Redmond (WA) - Microsoft today released the first release candidate of its Internet Explorer 7 web browser. The "RC1" does not add new features over the most recent beta, but includes fine-tunings to prepare the software for official launch.
Improvements of the new version address "performance, stability, security, and application compatibility," according to the Microsoft IE Blog. There are no visual changes to the interface of the browser, but the author mentioned that bugs found in the Beta 3 - which was released last June - were fixed and "final adjustments" to IE's CSS support were integrated.
Perhaps the most significant changes in the software for users are a few enhancements to the installation process. RC1 can detect and uninstall previous beta version of IE7. The software can also identify add-ons with "known stability or compatibility problems" and point users to updates or temporarily turn it off.
The author of the blog post considers the RC to be "fundamentally" different than the beta of the browser: "With the exception of a very short list of issues we're aware of and working on, we think the product is done." At this state, Microsoft is looking for "enthusiasts, developers, and IT Pros" to see if there is "any critical, must-fix" that needs to be implemented before the browser is released. "The real world is much richer than our test environment and I appreciate the feedback that has helped us make the product better," the author writes.
IE7 RC1 is available for download now for Windows XP SP2, Windows XP Pro x64, Windows Server 2003 SP1, Windows Server 2003 x64, and Windows Server 2003 IA64.