start of the push of IE11 to those Windows 7 users with auto-update turned on. Those with the preview builds will get the final bits first. Others will get them over a matter of weeks.

"Between Windows 7 and Windows 8, 55 percent of desktops can now run IE11," said Rob Mauceri, Partner Group Program Manager for IE.

IE11 for Windows 7 includes many, but not all, of the same features that are in the Windows 8.1 version. Here's what's different:

  • In the Windows 7 version of IE11, the URL bar remains at the top of the browser (like it is with IE10 on Windows 7). IE11 for Windows 8.1 puts the URL bar at the bottom.
  • The new tab view in Windows 8.1 isn't part of the IE11 for Windows 7 release.
  • IE11 on Windows 7 won't support for premium video extensions like the 8.1 version does. "There are many solutions available for Windows 7 customers to stream and view protected content online, those methods will continue to function for customers," a spokesperson confirmed. (Read: Silverlight and Flash.)
  • No support for Google's SPDY protocol (the precursor to HTTP 2.0) in IE11 on Windows 7. IE11 on Windows 8.1 does support SPDY.
  • IE11 on Windows 7 will not support Enhanced Protected Mode browser security enhancements. (IE10 on Windows 7 didn't, either.)

Beyond this, IE11 for Windows 7 and IE 11 for Windows 8.1 are largely the same, according to Microsoft officials.

Like IE11 on Windows 8.1, IE11 on Windows 7 includes support for WebGL. It will natively decode JPG images in real-time on the GPU so that pages load faster, use less memory and help improve battery life and support HTML5 link prefetching and pre-rendering, officials said. IE11 on Windows 7 also It incorporates the same changes to the "Chakra" JavaScript engine, including changes to garbage collection and just-in-time (JIT) compilation as IE11 for Windows 8.1 does, they said.

Microsoft officials declined to comment as to when IE11 will be available on Windows Phone. Windows Phone 8 includes IE10.

Administrators who don't want IE11 to be pushed automatically to users running Windows 7 SP1 and/or Windows Server 2008 R2 and later can download Microsoft's blocking tool to prevent this action. The blocking tool has no expiration date.

Topics: Browser, Microsoft, Windows, Windows 8


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • Not Sure If Good News

    I am using IE11 full time with Windows 8.1 at both home and work. I routinely find websites, especially CAC enabled .gov/.mil sites, that just don't work properly with IE11. It almost reminds me of the compatibility issues that plagued IE6.

    If I have a site that requires the use of IE and IE11 does not work, I keep an updated Windows 7 VM with IE10--and at times have had to fire up a VM with IE8--for those rare times.

    Prior to IE11, I was a primary IE10 user on Windows 7 and Windows 8. Chrome was secondary. Now with IE11, I find that I have to use Chrome or FireFox as my primary with IE being the spare, secondary browser.

    I have a very hard time understanding how Microsoft can finally get the browser right with IE 8/9/10 only to start breaking it again with IE11. Nothing would please me more than to know what they are thinking in Redmond.
    • re:

      Most likely those sites don't follow the stricter HTML standards that IE11 uses by default. You should be able to go to the Tools menu and add those sites to a list of sites that need to be run in "compatibility" mode. I think the menu option under Tools is Compatibility View Settings. IE11 is the first version of IE that doesn't have a one click button (and menu option) to run sites in compatibility mode.
      Sir Name
      • Yeh same here

        A lot of users i support are always having issues with IE10, generally it comes down to a website that is run by a gov organization. They still insist on using java for mapping and geo location graphs. Its a simply fix but would have been better for Microsoft to detect if a site isn't using the strict form of HTML and detect the change accordingly.
      • Microsoft shares in the blame for this

        Years of lagging means dozens of common Javascript libraries have workarounds that treat IE differently, and most of them didn't expect the situation to change, so don't have any "version limiting" features that keeps IE's special treatment restricted to IE8 and down.

