There are two versions of Internet Explorer 10 in Windows 8—a Metro app and a desktop app. Both share the same rendering engine and, unsurprisingly, perform identically on the same hardware. The only difference is UI, and the fact that Metro’s IE will not run plug-ins like Adobe Flash or Microsoft’s own Silverlight.

To reflect the distinction between the Metro version of IE and the desktop version, both Metro and the desktop retain separate default browser settings—you can run Firefox or Chrome as your default browser on the desktop and stick with IE in Metro, but you can also specify desktop browsers as the default Metro browser, meaning that links clicked in Metro apps like Mail will dump you to the desktop to open rather than stay in the Metro interface. Oddly, if you decide not to use IE as your default Metro browser, the IE completely disappears from Metro, and it takes a trip into the desktop Internet Settings control panel to re-enable it.

The Metro version of IE is a minimalist, touch-centric affair—the address bar is located at the bottom of the screen, and will disappear from view when it’s not being used. While typing in the address bar, IE will display a tiled list of your most frequently visited sites, as well as sites that you have “pinned” using the address bar’s pin button—these pinned sites will also show up on the Start screen. The address bar also has the requisite Back, Forward, and Refresh buttons, as well as a Tools button that will let you search the current page or open the page in the desktop version of IE (the desktop version contains no such button to open pages in Metro mode, at least for now).

The most consistent way to bring up the address bar on a PC is by using the Windows + Z keyboard shortcut that we discussed earlier, which will also bring up Metro IE’s tab interface, which displays big, clickable thumbnails of all your open tabs. You can also open new tabs, clean up your tabs (which closes all but the active tab), or open a new InPrivate browsing tab, which is clearly marked with a blue “InPrivate” icon.

The desktop version of IE looks more or less like IE9, though of course the UI hasn’t necessarily been finalized at this point. One of the only noticeable differences is the presence of a Metro-style scrollbar on pages that require one. Also new is an “Install new versions automatically” checkbox in the About Internet Explorer page, reinforcing Microsoft’s desire to get and keep Windows users on the most current IE version their operating system supports. There’s no evidence that Microsoft plans to move to the rapid-release cycle that Google and Mozilla have both adopted (such a decision would give enterprise IT managers apoplexy), but this sort of functionality would theoretically make it possible.

Benchmarks

Now, let’s peek under the hood and get a few performance numbers. According to these basic tests, IE10 is faster than IE9 by a noticeable margin, but it can’t quite catch up to the current versions of Firefox or Chrome. These benchmarks were all run on the Dell Latitude E6410 that served as my main Windows 8 machine for this review.

Kraken JavaScript Benchmark 1.1

v8 JavaScript Benchmark v6

Interestingly, all browsers performed the v8 benchmark slightly faster in Windows 8. The difference isn’t huge—just a few hundred points in both cases—but it is both consistent and measureable, and I thought it interesting that the OS update slightly improved the performance of these third-party programs. Kraken scores were consistent across Windows 7 and Windows 8.

The New Task Manager Windows Recovery Environment and Secure Boot
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  • Andrew.a.cunningham - Saturday, March 10, 2012 - link

    Yes it will. Reply
  • poisonsnak - Saturday, March 10, 2012 - link

    As Andrew said it will run fine on AMD hardware. I've been running the Developer Preview since September on my Phenom II X6 1100T & Radeon 6970, which I then (side-graded?) to an FX-8150, and then upgraded to the Consumer Preview.

    The only BSOD or crash I've ever had was when I tried to install the AMD USB filter driver under the developer preview - it warned me the driver was unlikely to work, I gave it my usual "I know better than you" and promptly got to see the fancy new Win8 BSOD screen.
    Reply
  • rickmoranisftw - Monday, March 12, 2012 - link

    Haters gonna hate man. I'm sorry people have blown up on you for no reason. Reply
  • Andrew.a.cunningham - Tuesday, March 13, 2012 - link

    It's cool - mostly I'm just confused about it, but the constructive comments have far outnumbered the trollish ones at this point. :-)

    Either way, I'm working on getting an AMD system for future use.
    Reply
  • kmmatney - Friday, March 9, 2012 - link

    Don't worry about it. He tested enough systems, and you can make a guess as where AMD would stand in those systems. I agree that a lot of people use AMD - it's all I buy for friends and family as the Microcenter deals are too hard to pass up. I don't think it effects the review at all - Windows 8 won't look any different on an AMD system. Reply
  • rickmoranisftw - Monday, March 12, 2012 - link

    I too just created an account today. Ive been reading anandtech for a while now but havent bothered to make an account. But today i had too.

    There is absolutely no reason for you or anyone else to blow up on Andrew for only using intel systems for this review, a review of a preview at that, when his reasoning was extremely simple. He just didnt have an AMD system on hand. Who are you to blame anyone of being biased when you know nothing about them.

    I'm disappointed that i didn't read these comments until today (monday) or i would have commented sooner. I was so pissed off after reading these comments i messed up two different captcha's when making my account just now. I hope you're just saying this to try to feel some sense of superiority over someone who actually has a job on a real tech site, and not because you actually think andrew is that biased toward intel. Because that's just stupid.
    Reply
  • Andrew.a.cunningham - Tuesday, March 13, 2012 - link

    Thanks. :-) Reply
  • AeroRob - Friday, March 9, 2012 - link

    I don't see how anyone who's spent so much as five minutes along with Windows 8 on a normal desktop computer--let alone hours--could say that the new start menu system is even remotely an improvement on the old system. It is unequivocally worse. It creates a jarring, disjointed experience, with an interface that is less versatile and consequently makes simple tasks more difficult.

    Why must I jump through hoops just to shut my computer down? Or if I'm not sure Windows considers what I'm looking for an app or a setting, why do I have to do multiple searches, when previous versions of Windows would show me all the possibilities?

    It would be so simple for Microsoft to solve all these numerous (yet minor) annoyances: give a legacy desktop option. Just one little checkbox to where a user can specify that they would rather boot into the desktop than the Metro BS, and to restore the start menu to a Windows 7 state. You can't tell me that would be difficult in the least, but MS would rather be obstinate jerks, trying to force users into a "new experience" that they don't want, don't like, and that actively works to make their workflow more inefficient.

    Change isn't a bad thing, but only when that change is an improvement. Going from the XP start menu to Vista's added functionality and made things easier. Going from 7 to 8, though, is a step backward, and users shouldn't have to suffer just because MS wants to push their little pet project.
    Reply
  • jabber - Friday, March 9, 2012 - link

    I'm glad I'm not the only one. I find myself having to move left to right across the screen to do stuff that a simple rightclick/clcik would do previously.

    Having to use the keyboard for stuff that a mouse click did previously as I cant work out if there is a mouse equivalent or if it exists at all.

    No visual clues as to how to use it. Just clicking on all the empty space in the hope something useful happens.

    I see one thing makes the desktop bit shrink to a small size in the middle of the screen. I have no idea what that is for.

    I think Metro is fine for folks that have never used a computer for real day to day office work that brings home the bacon. You know the types.
    Reply
  • AeroRob - Friday, March 9, 2012 - link

    Assuming MS doesn't reverse course on their "Abandon the Start Menu" decision, hopefully by time the RTM version rolls out, they will include some sort of tutorial the first time you switch into desktop mode.

    Really, though, the whole ordeal reminds me of when Apple made the iPod Shuffle without any buttons on the physical device, and insisted on making users learn a sort of Morse code on the remote to accomplish anything. You could argue that a single button makes things "simplified," but that doesn't prevent it from being an inane, unproductive input method.
    Reply

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