Microsoft already has pushed via Auto Update the final version of Internet Explorer 8 (IE 8) to customers who had installed the beta version of its latest browser. Starting next week, the company plans to begin delivering IE 8 via Automatic Update to users with older versions of IE installed.
From an April 10 posting to the IE Blog:
"Starting on or about the third week of April, users still running IE6 or IE7 on Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows Server 2003, or Windows Server 2008 will get will get a notification through Automatic Update about IE8. This rollout will start with a narrow audience and expand over time to the entire user base. On Windows XP and Server 2003, the update will be High-Priority. On Windows Vista and Server 2008 it will be Important."
This doesn't mean IE 8 will auto-install on anyone's machine. As the team explains:
"IE8 will not automatically install on machines. Users must opt-in to install IE8. Users will see a Welcome screen that offers choices: Ask later, install now, or don’t install."
Microsoft notified users back in January that it would start pushing IE 8 to them via Auto Update.
Administrators also can make sure to block IE 8 from installing if they don't want it via the IE 8 Blocker Toolkit.