Internet Explorer 9 or IE9 (officially Windows Internet Explorer 9) is the ninth version of the Internet Explorer web browser for Windows. It was released by Microsoft on March 14, 2011, as the ninth version of Internet Explorer and the successor to Internet Explorer 8. Microsoft released Internet Explorer 9 as a major out-of-band version that was not tied to the release schedule of any particular version of Windows, unlike previous versions. It is the first version of Internet Explorer not to be bundled with a Windows operating system, although some OEMs have installed it with Windows 7 on their PCs. Internet Explorer 9 is the last version that is called Windows Internet Explorer. The software was rebranded simply as Internet Explorer starting in 2012 with the release of Internet Explorer 10.
|Initial release||March 14, 2011|
|Preview release||None [±]|
|Engines||MSHTML 5.0, Chakra (32-bit), JScript (64-bit)|
|Operating system||Windows Vista SP2|
Windows Server 2008 SP2
Windows Server 2008 R2
Windows Phone 7.5
|Predecessor||Internet Explorer 8 (2009)|
|Successor||Internet Explorer 10 (2012)|
|Available in||93 languages|
|License||Proprietary, requires Windows license|
Microsoft first announced Internet Explorer 9 at PDC 2009 and spoke mainly about how it takes advantage of hardware acceleration in DirectX to improve the performance of web applications and improve the quality of web typography.
These previews were not full builds of Internet Explorer 9, as they were for testing the latest version of the MSHTML (Trident) browser engine. They were for web developers to send feedback on the improvements made, functioned in parallel with any other installed browsers, and were previews of the renderer technology only, containing minimalistic user interfaces and lacking traditional interface elements such as an address bar and navigation buttons. Microsoft updated these previews approximately every eight weeks.
On November 23, 2010, two updates for the Internet Explorer 9 Public Beta were released. KB2448827 brings improvements to reliability and fixes stability issues from the previous beta release. There are not much details of resolved issues disclosed by Microsoft. Moreover, KB2452648 resolves the in-built feedback issue with Internet Explorer 9 and the latest version of Windows Live Sign-in Assistant. These updates can be fetched from Windows Update or the Microsoft Download Center website. On the same day, Internet Explorer build 9.0.8027.6000 based on Internet Explorer 9 Platform Preview 7 was leaked. On February 10, 2011, the Internet Explorer 9 Release Candidate and Platform Preview 8 were released. The Release Candidate version featured improved performance, a Tracking Protection feature, a refined UI, support for more web standards, use of hardware accelerated graphics, and other improvements.
The final version of Internet Explorer 9 was publicly released during the South by Southwest (SXSW) Interactive conference in Austin, Texas, on March 14, 2011.
|Name||Build||Release Date||Acid3 Score||New Features|
|Platform Preview 3||1.9.7874.6000||June 23, 2010||83/100||HTML5 audio, video, and canvas tags, and WOFF.|
|Platform Preview 5||1.9.7930.16406||September 15, 2010||New icon.|
|Beta||9.0.7930.16406||New user interface, download manager, and pinned sites with jumplist functionality.|
|Platform Preview 6||1.9.8006.6000||October 28, 2010||CSS3 2D transforms and HTML5 semantic tags.|
|Platform Preview 8||1.9.8080.16413||February 10, 2011||Performance, interoperability enhancements, and support for the W3C Geolocation API.|
|Release Candidate||9.0.8080.16413||Improved performance, InPrivate Filtering renamed to Tracking Protection, a refined UI, support for more web standards, the option to add a new tab row, and other improvements.|
|RTW||9.0.8112.16421||March 14, 2011||100/100||Improved performance, improved Tracking Protection, and the option to pin multiple targets per page. Last version to support Windows Vista SP2, Windows Server 2008 SP2, Windows 7 RTM and Windows Server 2008 R2 RTM.|
End of lifeEdit
Support for Internet Explorer 9 on most Windows versions ended on January 12, 2016, when Microsoft began requiring customers to use the latest version of Internet Explorer available for each Windows version. For versions of Windows where Internet Explorer 9 was the final version of Internet Explorer available, support ended when support for that version of Windows ended. On January 14, 2020, Microsoft released the final regular IE9 update for Windows Server 2008 SP2. However, as Windows Server 2008 is eligible for the paid ESU (Extended Security Updates) program, security updates from Microsoft for IE9 will be released until January 9, 2024 (for Azure customers), following which, only IE11 (the final version of Internet Explorer) will continue to be supported in any capacity.
