Microsoft on Monday released a near-final "release candidate" version of Internet Explorer 8, the next version of its Web browser.
The software maker plans to say more on its Web site around noon, but, as noted by enthusiast site Neowin, the code is already available from Microsoft's download center.
With IE 8, Microsoft is hoping to regain some lost ground by adding features such as private browsing, improved security, and a new type of add-ons, called accelerators.
On the security front, Microsoft is adding a cross-site scripting filter, as well as protections against a type of attack known as clickjacking.
In an interview, IE General Manager Dean Hachamovitch said there will be little change between the release candidate and the final version, though he declined to say when the final version will be released.
"The ecosystem should expect the final candidate to behave like the release candidate," Hachamovitch said.
Internet Explorer 8 will work with Windows XP (Service Pack 2 or later) and Windows Vista. A version of IE 8 is also being built into Windows 7.
However, the IE code in Windows 7 is a pre-release candidate version.
"Windows 7 enables unique features and functionality in Internet Explorer 8 including Windows Touch and Jump Lists which require additional product tests to ensure we are providing the best Windows experience for our customers," the software maker said in a statement. "Microsoft will continue to update the version of Internet Explorer 8 running on Windows 7 as the development cycles of Windows 7 progress."