IE to automatically update from Windows XP upwards

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.

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I was hoping this was finally the end of IE6 but no ... you can still opt out
Corporations are never going to upgrade if you keep letting them have IE6. They need to set an end date and say if you are not upgraded by then too bad. The only workaround being removing the pc from the internet.

if microsoft had focused on webstandards to begin with corporations could have moved to later versions without fear. But seriously, it's time to cut the cord on crappy programs. Microsoft needs to take a bold step.

Drop 32bit Windows and all 32 bit apps starting with Windows 8. There's no reason to maintain a 32bit version of IE except to maintain compatibity with ancient plugins and tool bars.

Kill it.

This would be a workable strategy if Microsoft for years hadn't been taking us in their own direction, with their approach to “web standards”.
The challenge of getting newer versions of IE in now, lies not with the home user but with the corporate world; the majority of which are still stuck with a stagnant portfolio of apps that target an IE6 baseline. Sure, there's compatibility mode but it's a double edged sword anyway, for where it does work, it allows corporations to retain their legacy IE6/7/8 dependent baggage almost indefinitely. This fact has far wider repercussions for many modern corporate IT strategies, particularly those attempting to embrace consumerization.

Great news, but still a shame we won't see anything in the way of IE9 being rolled out for XP clients, going to have to support IE8 now for as long as XP is still around (boo!)

I have said this before my mum uses den den den farmtown via facebook I tryied to get her to upgrade she wont claiming the game written in flash runs slower damin slashkey... glad the toolkit is there.

I have a problem with this, as an IT Manager I have any systems that don't work on IE9 yet much less IE10...

IE8 compatibility Mode doesn't work 100% in alot of places.

Some of these that I've had not work: Security Camera systems, event ticket purchasing/printing for symphony... I worry an autoupdate might work well for some but there are alot of Banks, Bill Payment Systems and so many others that don't update when Microsoft releases I'm not sure how this wont case massive problems. Some of the Microsoft websites themselfs don't load on my WM7.5 Phone with IE9.

Jbenisek said,
I have a problem with this, as an IT Manager I have any systems that don't work on IE9 yet much less IE10...

IE8 compatibility Mode doesn't work 100% in alot of places.

Some of these that I've had not work: Security Camera systems, event ticket purchasing/printing for symphony... I worry an autoupdate might work well for some but there are alot of Banks, Bill Payment Systems and so many others that don't update when Microsoft releases I'm not sure how this wont case massive problems. Some of the Microsoft websites themselfs don't load on my WM7.5 Phone with IE9.


I am sorry but IE releases are like 1.5 - 2 years between them. If in two years you didn't manage to test, update and upgrade your systems to support at least IE8 then I am guessing your systems are out of date and or you purchased the wrong stuff.
End of the day I am sure there will be a policy to prevent Internet Explorer from autoupdating, but keep in mind that this is the kind of mentality that prevents public sites from growing since they have to support the so out dated and slow for todays technologies IE6 and IE7

About bloody time! I am guessing that some organisations will block this but for home users (Who dont really need to stick to IE6!) means brighter web! End of the web developer misery.
And I am sure that what they meant is that IE will be automatically updated to the highest supported version on that platform. - like Windows XP will get IE8, Vista and & 7 will get IE9.
This also means we can now safely code for XHTML 1.0 as a minimum and not worry about quirks and crap.

Make future iterations of IE, probably up to 10 or 11, available for XP, then this is a great deal. Until then, it's good, but not great. Still, it's progress.

Klayzen said,
Make future iterations of IE, probably up to 10 or 11, available for XP, then this is a great deal. Until then, it's good, but not great. Still, it's progress.

Not going to happen, IE9 is Vista and 7 only so why would the invest time and money supporting XP with IE10 and 11?

neo158 said,

[...]why would the invest time and money supporting XP with IE10 and 11?

1. Not doing doing so is wasting astronomically more time and money for countless web developers all over the world
2. Not doing doing so leads to another generation of developers cursing Microsoft for ruining their life because of the tragically incompetent mismanagement of Internet Explorer.

kayan said,

1. Not doing doing so is wasting astronomically more time and money for countless web developers all over the world
2. Not doing doing so leads to another generation of developers cursing Microsoft for ruining their life because of the tragically incompetent mismanagement of Internet Explorer.

It would cost Microsoft far more time and money to support an outdated OS with a modern browser. That's without even mentioning the fact that extended support for XP ends in 2014 anyway.

neo158 said,

It would cost Microsoft far more time and money to support an outdated OS with a modern browser. That's without even mentioning the fact that extended support for XP ends in 2014 anyway.

That almost makes sense if you care about Microsoft's time and money more then everyone else who uses the Web combined. But I still don't get how this helps Microsoft save time and money long term if all the best and brightest programmers in the world hate them. That sounds like a serious problem for software company.

kayan said,

That almost makes sense if you care about Microsoft's time and money more then everyone else who uses the Web combined. But I still don't get how this helps Microsoft save time and money long term if all the best and brightest programmers in the world hate them. That sounds like a serious problem for software company.

