Microsoft today announced the release of the latest version of its web browser, Internet Explorer 11 for Windows 7. Following in the footsteps of IE 11 for Windows 8.1, the Windows 7 version of the browser includes improved standards support, performance, security, privacy, and reliability.

"With Internet Explorer 11 we continue delivering the best performance for real world Web sites on your Windows device," Microsoft's Rob Mauceri and Sandeep Singhal write in a new post to IEBlog. "For developers, IE 11 brings increased support for modern Web standards powered by hardware acceleration to enable a new class of compelling applications and fast and fluid Web browsing. IE 11 adds support for over 25 new or improved modern Web standards beyond IE 10."

While IE 11 for Windows 8.1 provides an amazing touch-first user interface, getting the browser to the more traditional Windows 7 is a big deal, given that 55 percent of Windows users are using Windows 7 or 8.x. So for the most part, IE 11 for Windows 7 delivers the same browsing experience you get with the desktop version of IE 11 in Windows 8.1. But there are a few differences to be aware of:

Beyond that, of course, IE 11 for Windows 7 is both visually and functionality different from the Metro version of IE 11 that's included with Windows 8.1.

Video extensions. You will need to download plug-ins to support various video extensions in the browser.

Enhanced Protected Mode. IE 11 for Windows 7 does not support the Enhanced Protected Mode security features present in IE 10/11 for Windows 8.x.

SPDY support. Unlike IE 11 for Windows 8, IE 11 for Windows 7 does not support Google's SPDY protocol.

Internet Explorer 11 for Windows 7 is available immediately in 95 languages for free download. Microsoft will also begin updating existing Windows 7 installs to the new browser through Windows Update in the weeks ahead, with those who installed the IE 11 previews getting the final release first.

Corporations that wish to block IE 11 for Windows 7 can of course do so: The Toolkit to Disable Automatic Delivery of Internet Explorer 11 is now available as well.

Here's a short video talking up the release of Internet Explorer 11.