Microsoft to begin automatic Internet Explorer upgrades in 2012

Microsoft to begin automatic Internet Explorer upgrades in 2012

Summary: In a major policy change, Microsoft plans to deliver IE upgrades automatically to Windows users. That moves IE incrementally closer to its fast-paced competitors, although there are still enough exceptions to keep enterprise users happy.

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In January 2012, Microsoft will begin installing the latest version of Internet Explorer on Windows PCs automatically, via Windows Update.

Automatic browser updates will begin rolling out worldwide in Australia and Brazil and will gradually scale up to additional countries and continents over time. Customers running Windows 7 and Windows Vista will be updated to Internet Explorer 9. Those who are using Windows XP will get Internet Explorer 8—the highest version available for that platform.

The new policy represents a major change for Redmond, which currently classifies new browser versions as Important updates but requires the user to manually consent before installing an upgraded version.

With this change, Microsoft joins Google and Firefox, both of which currently push out automatic updates to all users. The big difference is that Microsoft will continue to support older versions of browsers. That's a crucial distinction for enterprise customers, who need to test and approve any new software release before deploying it and who have complained loudly about Mozilla's decision to drop support for all but the most recent browser version with their new rapid-release cadence.

Multiple opt-out mechanisms will be available for businesses and consumers who choose not to upgrade:

  • If you previously refused an update to IE, you will not be automatically updated.
  • As is the case today, you'll be able to uninstall an Internet Explorer update and roll back to the browser that came with your Windows version.
  • Enterprises can block the automatic installation of IE updates using Microsoft's Blocker Toolkit for IE8 and for IE9.
  • Microsoft has committed to making opt-out mechanisms available for future IE releases as well.

Although its new update policy is more aggressive, Microsoft hasn't announced any plans to pick up the tempo at which it releases new browser versions. IE9 was released in March 2011, and IE 10 is on pace for a release date roughly one year after that. By the standards of the last decade, that's agile, but both Google and Mozilla have reset expectations in this regard, pushing out new versions every six weeks.

More details are available in the official announcement at the IE Blog.

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

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94 comments
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  • RE: Microsoft to begin automatic Internet Explorer upgrades in 2012

    Glad it's optional..it's not like browser updates are critical enough that they need to be installed that second when I'm trying to do other things. I like that they are there for people who want them and are set to auto by default because I know a lot of newbs out there wouldn't update (for years sometimes lol). I update my browser before doing anything important or purchases and I don't think I need an auto update when I'm just browsing.

    I check Firefox at least once a week..I'm sick of Chrome taking up system resources or not loading right away because it's updating when I'm just going on it to read or maybe play Words with Friends..so much so I'm thinking of just dumping Chrome..I know there is a way to disable auto in Chrome but it's not a simple thing to so I haven't attempted it yet and it should be an option for advanced users...
    ChrispyCritter
    • RE: Microsoft to begin automatic Internet Explorer upgrades in 2012

      @ChrispyCritter ... I understand your frustration about it, but browser updates exist for a reason and YES, they usually ARE critical enough that they need to be installed right away. I can't count the number of users I've removed viruses for that could have avoided it if they'd had their system updated.
      GoodThings2Life
      • RE: Microsoft to begin automatic Internet Explorer upgrades in 2012

        @GoodThings2Life I'm usually the one removing viruses for others..for them maybe it's critical but I don't need an update that min or day..unless I'm about to purchase something it's not all that important to me. I don't remember the last time I had a serous issue with a virus it's been that long..probably more than 3 years ago when I was still using XP...
        ChrispyCritter
      • RE: Microsoft to begin automatic Internet Explorer upgrades in 2012

        @GoodThings2Life Sorry, but I know of a lot of headaches caused by people who DID upgrade (in an enterprise environment). The web pages were coded for a specific version of IE and did not work with newer versions. And, no, they could not upgrade the applications due to licensing issues.
        hforman@...
      • Chrome Updates

        @GoodThings2Life But both Google and Mozilla have got into the bad habit of creating 'churn' in the browser by pushing out various 'fixes' before they are ready and then having to issue yet another new version in a short time to fix the problems they created with the previous release.

