Forget June: Microsoft already pushing IE9 via Windows Update

Summary:On April 6, I began receiving reports from users who had not installed the Release Candidate (RC) or the beta of IE9 that they were seeing IE 9 show up via Windows Update -- something that wasn't supposed to be happening until late June.

Microsoft officials said recently that the company was not going to push Internet Explorer (IE) 9 to users who hadn't tested its latest browser until late June.

On April 6, however, I began receiving reports from users who had not installed the Release Candidate (RC) or the beta of IE9 that they were seeing IE 9 show up via Windows Update -- something that wasn't supposed to be happening yet.

Some users were none too happy about this, given they had been expecting Microsoft to push the update to them -- and their users (if they are administrators for larger networks) -- for a couple more months. (One less disgruntled user did quip: "Better early than never. Now where's my NoDo update?")

Microsoft has marked the update as "important," said users who began seeing it today. It is being pushed to Windows 7, Vista, Windows Server 2008, and Windows Server 2008 R2 users, according to reports I'm getting.

The Microsoft Knowledge Base Support site does not mention that Microsoft changed plans and decided to start pushing it two months earlier than expected.

I've asked Microsoft what gives. Why is the company pushing IE 9 now instead of late June? No word back yet, other than a spokesperson noting "as is standard, IE9 is available on DLC (Microsoft Download Center) for users to download it manually."

The people from whom I've heard so far are not manually downloading it; they are having it pushed to them. The "published" date on the Windows Update versions is "yesterday" (April 5).

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I'm curious who else out there is seeing IE 9 pushed via Windows Update, Microsoft Update and/or Windows Server Update Services. Meanwhile, there is an IE 9 blocking tool out there for admins who do not want IE 9 made available to their Windows users.

Update: So here's the explanation from Microsoft. When Microsoft officials said in late March that "Internet Explorer 9 will not be broadly rolled out on Windows Update until the end of June," that didn't mean that Microsoft wouldn't roll it out beforehand to those who weren't testing IE9.

The March 29 blog post also stated, "Windows Update for all our Windows customers will start sometime next month and by the end of June we will have a great sense of the enthusiasm on Windows 7 for IE9." So those of us who interpreted the first sentence as meaning it wouldn't go to Windows users broadly until late June should have read the whole post (twice,perhaps).Still, there is/was no exact date in the Microsoft post as to when it would begin being pushed out to all Windows users, creating confusion.

A Microsoft spokesperson also said that users who are encountering IE9 on Windows Update are those who are scanning for new updates. If/when they do this, IE 9 will be "offered" to them. Users still must opt to download it once it is "offered."

Topics: Operating Systems, Browser, Microsoft, Software, Windows

About

Mary Jo Foley has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications, including ZDNet, eWeek and Baseline. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008). She also is the cohost of the "Windows Weekly" podcast on the TWiT network. Got a tip? Se... Full Bio

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