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Internet Explorer 11 for Windows 7 hits Release Preview, but no tab syncing like Windows 8.1

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Microsoft's latest Release Preview of Internet Explorer 11 for Windows 7 brings most of the improvements that the company is building into its Windows 8.1 browser. Available to download today, the preview includes new F12 developer tools, WebGL support, and improved JavaScript performance. While the release today is just a preview, Microsoft is aiming to ship a full version by the end of the year.

Most of the changes are not cosmetic though, as Microsoft is sticking with a similar look for Internet Explorer 11 on Windows 7. One big change in the Windows 8.1 version is the ability to sync tabs between devices, similar to Google's Chrome Sync option. Unfortunately, Microsoft is not building this support into the Windows 7 version. "We use the Microsoft Accounts to sync those settings, there's no Microsoft Account on Windows 7," explains Microsoft's senior director of IE marketing, Roger Capriotti, in an interview with The Verge. "It's something that's an interesting thing to think about, and it's definitely something I'd love to see in the product but right now there's no plan to put that in the product."

"We've been very focused, laser focused, on building the best tablet browser out there."

Microsoft claims it has improved JavaScript performance on IE11 by nearly 10 percent over Internet Explorer 10 running on Windows 7. While the underlying browser engine is obviously being improved for both Windows 8.1 and Windows 7, Microsoft has been concentrating its efforts on touch. "We've been very focused, laser focused, on building the best tablet browser out there," says Capriotti. Alongside the Release Preview for Windows 7, a new "browser you loved to hate" video is being released in a fresh attempt to convince web users that Internet Explorer isn't as bad as it used to be. Microsoft is using Windows 8.1 and IE11 as the latest tools to tempt users back, but Google is also prepping some improvements of its own. With Chrome apps and touch-friendly features for future versions of the Chrome browser, Microsoft could face even more pressure on its browser efforts than ever before.