Microsoft Will Push IE8 as High Priority Update

If you’ve tried Microsoft’s latest browser—Internet Explorer 8—and haven’t been impressed, or if you simply haven’t felt the need to give it a spin, you’re not alone. Even though IE8 offers a significant speed increase, better web compliance, and a handful of other new features, the browser hasn’t been received with the warm welcome that Microsoft would have liked. In fact, Net Applications claims IE8 makes up only about 4% of the browser market share. IE7 still holds the largest share.

To help force users to give the new browser a try, Microsoft plans to put IE8 in the Automatic Update queue. According to the Microsoft IEBlog, the company released IE8 as an Automatic Update to all users who were still running pre-release versions of IE8 (Beta 2 or Release Candidate 1) to make sure users who had chosen to install IE8 had the latest versions.

Starting on or about the third week of April, Microsoft plans to notify users who are still running IE6 or IE7 on Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows Server 2003, or Windows Server 2008. The notifications of the new browser will come by means of Automatic Updates. The initial rollout will start with a narrow audience and expand over time to the entire user base. Microsoft plans to make the update a High Priority update for Windows XP and Server 2003 users. The IE8 update will be listed as Important for Windows Vista and Server 2008 users.

For users who don’t want to adopt the latest browser quite yet, the good news is that IE8 won’t automatically install on machines. You must opt-in to install IE8. Users will see a Welcome screen that offers three choices: Ask later, install now, or don’t install. For users who decline the update, you can install it later from or from Windows Update where it will be listed as an optional update. 

Organizations who use Automatic Update to keep their computers up to date can postpone the IE8 deployment using a free Blocker Toolkit. This blocker toolkit was released in January and has no expiration date. Microsoft recommends that organizations who want to block the automatic distribution of IE8 have the blocking in place by the week of April 20th.