        Google started it by deciding to push so much of their software on the world while it was still beta -- and then just not talk about a distinction between beta and release!
        mejohnsn
    • Chrome slowing you down?

      @ChrispyCritter ...

      """I'm sick of Chrome taking up system resources or not loading right away because it's updating when I'm just going on it to read or maybe play Words with Friends..so much so I'm thinking of just dumping Chrome..''''

      I've been using Chrome since it was first available, before it was released, up to the present. I have used it on many computers, both Windows and Linux, and have never experienced any slowdowns from it updating. It's been totally invisible, and that's even on non dual core computers. With my dual core HP with 1.7 Ghz processors and Linux, It's never a factor in anything also.
      Joe.Smetona
      • RE: Microsoft to begin automatic Internet Explorer upgrades in 2012

        @Joe.Smetona When Chrome is up and running it is fast but when you open it cold it always checks for updates and takes a second. I tend to close my browser a lot..just recently it updated even when it wasn't open. My cursor started showing the loading symbol and I was like why and when I looked it was Chrome auto-updating. <br><br>I'm not running short of resources but I don't like it using them without asking. Chrome takes longer on startup to load than Firefox..now maybe it's my Google.com home page but I'm using that homepage on both browsers and am signed on both also. Chrome was my default browser for awhile when Firefox was having issues but with all the updates/changes Chrome is becoming a bit "bulky" and if it gets much worse I'm dumping it altogether.<br><br>I installed Chrome because it was a light browser but lately Firefox is faster. I have 64bit Win7,4gb RAM (soon to be 8gb) and a quad-core so I don't even use 3gb RAM. I also clear my browsers quite a bit..Chrome just takes a second on cold startup..even longer than IE it seems anymore...
        ChrispyCritter
      • Reply to Crispy Critter.

        @CrispyCritter... That's very interesting, especially with the the resources you are using. I believe you, but I suspect you have other gremlins.<br><br>I bought my HP dual core, AMD 7550, 1.7 Ghz, 2 GB of RAM with on-board NVidia graphics for $241. new, including shipping. I've since replaced the onboard graphics with an ATI, 2 GB, PCI 16X discreet card. I'm still using 2 GB main memory. (With Linux MInt 11 and 12).<br><br>Chrome always seems to be updating, but I never notice it. I check the "About" and it seems every time I check it, it's a different version.
        Joe.Smetona
      • RE: Microsoft to begin automatic Internet Explorer upgrades in 2012

        @Joe.Smetona I wondered why Chrome booted my homepage so slow and I noticed when I click "about Chrome" it is checking for updates..the actual browser itself opens in an instant like everything else but because it's checking updates is slows down the speed of my home page's loading as far as I can tell and only with Chrome.

        I don't get why there is no advanced option to disable it and for me to be able to check manually. The only way I have seen to disable it involves messing with the registry..I'm capable of doing so but I haven't bothered and am close to just dropping it as my secondary browser..maybe I'll start using IE as a 2nd as it seems IE has improved greatly the last couple years...
        ChrispyCritter
      • RE: Microsoft to begin automatic Internet Explorer upgrades in 2012

        @Joe.Smetona I use chrome and ff. IE is a rather slow poke. SOme MS updates mess up pcs
        cherry1972
      • RE: Microsoft to begin automatic Internet Explorer upgrades in 2012

        @Joe.Smetona You've got the added benefit of Linux in that it's the OS updating Chrome and Firefox, not the browsers themselves, and the system can update programs that are still running and will replace the files when they're no longer in use, so the update process is very transparent. Heck, you can even DELETE a file in use and it'll be deleted once the file is closed. :-)
        jgm@...
      • RE: Microsoft to begin automatic Internet Explorer upgrades in 2012

        @CrispCritter

        Seriously wrote "I don't like it using them without asking. "

        How do you do your computing, sat looking at process explorer all day?

        Why are you opening and closing your browser a lot.