Changes from previous versionsEdit
Internet Explorer 9 includes significant alterations to its user interface when compared with previous versions. These include:
- Pinned Sites: Integrates with the Windows 7 taskbar to make web site experience more like an application where users may "pin" a site and then return to it later like a shortcut. In the release candidate, users can pin a site and add more homepages to that site (e.g. pin Facebook and add Twitter as another homepage to that pinned site, so it would become a social program)
- Security-enabled Download Manager: Manages file transfers and can pause and resume downloads and informs if a file may be malicious
- Enhanced Tabs and Tab Page: the new tab page can show most visited sites, and tabs are shown next to the address bar (there is an option to have a separate row, like in Internet Explorer 8) with the feature of closing an inactive tab. Tabs can be "torn off" which means they can be dragged up and down to be moved from one IE window to another. This also ties in with the Aero Snap feature.
- Add-on Performance Advisor: Shows which third-party add-ons may be slowing down browser performance and then allows the option to disable or remove them
- Compact user interface, which includes the removal of the separate search box found in Internet Explorer 7 and 8. Also removed is the tab menu list found in Internet Explorer 8.
After its final release, 32-bit Internet Explorer 9 has been tested to be the leading mainstream browser in the Sunspider performance test.
The engine significantly improves support for ECMA-262: ECMAScript Language Specification standard, including features new to the recently finalized Fifth Edition of ECMA-262 (often abbreviated ES5). The Internet Explorer 9 browser release scored only 3 faults[original research?] from 10440 tests in the Test262 Ecmascript conformance test (Ver. 0.6.2 5-Apr-2011) created by Ecma International.
The 64-bit version of Internet Explorer 9, which is not the default browser even on 64-bit systems, does not have the JIT compiler and performs up to 4 times slower.
DOM improvements include:
- DOM Traversal and Range
- Full DOM L2 and L3 events
getComputedStylefrom DOM Style
Internet Explorer 9 has improved Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) support. The Internet Explorer 9 implementation report, which was created using Internet Explorer 9 Beta, shows Internet Explorer 9 passing 97.7% of all tests on the W3C CSS 2.1 test suite. This is the highest pass rate amongst CSS 2.1 implementation reports submitted to W3C.
CSS3 improvements include support for the following modules:
- CSS3 2D Transforms 
- CSS3 Backgrounds and Borders 
- CSS3 Color 
- CSS3 Fonts 
- CSS3 Media Queries 
- CSS3 Namespaces 
- CSS3 Values and Units 
- CSS3 Selectors 
Internet Explorer 9 includes support for the HTML5 video and audio tags.
The audio tag will include native support for the MP3 and AAC codecs, while the video tag will natively support H.264/MPEG-4 AVC. Support for other video formats, such as WebM, will require third-party plugins.
Internet Explorer 9 includes support for the HTML5 canvas element.
HTML5 Inline SVG supportEdit
The first Internet Explorer 9 Platform Preview has support for:
- Methods of embedding: inline HTML, inline XHTML,
<object>, full .svg documents
- Filling, Stroking, (CSS3) Color
- DOML2 Core and SVGDOM
- Presentation Attributes and CSS Styling
- Transform definitions:
SVG elements that are supported in the Platform Preview are fully implemented. Elements that exist in the Platform Preview have corresponding SVGDOM support and can be styled with CSS/presentation attributes.
The final build of Internet Explorer 9 also supports:
- Methods of embedding:
<img>, css image, .svgz
- Gradients and Patterns
- Clipping, Masking, and Compositing
- Cursor, Marker
- Remainder of Text, Transforms, Events
Internet Explorer was the first browser to support web fonts through the
@font-face rule, but only supported the Embedded OpenType (EOT) format, and lacked support for parts of the CSS3 fonts module. Internet Explorer 9 completed support for the CSS3 fonts module and added WOFF support. It is the first version of Internet Explorer to support TTF fonts, but will only use them if none of their embedding permission bits are set.