        Not looking forward to picking up the pieces of this, even if it means things will be easier 4-5 years down the line.
    • Privacy Tracking

      I find a lot of sites don't work in IE10/11 because I have privacy tracking turned on. In that case the sites only half load, embedded video etc. is missing, turning off privacy tracking for that site also brings up a bunch of adverts and overlays... :-S

      I still use Firefox on my main W8 notebook, but it is unusably slow on my tablet, so I mainly use IE11 there, which is blindlingly fast. Hopefull, when Mozilla finally release the touch friendly version of Firefox, they will also have worked on its bloat.

      Having hardly touched IE in a decade, I was surprised just how fast and easy to use the Windows 8 app version is. If it supported NoScript, I might be tempted to use it as my main browser.
  • IE11 for Windows 8.1 puts the URL bar at the bottom.

    I guess this makes Microsoft bottom feeders. Who reads things or does things from the bottom up? Isn't it time a little common sense is used by developers. After all, one does start reading from the top of the page. duh!
    • It gets all of that out of your way....

      so you can read w/o the search bar in your field of view. It auto hides no matter, so what is thedifference? When the page comes up, your eyes are on the page, not where you keyed the url.
    • Half truth.

      Yes, IE 11 does put the URL bar at the bottom, BUT ONLY IN THE METRO VERSION.

      In the DESKTOP (AKA, the Normal IE 11), it's on top where it belongs.

      Please stop spreading FUD.
      • Kudos to Forever Cookie

        You are the most sensible, knowledgeable, and all around "simply the best" poster in this forum.

        Your posts almost always get a vote from me.

        Thanks for being you:)
        • oh ffs...

          ... get a room

          ... and the simple answer to the 'fud' is stay with a sensible os like W7 that has a single version of IE, not a broken mess that requires two versions of the same browser...
          • Same..

            Win7 has the "2" browsers, too. 64-bit and 32-bit. On Win8, same thing, the Metro version is 64-bit and desktop version is 32-bit. That is the primary difference.
          • Well said mharr. Don't expect an apology from the OP however....

            his/her subject line tells you all you need to know about his/her intellect and ability to be open minded.
    • Huh?

      You're talking a about a change in the Modern UI version... which Windows 7 doesn't have.
      Michael Alan Goff
    • The URL bar is at the top

      in Windows 8 on the desktop, the same as it is in Windows 7. It is the Metro mode that has it at the bottom, where it makes some sense when using touch.
  • Good browser

    I already had it in release preview and that's right, Windows update gives it
  • Yes, enhanced protected mode is supported

    Dear Mary-Jo, "enhanced protected mode" is supported in IE11 for W7 and already was in IE10 for W7 !
    It is an euphemism for "64 bits" in spite of containing some other secondary features. In French "mode protégé amélioré" (!!).
  • Sorrry Microsoft............

    You lost us with this "demonstrating that Windows 8 software works reasonably well on Windows 7.".

    We WONT/DONT want anything that resembles WINDOWS 8 interface its CRAP.

    We are a business and our users love and use Google.
    • Wow

      That has to be one of the single most ignorant comments regarding IE 11 on windows 7. Seriously. IE 11 looks pretty much like !IE 10 did on Windows 7. IE 11 doesn't "resemble Windows 8" in any way.

      But I suppose we shouldn't let something as simple as facts get in the way of your "I hate Microsoft" rant.
      Michael Alan Goff
      • These people!

        They have never even touched Windows 8, they are getting all that crap from the minority of bloggers who have been pounding on Windows 8 for their myriad of reasons and of course most of these people (Oops, I meant sheeple) haven't used Windows 8 either!
        • There are many who have tried W8 and who despise its UI!

          I have most certainly used W8 and it is awful beyond words. Not its stability, not its speed; simply its UI. F'n awful beyond words and I am most certainly not a sheeple. Wake up to yourself and try to accept that people have legitimate criticisms of W8 and it is not simply because they are sheeple.