Microsoft to push IE7 as an automatic update

Microsoft to push IE7 as an automatic update

Summary: If you’re a Microsoft product manager and you want to make sure that the latest version of Internet Explorer gets on as many computers as possible, how do you handle the upgrade? Why not deliver it automatically? That’s the thought process behind today’s announcement that IE7 will be offered to as a High Priority update to anyone who has Automatic Updates turned on.

SHARE:
TOPICS: Windows
78

If you’re a Microsoft product manager and you want to make sure that the latest version of Internet Explorer gets on as many computers as possible, how do you handle the upgrade? Why not deliver it automatically?

That’s the thought process behind today’s announcement that IE7 will be offered as a High Priority update via Automatic Updates to users of Windows XP (Service Pack 2 required), Windows XP x64, and Windows Server 2003. The timeframe is still somewhat vague: Microsoft says a release candidate is due later this quarter, but will only confirm that the final release of IE7 is “planned for the 4th quarter of 2006.”

So, is everyone going to get IE7, like it or not? Nope. In a phone call with Gary Schare, Microsoft’s Director of IE Product Management, I learned the following:

  • If you have Automatic Updates turned on, you’ll see a pop-up bobble in the notification area alerting you that IE7 is ready to install. Even if you have Automatic Updates set to download and install all updates automatically, this one will behave differently. You’ll be able to choose Install, Don’t Install, or Ask Me Later.
  • If you’re running a version of Windows that has been flagged as “non-genuine,” you’ll get the notification but won’t be able to install IE7 until you pass validation.
  • Not ready to migrate your corporate network to IE7? No problem. Download the Internet Explorer 7 Blocker Toolkit and deploy it as a group policy on your domain. Unlike the similar tool for Windows XP Service Pack 2, Microsoft says this utility won’t expire.
  • Is Firefox or Opera set as your default browser? Microsoft insists that the IE7 installer will respect that decision, and recent history says you can believe them. Upgrading to the latest IE code is a smart idea even if you normally avoid IE, because so many of its components are reused in third-party applications and in system functions like Windows Update.

I’ve been critical of Microsoft’s decision to deliver non-security updates using the Automatic Updates channel, but I have no problems with this decision. The notification policy is sensible and gives Windows customers the opportunity to make their own choice about whether and when to deploy IE7. And there are sufficient security improvements in IE7 to make a legitimate case for offering it across the board.

Update 9:21AM PDT: Microsoft's IE blog has screenshots showing the installation process.

Topic: Windows

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

78 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • IE7 is a security update

    "I?ve been critical of Microsoft?s decision to deliver non-security updates using the Automatic Updates channel, but I have no problems with this decision."

    I have no problems either; IE7 [i]is[/i] a security update to IE6, which is (like it or not) an integral part of Windows XP. The only thing that's inconsistent about Microsoft's approach is that security updates are supposed to be available to [i]all[/i] users, genuine or not.
    CarlS
    • Not true.

      "security updates are supposed to be available to all users, genuine or not"

      No, Microsoft is under no obligation to do anything for the thieves.
      No_Ax_to_Grind
      • He's got a point...

        I mean yes it's a bit bluntly put, but he does have one. Anyhow they've already shown incosistency with that in respect to Windows Defender, which could be argued as a security update.
        moonchacha
        • There's a difference...

          Historically, security updates fix vulnerabilities in code. IE7 and Windows Defender provide new features and new code designed to improve overall security primarily through the user experience and through a better architecture.
          Ed Bott
          • That is Laughable at best?

            I am completely Un-hackable. I am a hacker and I know you can't hack me. I run WindowsXP sp1 and will not update because I know sp2 is hackable. Sp1 is also hackable also but I have taken measures not related to MS that keep me safe. Security and MS are strange bedfellows. IE: 7 is Beta and so is Defender. It is not secure to run beta software unless you?re a software tester. IE: 7 could be plagued with security problems yet unknown to MS and the end user. That is closer to the definition of an Anti-Security Update than a Security Update. Beta software is by definition install at your own risk.
            IceTheNet@...
          • First and foremost you are way off track.

            The software is not due to be pushed until it is released. Kinda negates your whole rant now doesn't it?
            ShadeTree
          • guess so so we don't have to worrie about till next year or the year after.

            kind of makes this whole blog pointless. because it will not go final till vista is released ummm sometime late last year I think it was.
            IceTheNet@...
          • Maybe if you could think as fast as you type ...

            ... you wouldn't post one ridiculous post after another. IE7 will release on a schedule that is independent of Vista. There would be no reason to push it as a update to Vista because it will be native in Vista. Next time try engaging your brain before you type.
            ShadeTree
          • ShadeTree

            Doesn't say that in the article. but I found this out by looking at Microsoft's website. ZDnet foul again. But really do have to follow me around like a puppy commenting on everything I say. What are you in Love with me or just want to be like me when you grow up. It doesn't really matter it's little creepy. If your a girl I don't mind but if your a guy I don't go for that sort of thing.
            IceTheNet@...
          • IceTheNet

            What your doing in your last post is called projecting. I am merely replying to post you made to me therefore it is you following me arround. You can now use the same logic on me. in the end it is called a conversation. So get over yourse4lf.
            ShadeTree
          • ShadeTree

            I can't get over myself I am HOT! and I know it. And you know it! otherwise you wouldn't be following me all over the place drooling wishing you were like me. So get over me and move on.
            IceTheNet@...
          • Um...

            Hard to know how to respond to that. So I'll just tackle the most ludicrously wrong statement.

            IE7 will be available via Automatic Updates WHEN IT IS RELEASED. It is currently in beta and is not offered as a download except to someone who specifically goes looking for it.

            And no, this has nothing to do with Vista.

            Sheesh.
            Ed Bott
          • I had a good response to that but IE crashed

            I finally broke down and installed FF2. So now basically although they have no release date mentioned it will be approximately at the same time as vista. I was mistaken IE:7 with IE:7+. IE:7+ is the one released with Vista and will be totally different than IE:7. and I missed "WHEN IT IS RELEASED" basically because "YOU DID NOT PUT IT IN YOUR ARTICLE". I went and read the real article at Microsoft and found this tidbit out too late. I had already posted.
            IceTheNet@...
          • From the original post...

            "IE7 <b>will be offered</b> as a High Priority update via Automatic Updates ... The timeframe is still somewhat vague: Microsoft says a release candidate is due later this quarter, but will only confirm that <b>the final release of IE7</b> is 'planned for the 4th quarter of 2006.'
            Ed Bott
          • Ed Bott

            Thank's yes I saw that but still vauge and dosn't even remotely say WHEN IT IS RELEASED.
            That could take another year with MS. They always are always pushing deadlines forward. But that is OK I will be the Whipping Boy this time.
            IceTheNet@...
      • They should make security updates available to all

        Because the idea is not to have compromised computers out there that are capable of infecting users, and it doesn't matter whether someone is running a pirated version of Windows or not.

        So, they should be doing it for the safety of all genuine Windows customers, even if it indirectly protects pirates.
        legalista
        • Security updates are available to all!

          Only optional content is blocked when you fail WGA.
          ShadeTree
  • Possible to return to IE 6...

    ... if IE 7 does not work with some of the add-ons I use? If so, using a restore point or Add/Remove? The final distribution might be different from the beta.

    Thanks.
    Anton Philidor
    • Updates to IE have always been removable

      The betas of IE7 have been easy to remove from Add/Remove Control Panel. It is a dead certainty, in my experience, that this behavior will also be in the final release.
      Ed Bott
      • Avoid the hassle.. Choose Firefox... Oh wait...

        It's Anton. :)
        ju1ce