Internet Explorer 8 in action

As the Internet Explorer 8 release candidate becomes available to download Mary Branscombe looks at what your users are going to be making support calls about, from rich search results to anonymous browsing.

While the first beta of Internet Explorer 8 was explicitly for web developers. Beta 2, and now the release candidate, has enough features that some of your users are probably trying it out already and you'll certainly see it on your systems when the final version ships.

There are certainly features you'll appreciate, like improved security and finer control by group policy. There are around 100 new group policy objects, bringing the IE8 total to a daunting 1,300. The group policy options control almost every new feature; for instance you can you turn off accelerators or lock down the anonymous InPrivate browsing mode if you don't think that's appropriate at work. There are also policies missing in IE8, including stopping users from bypassing the SmartScreen Filter block screen.

One big change with IE8 is that the new rendering engine has the new standards mode turned on by default, with a Compatibility View (or broken page' button on the toolbar to click if the page doesn't render well). Intranet sites and internal line of business applications will load in compatibility view automatically but you can force them to load in standards mode with group policy if they've been tested, pre-populate the list of external sites you expect users to visit that will load in compatibility view or have every site open in compatibility view. There will be new events in the Application Compatibility Toolkit to detect potential issues with internal sites and apps.

The Internet Explorer Administration Kit for version 8 is in beta as well, and this lets you control group policy settings and slipstream the browser into Vista and Windows Server 2008 deployment images. That means you'll want to review the features in IE 8 to find out what policies you want to set as well as finding out what features users are going to be needing support on.

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