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IE11 on Windows 7, running an HTML 5 demo that illustrates browser performance.

Microsoft this morning is releasing the latest version of its web browser, Internet Explorer 11, for the most widely used version of its operating system, Windows 7.

IE11 had previously been released in preview form, but with the official release today, the company will start the process of rolling out the new browser to Windows 7 users worldwide. IE 11 will be distributed to Windows 7 customers via the company’s automatic update mechanism in Windows “in the weeks ahead,” the company says.

It’s also available for download manually starting today.

IE11, originally available  for Windows 8.1, promises a variety of speed and performance improvements in addition to better standards support and compatibility with touch-screen devices. Microsoft points to JavaScript performance tests to say that IE11 is 30% faster than competing browsers.

This release is important for Microsoft due in part to the more than 46 percent market share still enjoyed by Windows 7 on desktop computers worldwide. The interface for IE 11 on Windows 7 is similar to the desktop version in Windows 8.1.

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