Internet Explorer 9 Launch, All The Information You Need

Martin Brinkmann
Mar 14, 2011
Updated • Aug 30, 2018
Internet Explorer

Microsoft launched the final version of Internet Explorer 9 on March 14, 2011 at 9PM Pacific Time. This guide provides you with all the information needed about the launch and the new version of the default system browser of Windows.

Internet Explorer 9 was released for 32-bit and 64-bit editions of Windows Vista SP2, Windows 7 and the server products Windows Server 2008 SP2 and Windows Server 2008 R2.

The minimum system requirements are 512 Megabytes of RAM, a computer with a 1 Gigahertz processor and 70 to 200 Megabytes of hard drive space depending on the version used.

The 32-bit client operating systems require 70 Megabytes, the 64-bit systems 120 Megabytes. Those are the minimum system requirements, Internet Explorer 9 will run better on faster systems with more cpu cores and computer memory.

Update: Microsoft released Internet Explorer 10 and Internet Explorer 11, and Microsoft Edge in the meantime. Downloads are provided on this Microsoft website.

Internet Explorer 9

internet explorer 9

Please note that IE9 will replace previous installations of the Internet Explorer browser on the system. (Check out How To Uninstall Windows Internet Explorer 9 if you want to remove IE9 from the system at a later point in time, and why you should install Internet Explorer as well).

Windows users who want to upgrade to Internet Explorer 9 should update the operating system via Windows Update, and the graphics card driver as well to make sure the system is best prepared for the browser.

Lets take a look at some of the core improvements over previous Internet Explorer versions.

Most noticeable is probably the improved performance of the web browser. Web pages load faster which can be attributed to improvements to the rendering engine. The speed gain is noticeable when loading websites, playing games or other media in the browser. Basically, any high taxing task benefits from performance improvements.

Microsoft has added full hardware acceleration to IE9 which improves rendering of advanced graphics and effects. While it may or may not be the fastest browser, it is a fact that Microsoft has pushed the limits and has moved the performance of Internet Explorer 9 near that of other fast web browsers.

Microsoft has changed the design of the browser which uses less space at the top. Tabs have been moved next to the address bar by default, with options to move them to their own bar below the address bar if needed.

internet explorer ui

New security and privacy related features have been added to the Internet browser. Tracking Protection can be used to block tracking cookies and advertisements by loading third party lists or creating custom lists. ActiveX Filtering prevents the execution of specific scripts or functions on a website. Both new features are accessible via Tools > Safety in the menu. (check out Internet Explorer 9 ActiveX Filtering: Fix Flash, Java And Other Plugins if you cannot play Flash videos and games if you have enabled ActiveX Filtering in the browser, and Internet Explorer Tracking Protection Lists to evaluate protection lists before you install them)

Additional new features include an improved download manager, the ability to pin websites to the Windows 7 Taskbar, enhanced tabs, a new blank tab page, the notification bar that alerts the user, search that has been moved to the address bar and the add-on performance advisor.

A full list of what's new features is available at the official Internet Explorer 9 website. I'd also recommend you check out the release notes which list compatibility issues and other issues.

Internet Explorer 9 has a few usability issues. The menu bar is not shown by default, and it is only possible to display it by pressing the Alt key. There is however no direct option to enable it permanently. Users who want to do that need to add an entry to the Windows Registry.

Open the Registry with Windows-r, type regedit, and hit enter.

Navigate to the key

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Internet Explorer

Some users may need to create the key Internet Explorer. This is done with a right-click on Microsoft and the selection of New > Key.

Right-click Internet Explorer, select New > Key and name it Main. Right-click Main afterwards, select New > Dword (32-bit) Value. Enter AlwaysShowMenus and press return. Double-click the new key and set it to 1 in the prompt.

always show menus

Restart Internet Explorer 9 and press Alt once. The menu bar is shown and it will be permanently available from that moment on. While we are at it. If you would like to see the menu bar above all user interface elements but the title do the following:

  • Switch to Internet Explorer\Toolbar\WebBrowser
  • Right-click Webbrowser and select New > Dword (32-bit) Value.
  • Enter ITBar7Position and double-click the new entry.
  • Enter 1 as the value and click ok.


The final Registry tweak increases the concurrent connections of Internet Explorer 9 which can speed up the website access noticeably.

Go to the key

HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\MAIN\FeatureControl\

Look for the subkey


double-click the value explorer.exe and set it to a. This sets the number of simultenous downloads of Internet Explorer to 10.

You may need to create the keys if they do not exist.

Internet Explorer 9 Downloads

Internet Explorer 9 has been officially released. Interested users can download the web browser from the Beauty of the Web website. It is not yet listed under Windows Update but will become available there as well.

Should you update?

Vista and Windows 7 users should generally update their version of Internet Explorer to Internet Explorer 9. The browser has improved in security, privacy and speed. Even if IE is not the default browser, it may be beneficial since several third party products make use of the rendering engine.

