Internet Explorer 8 release candidate ready to download

The release candidate of the latest Microsoft web browser, Internet Explorer 8 (IE8), is now available for download.

The new release has a number of security features, including a new SmartScreen filter that will prompt users when a website is not considered safe.

Announcing the release, Microsoft said that IE8 could help users to protect themselves against malware or any other malicious software. "While we recommend all users enable SmartScreen, you can enable or disable it at any time. You can also help improve the web for everyone by reporting suspected malicious sites through this tool."

Another feature, InPrivate browsing, helps users to protect their data when away from their usual computers. Once selected, the 'Browse with InPrivate' option prevents usernames, passwords, temporary files, data, cookies and other information from being saved by a browser - a handy feature in Internet cafes, for example. Another feature, Domain Highlighting, can help users recognise when a URL or web address may be misleading.

IE8 also has a compatibility option, that let's users check whether a site will work correctly on the browser.

In the official Microsoft blog, Dean Hachamovitch, IE general manager said: "The call to action now is for the community to download the Release Candidate, test your sites and services and software with the product, make any changes necessary for the best possible customer experience with IE8, and let us know about your experience."

IE8 will work with Windows XP with Service Pack 2, and Windows Vista.