What's New in Windows Internet Explorer 7

Note  As of December 2011, this article has been archived and is no longer actively maintained. For more information, see Archived Content. For information, recommendations, and guidance regarding the current version of Windows Internet Explorer, see Internet Explorer Developer Center.

Windows Internet Explorer 7 continues the ongoing Windows Internet Explorer commitment to provide enhanced security and privacy, increased compatibility with industry standards, additional browser features, and improved usability for platform developers.

Building on the broad success of Microsoft Internet Explorer 6, Internet Explorer 7 focuses on three key areas:

  1. Dynamic Security Protection:  Internet Explorer 7 takes security to a new level with new functionality that thwarts malicious software and protects users against data theft from fraudulent Web sites. Additionally, Internet Explorer 7 gives users full control over safely adding functionality to their browsing experiences, allowing for safe and easy add-on functionality while avoiding inadvertent downloads of unwanted software.
  2. Everyday Tasks Made Easier and Faster:  Internet Explorer 7 has enhanced capabilities, making it even more productive for today's savvy Internet users. Internet Explorer 7 makes searching, browsing multiple sites, and printing easier and faster. "Instant Search," the toolbar search box, initially contains MSN Search; you can add additional search providers such as AOL search, Ask Jeeves, and Yahoo Search here.
  3. Improved Platform for Web Development and Management:  Enhancements to the Internet Explorer 7 display engine enable Web developers to create attractive and functional Web sites more easily, while retaining the ability to browse existing Web content. The new Really Simple Syndication (RSS) platform support allows other applications to integrate with the browsing experience. It is now easier for network administrators to centrally deploy and manage Internet Explorer for large numbers of users.

Platform Features

Here is a summary of changes in Internet Explorer 7 that are particularly interesting to the Internet Explorer Developer Community. The Information Index for Internet Explorer 7, located in the IE Developer Center, provides topical links to the entire Internet Explorer 7 documentation set.

  • RSS Feeds—Internet Explorer 7 RSS feeds help you access information quickly and directly on the Web, providing automatic discovery of new feeds on Web pages, basic Web feed reading ability, and basic support for saving Web feeds as favorites. Developers and IT administrators can use this API to manipulate the Common Feed List, the set of feeds that users are subscribed to. See Windows RSS Platform.

  • Microsoft Phishing Filter—Internet Explorer 7 includes functionality to protect users against phishing attacks from hostile sites. A complete Phishing Filter that includes the ability for system administrators to set group policy for the entire network is on available on Internet Explorer 7 for all platforms. The Phishing Filter benefits the developers of well-behaved Web sites because users will trust the added control they have over their environment.

  • Protected Mode—Windows Vista Protected Mode reduces the severity of threats to both Internet Explorer and extensions running in Internet Explorer by eliminating the ability to silently install malicious code through software vulnerabilities. It uses the Microsoft Windows Vista Integrity mechanism and User Interface Privilege Isolation (UIPI) to block Internet Explorer from interacting with application system resources that are higher intergrity. Protected Mode also includes compatibility features that enable most extensions to continue running unaffected and provide impacted extensions with feasible implementation options.

  • Secure Sockets Layer (SSL)—Internet Explorer 7 makes it easier to see if Web transactions are secured by SSL or Transport Layer Security (TLS). A security report icon now appears to the right of the address bar when you view a page using a Secure Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTPS) connection. Clicking this icon displays a report describing the certificate used to encrypt the connection and the certifying authority that issued the certificate. The security report also provides links to more detailed information.

  • Microsoft ActiveX Opt-In—Internet Explorer 7 disables all ActiveX controls that are not used in Internet Explorer 6. When users encounter an ActiveX control for the first time, a gold bar is displayed that asks if they want to use the control. Users can choose whether to allow the control to run or to prevent the control from running.

    Note   By default, the ActiveX Opt-in does not apply to Intranet and Trusted Site zones; new controls on those zones and preapproved controls run without prompting.
  • Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) Updates—Internet Explorer 7 features improved Cascading Style Sheets, Level 2 (CSS2) support for Selectors (first-child, adjacent, attribute, and child selectors) and Fixed Positioning. The :hover pseudo-class now functions on all CSS elements, and background attachment works as well. Internet Explorer 7 also includes fixes for the issues that developers are most concerned about, as gathered from community Web sites and from feedback in the IE blog. For example, the majority of bugs reported on the Position is Everything Web site are fixed. (Follow the link to see specific bug details.)

  • Portable Network Graphics (PNG)—Internet Explorer 7 adds support for Alpha Channel Transparency to PNG, so that Web designers can implement advanced overlays and innovative graphical designs.

  • XMLHTTP Native Support—Internet Explorer 7 implements a version of XMLHTTP that is a native scriptable object instead of an object. Users can now have ActiveX controls switched off and still maintain a client-side connection with a server. Dynamic transactions using XML data can continue to run in the background, allowing new dynamically retrieved data to be inserted into a current, otherwise static, HTML page.

  • Internationalized Domain Name (IDN)—Internet Explorer 7 includes complete support for RFC3490: Internationalizing Domain Names in Applications (IDNA) in all browser functions. This support is implemented in a way that ensures a consistent level of browser security across languages.

  • Tabbed Browsing—Internet Explorer 7 uses tabs to organize and manage groups of Web pages. Users can select an individual page or a group of pages (a tab group) to open as their home page. The Favorites Center provides easy access to Favorites, History, and Web Feeds; click the Open in tabs button to open each page in the Favorites or Feeds folder as a new tab.

  • HTML 4.01 Support —Internet Explorer 7 recognizes the ABBR tag from HTML 4.01. This tag supports the elements supported by other tags and can be styled with CSS. Internet Explorer 7 also supports nested objects. If an OBJECT is nested within another OBJECT, only the outermost OBJECT that can be instantiated is rendered. (In Internet Explorer 6, all objects are rendered, and the next opening OBJECT is considered a closure for the previous one.) For more information, see the HTML 4.01 Specification.

  • Select Element—The Select control is now a windowless control. This change enables z-order and zoom to work correctly. The HTML and Document Object Model (DOM) for Select remain the same, so Web developers and end users interact with Select as before; however, applications that relied on getting an HWND from Select to use with Microsoft Win32 APIs must be modified to use the DOM.

To learn more about Internet Explorer 7 and how Web authors and C++ developers can use its new features, see the following topics.

Related topics

Cascading Style Sheet Compatibility in Internet Explorer 7
Finding Security Compatibility Issues in Internet Explorer 7
Internet Explorer 7 Readiness Toolkit
Microsoft Application Compatibility Toolkit (ACT)