Internet Explorer 7 will be a “high priority” automatic update.

From the IE Blog comes word that IE7 will be marked as a high priority update so that Automatic Updates will download it to your PC as soon as it’s available:

As I said earlier, AU will notify you when IE7 is ready to install. Alternately, you will be able to visit the Windows Update or Microsoft Update sites and obtain IE7 by performing an “Express” scan for high-priority updates. Either way, you will see the welcome screen that allows you to choose whether to install it. (Users will also be able to download IE7 from the Microsoft Download Center.)

If you decide to install IE7, it will preserve your current toolbars, home page, search settings, and favorites and installing will not change your choice of default browser. You will also be able to roll back to IE6 at any point by using Add/Remove Programs in the Control Panel. Finally, users who have AU turned off will not be notified.

This is interesting considering that at one point in time Microsoft was planning on using IE7 as an incentive for people to upgrade to Windows Vista, but as Firefox has gained market share the desire to maintain their lead in the browser market ended up overriding their desire to get people to upgrade the OS. This adds an element of irony to the decision to make it a “high priority” update.

On the bright side at least it won’t try to force install itself nor will it change your default browser choice even if you do install it so I’ll probably end up slapping it on once the final version is available. I’ve been playing around with a beta version at work and it’s not bad. Not good enough to replace Firefox yet, but a buttload better than IE6.

15 thoughts on “Internet Explorer 7 will be a “high priority” automatic update.

  1. Trust me Les, there is plenty of incentive to upgrade to Vista if you are an avid gamer. DirectX 10 is only going to be available to Vista. Graphics cards will be DirectX 10 in the near future too. This will leave no other choice than to upgrade to Vista if you want to play the latest and greatest game. Mind you, that may be a year or two after Vista finally starts shipping.

    Elwedriddsche, no. Your Windows Update experience will be exactly the same via IE7 as IE6. Vista makes very little change as well. It truly amazes me that MS hasn’t gone to a small update client like OS X has had since day 1 of OS X. I feel like I’m still back in 1995 dealing with Windows updates. Yuck!

  2. First I must give credit where credit is due and recognize how badly Windows Update sucks.  Nothing could suck that badly by accident so they must have done an outstanding job achieving their goal of maximum suckage.  Hurrah!

    Our network admin guy put IE7 beta on his desktop machine.  It worked so badly – and screwed up his machine so badly – that he wound up restaging the machine.  For what it’s worth.

  3. … and on a positive side. I installed IE7 not long after MS released the beta for public consumption.

    It did seem to have a flaw early on that made it impossible to do Windows Update. After an hour or so digging, trying to figure out how to uninstall it, I did so, and did the updates.

    I am running the latest beta at home right now at it seems to work OK. Mind you, I only run it about once a week. smile But it seems to work fine for that one time a week.

    Don’t get me wrong here. I’m not advocating using IE7 at all. After all, I am in the process of “switching” to the Mac as I type. I own a MacBook now and as soon as the Mac Pro is released to the public, I’ll be buying one. So my Windows days are numbered.

    Personally, I would suggest staying as far away from MS software as you can. If your a Windows user, that’s pretty hard, since Windows is MS software. There are plenty of very good alternatives out there. Firefox, OpenOffice to name a couple.

  4. Trust me Les, there is plenty of incentive to upgrade to Vista if you are an avid gamer. DirectX 10 is only going to be available to Vista. Graphics cards will be DirectX 10 in the near future too. This will leave no other choice than to upgrade to Vista if you want to play the latest and greatest game. Mind you, that may be a year or two after Vista finally starts shipping.

    From the MS Vista Website:

    A Windows Vista Premium Ready PC includes at least:

    1 GHz 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) processor1.
    1 GB of system memory.
    A graphics processor that runs Windows Aero2*.
    128 MB of graphics memory.
    40 GB of hard drive capacity with 15 GB free space.
    DVD-ROM Drive3.
    Audio output capability.
    Internet access capability.

    and later…

    Windows Aero requires:
    DirectX 9 class graphics processor that:
      Supports a WDDM Driver.
      Supports Pixel Shader 2.0 in hardware.
      Supports 32 bits per pixel.

    Adequate graphics memory.
      64 MB of graphics memory to support a single monitor less than 1,310,720 pixels
      128 MB of graphics memory to support a single monitor at resolutions from 1,310,720 to 2,304,000 pixels
      256 MB of graphics memory to support a single monitor at resolutions higher than 2,304,000 pixels
      Meets graphics memory bandwidth requirements, as assessed by Windows Vista Upgrade Advisor running on Windows XP

    Does this mean that DX10 will work on computers with these specs? Note: These aren’t minimum requirements…these seem to be recommended specs.

  5. Elwed: As others have already mentioned, Windows Update will continue teh suck even with the release of IE7.

    Dave M.: I know Microsoft is hoping gamers will feel compelled to upgrade to Vista by DirectX 10, but I wonder if they may end up being disappointed in the long run. Unless they manage to pay enough developers to make their games run only under DirectX 10 it’s more likely that it’ll be three or more years before users with older video cards find themselves being left out in the cold with any regularity.

    Microsoft has never been happy with the rate of adoption of Windows XP and I thought XP was a pretty decent update from Windows 98 (and a shitload better than Windows ME). If some of the rumblings about the announced features for Vista that have since been dropped and the hassle the new security system brings with it are true then Microsoft may again find that Vista isn’t exactly flying off the shelves.

