In a posting over at the Exploring IE web blog, Ryan Gavin the General Manager for Internet Explorer Business and Marketing, has stated that from January onward, Microsoft will automatically update older Internet Explorer versions on Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7.
The change will first take place for Australia and Brazil, and roll out to the rest of the world in a "measured approach" for those customers that have Automatic Updates enabled.
Microsoft is keen to move people off older versions of Internet Explorer, and Gavin had this to say on the new approach:
We want to make updating to the best protection possible as fast and simple as we can for Windows customers. IE is how millions of Windows customers connect to the Web, so keeping that part of Windows updated at all times is critical to keeping them safe online. With automatic updates enabled through Windows Update, customers can receive IE9 and future versions of Internet Explorer seamlessly without any “update fatigue” issues.
Gavin also mentions that not all organizations and individuals may want to be automatically updated, which is more than often the case for organizations; and links to tool kits for Internet Explorer 8 or IE9 that prevents it, this allows Automatic Updates to remain enabled but excludes IE from being updated.
Anyone on anything older than IE8, and has disabled Automatic Updates won't be upgraded either, there's no tool kit needed for that.
Thanks to Neowin member dekoy for the tip.