Internet Explorer 9 implements the new W3C Navigation Timings format. Microsoft has been a part of creating this format during the development of Internet Explorer 9.
Internet Explorer 9 includes a Tracking Protection feature which improves upon Internet Explorer 8's InPrivate Filtering. Internet Explorer 8's InPrivate Filtering blocked third-party content using an XML list which had to be imported or automatically built a list by observing third-party servers that users kept interacting with as they browsed the web, and once a server showed up more than a set number of times, InPrivate Filtering would block future connections to it
Internet Explorer 9 supports two methods of tracking protection. The primary method is through the use of Tracking Protection Lists (TPL) which are now supplied by internet privacy-related organizations or companies. Tracking Protection by default remains on once enabled, unlike InPrivate Filtering which had to be enabled each time Internet Explorer 8 started. When a TPL is selected, Internet Explorer 9 blocks or allows third-party URI downloads based on rules in the TPL. Users can create their personal TPL's or select a TPL supplied by a third party.
The other method is the use of a Do Not Track header and DOM property. Browser requests from Internet Explorer 9 include this header whenever a TPL is selected. Websites that follow this header should not deliver tracking mechanisms in their websites. At the moment following this header is a voluntary code of conduct but this method could in future be enforced by government legislation.
These tracking protection methods were submitted to W3C for standardization.
Internet Explorer 9 uses layered protection against malware. It uses technical measures to protect its memory like the DEP/NSX protection, Safe Exception handlers (SafeSEH) and ASLR protection used in Internet Explorer 8.
In addition to those existing forms of memory protection, Internet Explorer 9 now opts-in to SEHOP (Structured Exception Handler Overwrite Protection) which works by validating the integrity of the exception handling chain before dispatching exceptions. This helps ensure that structured exception handling cannot be used as an exploit vector, even when running outdated browser add-ons that have not been recompiled to take advantage of SafeSEH.
In addition, Internet Explorer 9 is compiled with the new C++ compiler provided with Visual Studio 2010. This compiler includes a feature known as Enhanced GS, also known as Stack Buffer Overrun Detection, which helps prevent stack buffer overruns by detecting stack corruption and avoiding execution if such corruption is encountered.
Internet Explorer 8 used SmartScreen technology, which, according to Microsoft, was successful against phishing or other malicious sites and in blocking of socially engineered malware. In Internet Explorer 9, the protection against malware downloads is extended with SmartScreen Application Reputation. This warns downloaders if they are downloading an application without a safe reputation from a site that does not have a safe reputation.
In late 2010, the results of browser malware testing undertaken by NSS labs were published. The study looked at the browser's capability to prevent users following socially engineered links of a malicious nature and downloading malicious software. It did not test the browser's ability to block malicious web pages or code.
According to NSS, Internet Explorer 9 blocked 99% of malware downloads compared to 90% for Internet Explorer 8 that does not have SmartScreen Application Reputation feature. In early 2010, similar tests gave Internet Explorer 8 an 85% passing grade, the 5% improvement being attributed to "continued investments in improved data intelligence". By comparison, the same research showed that Chrome 6, Firefox 3.6 and Safari 5, which all rely on Google's Safe Browsing Service, scored 6%, 19% and 11%, respectively. Opera 10 scored 0%, failing to "detect any of the socially engineered malware samples".
Manufacturers of other browsers criticized the test, focusing upon the lack of transparency of URLs tested and the lack of consideration of layered security additional to the browser, with Google commenting that "The report itself clearly states that it does not evaluate browser security related to vulnerabilities in plug-ins or the browsers themselves", and Opera commenting that the results appeared "odd that they received no results from our data providers" and that "social malware protection is not an indicator of overall browser security".
Internet Explorer 9's dual-pronged approach to blocking access to malicious URLs—SmartScreen Filter to block bad URLs, and Application Reputation to detect untrustworthy executables—provides the best socially engineered malware blocking of any stable browser version. Internet Explorer 9 blocked 92 percent of malware with its URL-based filtering, and 100 percent with Application-based filtering enabled. Internet Explorer 8, in second place, blocked 90 percent of malware. Tied for third place were Safari 5, Chrome 10, and Firefox 4, each blocking just 13 percent. Bringing up the rear was Opera 11, blocking just 5 percent of malware.