        You seriously need to stop micromanaging your computer, and let is get with its job.
        Bozzer
      • RE: Microsoft to begin automatic Internet Explorer upgrades in 2012

        @Bozzer My Desktop PC monitor on a swivel is right next to my recliner hooked to my HDTV also. I close my browsers a lot is for various reasons but I more recently started doing it as I used to leave them open..I found when I left browsers open all day they tend to eat up more memory so when not in use I close them..plus I use 2 browsers for different things but Firefox stays open a lot more.<br><br>I'm a bit of a tech geek so I do a lot of things normal people don't like I leave Task Manager running and look at it several times a day paying attention to what is running how much memory is being used,what is using the most memory and other things. A lot of times I'm watching TV and I browse during commercials. I used to online game a lot on Playstation (Socom mostly at one point playing over 1,500 hours in game in a year) and that's how my computer ended up next to my recliner...
        ChrispyCritter
    • RE: Microsoft to begin automatic Internet Explorer upgrades in 2012

      @ChrispyCritter "I wondered why Chrome booted my homepage so slow and I noticed when I click "about Chrome" it is checking for updates.."<br><br>Not sure if this is worth mentioning, but when you click About, it checks for updates *at that moment*, solely because you went into About; you didn't just happen to catch Chrome checking for updates when you clicked About.
      dh1760
      • RE: Microsoft to begin automatic Internet Explorer upgrades in 2012

        @dh1760 Yeah it could be some other issue..maybe I should remove Chrome and reinstall just to see if it loads better. I know sometimes programs can become sluggish after awhile but if it is it's the 1st I've ran into on Win7. I also just did a full anti-virus scan and some maintenance.

        It's only on Chrome's start up that I see it not any other programs and my PC boots up quickly. Also there is the possibility that because I'm using Chrome and am logged into Google's server there cloud server is just causing it to load a bit slow. I don't get it with Firefox logged into Google though and I know it's not my connection because I'm only running this computer hard wired on a 20+Mbps connection...
        ChrispyCritter
      • RE: Microsoft to begin automatic Internet Explorer upgrades in 2012

        @ChrispyCritter

        Recent versions of Firefox are quite noticeably faster than Chrome at things like starting up and rendering big pages. If you use "Web Apps" (heavy JavaScript sites) you might notice Chrome being faster -- but it'll be using a lot more RAM and system resources while it's doing it.

        That said, Firefox still makes a major CPU grab every time you download a new file, and if if one tab is struggling for some reason, all the others do, too, while in Chrome things still work in other tabs. For me, I prefer Firefox (not to mention the moral reasons for using it)...But to each their own.
        x I'm tc
      • RE: Microsoft to begin automatic Internet Explorer upgrades in 2012

        @jdakula Yeah I prefer Firefox too but for awhile there Firefox was sucking glad it was only a couple months..might see spikes in CPU use but even on my low end AMD Quad-Core it hardly ever strains..rarely using over 10-20% CPU. I only started using Chrome when it came out to try it and at the time is was great. It was nice simple browser that was good to use for some sites but lately I ask myself why I even need anymore it really.

        Even if I wanted to be on the same site on different user names (I play Words with Friends on FB and I was playing Farmville because of my sister and her children on 2 accounts) I can just use a different identity profile on Firefox. There was a time when Chrome loaded some sites a lot better than Firefox but it doesn't seem to be that way anymore. I probably won't dump Chrome but I might unpin and not use it much...
        ChrispyCritter
    • RE: Microsoft to begin automatic Internet Explorer upgrades in 2012

      @ChrispyCritter <br><br>There actually is a simple way from within Chrome: type about:plugins in the address bar, find Google Update in the list and disable it.

      There are other, slightly more complicated ways involving Component Services.
      huygens1962
      • RE: Microsoft to begin automatic Internet Explorer upgrades in 2012

        @huygens1962 From what I've read it doesn't disable it and sure enough after I disabled it and went to "about Chrome" it still checked for updates. Even if I could disable it then there is no way to update it..it's a crap design...
        ChrispyCritter
    • RE: Microsoft to begin automatic Internet Explorer upgrades in 2012

      @ChrispyCritter That's my mother's philosophy too... "I don't want these stupid things popping up when I'm trying to do things... I don't have time for this..." and because of that her Java doesn't get updated, her Flash doesn't get updated, her Adobe Reader doesn't get updated, and Win7 SP1 didn't get installed. If I didn't have her using Opera with automatic updates turned on, that'd never get updated either and she'd be even more vulnerable.
      jgm@...