IE Auto Updates: Good News for Businesses Too

As you may have seen on the Internet Explorer blog today, we have announced plans to begin automatic upgrade for the IE browser. This change will be rolled out initially to a limited audience, beginning in January for customers in Australia and Brazil, and then expanding gradually. We’re re-issuing the IE9 or IE8 Windows Update and removing the additional UI prompt so that it is installed without additional user interaction for a more seamless experience for the end user. The update will ship as a high-priority update for XP and Important class update for Vista and Windows 7. Once issued, this update will install Internet Explorer 8 for users on XP SP3 that are still using IE7 and IE6; users on Vista SP2 and Windows 7 RTM and SP1 will be moved to Internet Explorer 9.

Since, Internet Explorer is a browser for all Windows customers; the auto-upgrade mechanism is designed with Enterprise customers in mind as well. We understand that companies have business reasons to rely on a one specific version of the browser and they need support. The auto-upgrade mechanism doesn’t change the support lifecycle of the browser – an Internet Explorer version will continue to be supported until the underlying OS it ships on expires. This means that if you’ve taken a dependency on a particular version of Internet Explorer, the support for that version doesn’t end simply because of the introduction of the auto-upgrade mechanism.

The important point is that with Internet Explorer you still have the option of using a particular version. For most customers, no extra effort is needed to exercise this option. There are several reasons why, one is that this package will not be shipped via the WSUS and Microsoft update site catalog channel. If you’re using WSUS to manage windows update, you will not need to worry.

As I posted last Feb, Enterprises can still use the IE Blocker Tool and that fact has not changed. In fact, as you’ll see from the IE team’s blog, a big consideration for our auto upgrade is how we are balancing the needs of all our customers, including our business users. The IE9 Blocker Toolkit helps ensure that IE9 is introduced to PCs at the right time. This way you can still test any updates before they are pushed out to your users. For non-managed environments, this will improve safety and security of the browser experience as well as performance and standards compliance. Lastly, if some users are accidentally upgraded, it’s possible to roll back to previous version of Internet Explorer as well.

As I meet many IT pros during my Springboard Series Tours, I am amazed to hear how many of you still get complaints from end users that their machine is “slow.” We joke about users installing 5 different tools bars and the advantages of a standardized Windows environment but when we get into the details of it, many of you are surprised when we discuss the 1,400 security policies that you can use to standardize and lock down IE in your environments. No more multi-tools bars, no more extraneous or unsafe browser plugins, no more hijacked home pages or browsers adjusted to unsafe settings. IE is built for the Enterprise. From the Internet Explorer Administration Kit 9 (IEAK 9) to help you install IE easily into your environment to the ability to easily deliver Internet Explorer 9 through Automatic Updates

Need more information? Check out the Internet Explorer blog to learn more why you should consider Internet Explorer as your standard corporate browser. Want to learn more about the IEAK and IE Blocker tool? Check out the links below.

And of course check out the Springboard Series for Internet Explorer for more information, tips and tricks to help you manage Internet Explorer in your environment.