User agent stringEdit
Due to technical improvements of the browser, the Internet Explorer developer team decided to change the user agent (UA) string. The
Mozilla/4.0 token was changed to
Mozilla/5.0 to match the user agent strings of other recent browsers and to indicate that Internet Explorer 9 is more interoperable than previous versions. The
Trident/4.0 token was likewise changed to
Trident/5.0. Because long, extended UA strings cause compatibility issues, Internet Explorer 9's default UA string does not include .NET identifiers or other "pre-platform" and "post-platform" tokens that were sent by previous versions of the browser. The extended string is still available to websites via the browser's .userAgent property, and is sent when a web page is displayed in Compatibility View mode.
|Operating system||IE7 compatibility view?||User agent string||Extended string?|
|Windows 7/Windows Server 2008 R2||Yes||
|Windows 7/Windows Server 2008 R2||No||
|Windows Vista/Windows Server 2008||Yes||
|Windows Vista/Windows Server 2008||No||
In Internet Explorer 9, the extensibility mechanisms for Browser Helper Objects (BHOs) and toolbars remain the same. Not loading BHOs or toolbars improves startup time, but limits the ability of developers to augment the user experience through these extensibility mechanisms.
Noting that according to Net Applications, Internet Explorer's share fell to 56% in January 2011, the BBC quoted Microsoft's claims that Internet Explorer 9 is "playing catch up, but it leapfrogs everything" and "you are seeing innovation after innovation that other folks are catching up to."
In The Register, Tim Anderson said Internet Explorer 9 was Microsoft's answer to the fall in Internet Explorer's market share (from 68.5% in July 2008 to 46% in January 2011, according to StatCounter). He felt it was "fast and polished", a "remarkable improvement" over version 8, noting "superb" development tools and "real and significant" support for HTML5, though "not as comprehensive as the company's publicity implies." However, configuration options are "strewn all over the user interface", and the "distinctive and excellent" ActiveX filtering and Tracking Protection features might be "perplexing for less technical users." Having reached release candidate status eleven months after it was originally announced at the March 2010 MIX conference, "Microsoft's development process is too slow." The new version is "a good modern browser" but "the competition is moving faster."
Desktop Market Share
|— March 2023 via Net Applications[note 1][note 2]|
|Internet Explorer 8||0.01%|
|Internet Explorer 9||0.02%|
|Internet Explorer 10||0.01%|
|Internet Explorer 11||1.28%|
Microsoft Edge excluded from the list.
On its first day of commercial availability, Internet Explorer 9 was downloaded over 2.35 million times.
On 31 October 2011, PC World ranked Internet Explorer 9 as #19 on its 100 Best Products of 2011. The other web browser listed was Maxthon 3.1, a hybrid browser based on Google Chrome and Internet Explorer. A review of IE9 beta in PC World noted a performance improvement over IE8.
Internet Explorer 9 requires Windows Vista SP2, Windows Server 2008 SP2 or Windows 7 at the minimum. Both IA-32 and x64 builds are available. Support for Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 was dropped. It is the last version of Internet Explorer that supports Windows Vista SP2, Windows Server 2008 SP2, Windows 7 RTM and Windows Server 2008 R2 RTM; as the following version, Internet Explorer 10, only supports Windows 7 SP1 or later and Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 or later.
At the February 2011 Mobile World Congress, Steve Ballmer announced a major update to Windows Phone due towards the end of 2011, which will include a mobile version of Internet Explorer 9 that supports the same web standards (e.g. HTML5) and hardware accelerated graphics as the PC version. Microsoft demonstrated hardware-accelerated performance of a fish-tank demo using a development build of mobile Internet Explorer 9 compared with slow performance on the November 2010 iOS 4.2.1 RTM of Safari on iPhone 4.
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If you are licensed to use Microsoft Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008, or Windows Server 2008 R2 software (for which this supplement is applicable) (the "software"), you may use this supplement.
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- Official website
- Beauty of the Web: Showcasing Internet Explorer – a Microsoft website that showcases Internet Explorer in general
- Internet Explorer Test Drive – a Microsoft website that features web browser benchmark tests
- Build My Pinned Site – a Microsoft website that teaches how to use site pinning capabilities of Internet Explorer 9 and later