At 12:00AM EST Tuesday I was sitting in front on my computer eagerly awaiting my install of Internet Explorer 9 RTW. After several months of beta testing and even more months of testing the Platform Previews for IE 9, I was thoroughly excited about finally getting my hands on the final product. In fact, I wasn’t the only one downloading IE 9 at that time. Some 2.35 million users downloaded IE 9 in just the first 24 hours of its release.

There’s good reason for those many downloads. Microsoft has made some great strides with IE 9, making it the best version of IE available to date. Microsoft’s huge bet on HTML 5 is sure to pay off even if it takes another five years for HTML 5 to become fully recognized and standardized. What this means is that for once Microsoft is finally adhering to web standards and producing a product (especially Internet Explorer) that has almost no negative feedback or comments on. In fact almost everyone I’ve talked to has completely enjoyed using IE 9 as their new, default browser.

Not only is IE 9 becoming more standards compliant, but Microsoft has offered more security features to stack on top of the already secure IE 8. Active X filtering enables users to creates lists of websites to block or allow streaming media, such as Adobe Flash. This is a very useful tool for security users because many of the attacks against Internet Explorer involve Active X in some sort of manner.

Microsoft didn’t stop there though. To add with it’s already good performance with HTML 5 and CSS 3 implementations, Microsoft work hard in creating the first truly hardware accelerated web browser. What hardware acceleration allows for is for both the CPU and GPU to be used during page rendering, which includes anything from loading a basic page to playing a video or a game on the Internet. According to Microsoft only 10% of total PC power is utilized through the processor, which is how traditional browsing took place (IE 8, Chrome, Firefox, etc.). However, by including the GPU with hardware acceleration, the web browser is able to ascertain the remaining 90% of your PCs total power.

There’s many other features that make IE 9 a great upgrade from previous versions and I’ll be writing up a review shortly. If you’re currently interested in downloading IE 9 RTW (Release to Web), you can do so by visiting Beauty of the Web.