    I’ll probably upgrade to Vista simply because of my career, but I don’t know that I’ll upgrade all the PCs in the house to Vista immediately simply because I probably won’t be able to afford to do so. Depending on how useful Vista actually ends up being versus XP will dictate how quickly I bother to upgrade the rest of the PCs.

  6. rgjp: Those system specs are really low for what I have experienced. I’m running Vista on a 3.4GHz P4 with an ATI X800XL video card and Vista runs “OK” for me.

    My source for the DX 10 info came from the PCGamers Podcast I listen to each week as well as the TWIT podcast and DL.TV. Robert Heron makes it pretty clear that if you don’t have a decent 3D video card with at least 128MB, your going to be disappointed. He recommends at least 256MB. Mind you, he’s coming from a gamers perspective where one would want to run the game at a decent resolution.

    Also, Vista isn’t out yet either. I suspect that those requirements will be changed before it’s officially released.

    elwedriddsche: Sorry, it’s so hard to tell via text. smile

    Les: My understanding is that Halo 2 is DX10. Probably to help push Vista on the masses. Won’t work on me. smile

    From the few hours I have spent in Vista playing around. It’s not all that much different from XP. There may be tons of new things under the hood, but from on the surface, it still seems to require a user to run as an administrator in order to use it successfully. I admit, that when I first started testing it, my account was an administrator. I’ve created a “standard user” account to test installs and such to make sure that when a standard user installs something for his account only, it doesn’t show up on another users account as the default. XP was notorious for that. Thunderbird comes to mind.

    My impression of Vista is that I will be drug kicking and screaming to Vista. I’ll hold out as absolutely long as I can before switching.

    I think it’s pretty safe to say that games being developed now will work with XP and DX9. That said, that should give us at least 2 to 3 years of games that will work under DX9/XP.

  7. I have the X800XL (256mb All-In-Wonder) as well with a P4 Prescott 3.2GHz. I like the look of Vista, but honestly I have no need at all for anything other than XP. That is, unless new games start coming out that require Vista and a DX10 compliant card. Then…we’ll see. By then, I’m sure I’ll be wanting to move on from my AGP/Socket478 setup anyway.

  8. I have seen a presentation on Vista.  And after talking with DOF about the presentation he saw, Vista appears to me to be a flashier version of ME.  It still has all the inherent flaws of ME, such as the constant prompting (Are you sure you want to do this).  And most of the Great New Features appear to be stolen ideas from Mac.

    But coming from a IT Support Guy standpoint, the biggest bonehead move by MS was to give users an option to have a USB drive work as temporary memory or storage space.  Apparently when the drive is first popped in the user is prompted, and then if they choose temporary memory they can select how much.  And if the user has a 1gb drive with 100mb of info, and accidentally hits 1gb, there drive is automatically formatted for them.  Isn’t that nice?

    I think for the time being I will stay with XP and Linux.  Man I just wish the compatibility of games on Linux machines would step up so I could break the MS shackles.

  9. My main complaint with Vista is the default display settings they have. Now mind you, it’s a beta now and all this may change in the future.

    The first place I noticed was Explorer. There is so much information displayed about files and folders in the Explorer window, that it’s going to totally confuse 95% of the users of the OS. It’s really insane how much info is displayed. I found it fairly easy to turn that info off, but now I can seem to figure out how to turn it back on. I’m referring to the info at the bottom of the Explorer window.

    The second default was when I went to save a file. The Save As dialog that popped up was insane. It showed me where it was going to save the file with no way to change to a different folder. Well, that’s not entirely true. There was the breadcrumbs display and I could change to parent folders, and roughly navigate there. However, there was no traditional folder tree. Then I saw a button that, once pressed, displayed a more traditional Save As dialog. Again, 95% of the users of Vista are going to have a hard time with saving files if this is the default. I can just see the support calls for this one!

    I consider myself a fairly experienced XP user, yet I have stumbled several times in Vista, and don’t *EVEN* get me started on Office 2007!

  10. If you use IE6, IE7 will be a good upgrade.

    I have used all the IE7 betas. While Beta 1 was rough, Beta 2 and Beta 3 have been pretty good. I have used IE7 on a daily basis since January and been quite pleased. None of the betas have messed up any of my computers and it they didn’t cause any issues with automatic updates. Beta 1 is the only one I had any problems with. It would crash once in a great while on some pages.

    I have several computers at home. I’m a web developer so I wanted to have at least one still on IE6 just in case I needed to see what our product looks like on the older version. I simply couldn’t resist upgrading all my computers to IE7 Beta 3. The new tabs feature, better security, and rss feeds were simply too addicting. IE7 also doesn’t break any of the sites I regularly visit. If anything, it does a better job.

    IE7 isn’t perfect. Nothing is. I’m still looking forward to better CSS compatibility in future versions. Luckily it appears they will immediately start on the next IE immediately after IE7 is released.

  11. Gee, if only there were some browser that offered advanced browsing features and developmental maturity.  And for security reasons it should not be a deeply threaded part of the operating system; that would be nice.  And maybe a snazzy blue-and-orange icon logo would be nice, too.  Hmmm…

  12. hehe, and don’t forget a browser that doesn’t allow/support ActiveX. That one little thing will save users many many headaches.

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