Microsoft has made Internet Explorer 8 Release Candidate 1 available for download.
The new browser can be used from Windows XP Service Pack 2 to Windows Vista. A version of the browser is also being developed for the forthcoming Windows 7.
Microsoft said the release candidate would differ little from the final version, but has not said when the final version will be available for download.
Microsoft said Internet Explorer 8 is more secure and quicker to use. Firefox is regarded by many browser experts to be quicker than current version Internet Explorer. But Google claims its Chrome browser is faster than anyone's, although Opera disputes this claim, and said its recently updated mobile surfing offering wins hands down.