Some users, those who run apps specifically designed for a previous IE version may want to run tests before they upgrade the browser. These users should download the IE9 Blocker Toolkit to prevent the installation via Windows Update.

Check out my Internet Explorer 9 tops and flops.

Other Internet Explorer news and tips

Display Internet Explorer 9 Menu Bar Always, And On Top

Get More Space For Tabs In Internet Explorer 9

IE9 decimates other browsers for socially-engineered malware protection in report

Internet Explorer 9 Tweaker

Internet Explorer 9 Launch, All The Information You Need
Article Name
Internet Explorer 9 Launch, All The Information You Need
Microsoft is preparing to launch the final version of Internet Explorer 9 today at 9PM Pacific Time. This guide gives you all the information that you need to be prepared for the launch.
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  1. Bob Arnett said on April 12, 2011 at 8:35 pm

    Found your tips quite informative. I do have a question, however. Would you know of a way that the inactive tabs in Internet Explorer 9 could be recolored in order to be more readable? I’m finding it quite difficult to find the desired tab when I have several open.

  2. Chuckles said on March 29, 2011 at 4:10 pm

    The connections tweak is wrong, what you describe has “explorer.exe” there which is Windows Explorer (the Windows shell), not Internet Explorer (iexplore.exe). So the real connections tweak is at HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Internet Settings, change the MaxConnectionsPerServer AND MaxConnectionsPer1_0Server settings there.

  3. Bradley said on March 19, 2011 at 11:10 pm

    Cheers for the article, but this registry hack isn’t necessary. Right-clicking on the title bar and clicking ‘Menu bar’ does the same thing without the hassle.

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on March 19, 2011 at 11:11 pm

      Bradley, this option is not available on all versions of Internet Explorer 9. I for instance do not have the menu bar entry in that context menu.

  4. Paul(us) said on March 17, 2011 at 5:09 pm

    Today the Internet Explorer Administration Kit 9.0.8112.16421 is launced.

    The Internet Explorer Administration Kit (IEAK) 9 will simplify the creation, deployment and management of customized IE 9 packages. IEAK 9 can be used to configure the out-of-box Internet Explorer 9 experience or to manage user settings after Internet Explorer 9 deployment.


    # Distribution options. You can specify how you want to distribute Internet Explorer – either using a product CD or the local area network (LAN). You can also create a configuration-only package to update Internet Explorer settings without installing code on your customers’ or users’ computers.
    # Custom components. You can include in-house applications and other programs in the custom package to distribute to your users and computers.
    # Setup experience. Depending on your license type, you can set the level of user interaction during the installation and specify settings for the Microsoft Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool, the default browser, and Internet Explorer updates.
    # Search experience. You can customize the list of search providers for your users.
    # Browser experience. You can customize where your users are directed for support; the display of home pages and a welcome page; the list populating Favorites, Links, and Web Feeds; and toolbar buttons.
    # Administrator-approved ActiveX controls. You can specify the controls to run while locking out all others, which reduces overhead and troubleshooting issues. The approved set of Microsoft ActiveX controls can be enabled and administered dynamically by using the options in Additional Settings in IEAK Profile Manager.
    # Automatic Configuration. You can automatically refresh your users’ Internet Explorer settings at regular intervals, or every time the browser is started.

  5. Seppo said on March 15, 2011 at 10:12 pm

    And apparently it was a bug in Beta, corrected in RC.

  6. Seppo said on March 15, 2011 at 10:07 pm

    Exactly so. I had the registry-tweak ready but alas it was unnecessary. Looks like someone has been listening(reading)…

  7. lookmann said on March 15, 2011 at 5:55 am

    hi martin,
    while eagerly awaiting IE 9 final download. i came across this article. well, i have something to say on menu bar. i desparately needed this. once i accidentally RIGHT-CLICKed NEAR THE CURRENT TAB. and there was a drop-down menu, with a menu bar box unchecked. i checked the box and bingo! menu bar was there. permanently. instead registry tweak, this can be done . any one try & confirm?

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on March 15, 2011 at 11:09 pm

      Lookmann, that’s interesting. I do have that context menu, but not a menubar entry.

  8. Paul(us) said on March 14, 2011 at 10:36 pm

    Today released TweakIE9 in a x86/x64 version.
    Also great on this side is all the manuals you can get.

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on March 14, 2011 at 10:47 pm

      Thanks Paulus, very helpful.

  9. Alain Zola said on March 14, 2011 at 8:36 pm

    Dear Mr. Brinkmann,

    I no longer need to click on my G(ouru)hacks bookmark.

    Your most excellent, punctual and pertinent web page is now my home page and I would not think of starting a session without checking first with Ghacks.

    Thanks for your gracious help.

    Alain Zola

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on March 14, 2011 at 8:55 pm

      Alain, thanks so much, I really appreciated your support.

  10. Ahmad said on March 14, 2011 at 7:10 pm

    Very nice article. Thanks for detailing all stuff here in one article.

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