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If you wanted to try out Internet Explorer 10 but are holding off on Windows 8, Microsoft is answering your call.

The Redmond software giant today released an IE10 preview for Windows 7 users. IE10 was previously only available on Windows 8.

Last month, Microsoft blogged about this and followed up on its promise of a mid-November IE10 preview release for Windows 7. There’s a new follow-up post up today about the preview, with Rob Mauceri, Internet Explorer Group Program Manager, writing this:

In Windows 8, we reimagined the browser with IE10. We designed and built IE10 to be the best way to experience the Web on Windows. With the IE10 Release Preview for Windows 7 consumers can now enjoy a fast and fluid Web with the updated IE10 engine on their Windows 7 devices. The release preview of IE10 on Windows 7 is available for download today.

IE10 on Windows 8 brings an entirely new browsing experience and set of capabilities to the Web, such as a new touch first browsing experience and full screen UI for your sites, security improvements that offer the best protection against the most common threats on the Web, improved performance, and support for the HTML5 and CSS3 standards developers need.

With this release preview, Windows 7 customers receive all of the performance, security, and under-hood changes that enable a stellar Web experience. IE10 Release Preview also sends the “Do Not Track” signal to Web sites by default to help consumers protect their privacy.

It’ll be interesting to see the response to IE10 on Windows 7, especially since IE10 was designed with tablets and touchscreens in mind.

There’s a graph in the post that demonstrates how fast IE10 really is. Using the Mandelbrot test drive function, which shows how fast browsers can calculate iterations per second, IE10 is on average over twice as fast as Chrome and about 20 percent faster than Firefox. The calculations were done on the same laptop with identical hardware.

Users can test out the speed of the new browser with the IE test drive site.

As quoted above, the blog post touts IE10’s “Do Not Track” function that is set as default. Microsoft’s decision to prevent IE10 users from being tracked online, by default, received an extraordinary response from some of the world’s largest advertisers in the form of a letter to the Redmond company sent last month from the Association of National Advertisers, objecting to to the plan.

The dispute is remarkable in part because Microsoft is nominally a member of the Association of National Advertisers. It’s also amazing to see IE — one of the programs that was at the center of Microsoft’s U.S. antitrust case — now being used by the company to advocate consumer rights.

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