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Photos: Internet Explorer 8 RC 1

<p>As Microsoft counts down the final days to when it feels that Internet Explorer 8 is ready for public use, you can take a look at what's coming in this slide show of IE 8's first Release Candidate.</p>

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Seth Rosenblatt

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1 of 9 Seth Rosenblatt/ CNET Download.com

Microsoft's Web standards work-around

Compatability View is a toggle button that appears on the toolbar when some elements of a Web site don't render properly. It automatically forces a change of rendering engine from IE 8 to IE 7 to keep the page looking as it should.

Here, you can see that although Microsoft's own home page views correctly, Google.com and even Download.com both get the Compatibility View treatment as indicated by the presence of the broken-page icon.

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2 of 9 Seth Rosenblatt/ CNET Download.com

Customize your Compatibility View

One of the new features in the Release Candidate that wasn't in IE 8 beta 2 was the ability to tailor the Compatibility View list to your requirements. Users can configure all pages to render with the older engine, turn it off completely, or force-add sites on their own.

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3 of 9 Seth Rosenblatt/ CNET Download.com

Trace-free browsing

Internet Explorer 8 brings InPrivate browsing to IE fans. This feature became the must-have feature of 2008, as Firefox, Google Chrome, and others made hay of its introduction--even though the technology is old. Like its competitors, InPrivate turns off memory caching, cookie saving, and other Web surfing traces that can be left on your computer.

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4 of 9 Seth Rosenblatt/ CNET Download.com

InPrivate Filtering

This small but useful change in the release candidate brings InPrivate's filtering list into the regular, cache-and-cookie activated Internet Explorer. It's an added measure of security, in theory, but in practice it's a bit hard to define what effect it actually has.

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5 of 9 Seth Rosenblatt/ CNET Download.com

Manage your add-ons from one pane

Internet Explorer 8 includes an expanded add-on management window from which you can adjust Accelerators, Web Slices, Toolbars, and other add-ons.

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6 of 9 Seth Rosenblatt/ CNET Download.com

IE 8 makes accessing Accelerators easy

IE 8 introduces Accelerators, a productivity-enhancement add-on genre that hopes to speed up repetitive tasks such as blogging or searching for friends on Facebook.

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7 of 9 Seth Rosenblatt/ CNET Download.com

Installing Web Slices

The Web Slice add-on for the site that you're interested in "slicing" must be installed before you can choose to activate it. Clicking the green button that appears after a site-specific Web Slice has been activated lets you configure the sliced information, but since users have to navigate to a Microsoft page to activate the feature in the first place, it's an awkward workflow.

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8 of 9 Seth Rosenblatt/ CNET Download.com

A Slice of Traffic

The Web Slice for Live Traffic struck me as a great idea, but the execution of it is lacking. Being able to receive real-time traffic updates to a bookmark is fine, but when the map that appears requires another click to drill down to more detailed information, you know that there's more that could be done with this.

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9 of 9 Seth Rosenblatt/ CNET Download.com

Digg, sliced

The Digg Web Slice functions much better than the Live Traffic one, with a simple list of headlines, links, and number of diggs, all appearing in a drop-down list.

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