It costs them time and money because they have to dedicate a team to writing the software in the first place. If you're that worried about compatibility the use XHTML 1.0 instead.

You would also have to look at the OS limitations as well, IE9 wasn't released for XP because they weren't able to implement hardware acceleration and Microsoft wanted to give a consistant experience to everyone using it.

xpclient said,
As long as they don't force a new IE with an OS service pack, this is good move.

Since when has a Service Pack updated a version of IE, I know that prior to XP they did but from XP onwards they didn't.

neo158 said,

Since when has a Service Pack updated a version of IE to the next major version, I know that prior to XP they did but from XP onwards they didn't.

Never has a service pack updated a version of IE. Not even before XP.

xpclient said,

Never has a service pack updated a version of IE. Not even before XP.

OSR2 update introduced IE4 on Windows 95 and the desktop update, that was a service pack

I don't get it. I thought Windows XP was not supported in IE9 onwards, leaving many users stuck with that IE8 crap forever. Unless that's changing, IE will continue to be just as much of a nightmare for web developers as it is now.

Brilliant news!
This means the majority of everyday users will get upgraded and corporations using ie6 for apps shouldn't be affected.

As a web developer, this is a step in the right direction as most of my work is not aimed at old corporate internal systems.

Next step IE9 for XP

Joey S said,
Microsoft must be struggling to get people to download the latest versions of IE of their own volition.

Maybe that's why the latest version of IE (9) is the most used version on Windows 7, troll.

This probably won't help the real problem: corporations with automatic updates controlled by IT departments who are unwilling to put in new IEs to prevent ****ty webapps from breaking.

I really wish they released at least IE9 for XP, just without hardware acceleration. IE8 is still a glorious piece of crap.

Nice, we'll see alot more users on IE8/IE9 after this I hope they automatically update IE9 users to IE10 within 12 months of that going final.

Alot of businesses will get a wake-up call in January when their software stops working

I'll believe it when I see it. Thay said that with IE7 and then IE8, nothing ever came out of that. Meanwhile we're losing time and money daily by writing extra code to make things work on IE. Yes, we do write standard code, it's just incompetent IE that can't handle it, bugs that are not fixed etc. IE9 is good (it's not great, but good), now usualy everything works fine, but there are still crappy IE8 and IE7 to support.

theh0g said,
I'll believe it when I see it. Thay said that with IE7 and then IE8, nothing ever came out of that. Meanwhile we're losing time and money daily by writing extra code to make things work on IE. Yes, we do write standard code, it's just incompetent IE that can't handle it, bugs that are not fixed etc. IE9 is good (it's not great, but good), now usualy everything works fine, but there are still crappy IE8 and IE7 to support.

What are you talking about? IE9 has one of the best standards compliance out there. Let me guess, you compare how a page renders in FF and Chrome and automatically assume it's IEs fault when it looks different in it? There is a huge difference in scoring high at html5test.com and actually being standard compliant. IE for example is the only broswer that is fully CSS2.1 compliant. While the other browser vendors seem to go for patchy support for the latest fad draft specifications.

They haven't done this because home users can upgrade to IE 27 willy nilly but I have been at places that need to use IE6 or the web applications break.

Great. Although Windows XP users cannot install IE 9, IE 8 is much much better than IE 6/ 7.

Microsoft you are crap!

Why on earth did it took you 10 years to do this?

Let me tell you why! Ie is using marketshare so why not update it automatically to regain some users that will surely test it out!

This is not any good news, would have been it it was 5 years ago!

Most web development companies dont even check for ie

parisp said,
Microsoft you are crap!

Why on earth did it took you 10 years to do this?

Let me tell you why! Ie is using marketshare so why not update it automatically to regain some users that will surely test it out!

This is not any good news, would have been it it was 5 years ago!

Most web development companies dont even check for ie


excellent insight there /s

parisp said,
Most web development companies dont even check for ie

Every professional agency does, trust me, the bigger the client is, the older IE they are using, seriously We can tell them IE6 is crap, but it's not that easy for IE7 and IE8, which both totaly suck.

theh0g said,

Every professional agency does, trust me, the bigger the client is, the older IE they are using, seriously We can tell them IE6 is crap, but it's not that easy for IE7 and IE8, which both totaly suck.

i meant they don't check for IE 6 and even IE 7 or IE 8!

As a web development business thats what we do! and we get not problems with this approach! and its saves ALOT of time!

IE 6 users simply get a red message to upgrade! IE 7 users and IE 8 users see most of the sites we build fine. looks best in IE 9 + other modern browsers! With rounded corners, shadows and other fancy stuff. they do work for i.e. but we dont care about consistency! we don't use any cross browser hacks at all so most things is fine. we do avoid properties that we know for graded that will completely break things below IE 9.

if you kill IE6 IE7 and iE8 completely then the web will move ahead a lot faster!

parisp said,
Snipped for brevity

My theory has always been that, in the past, IE upgrades have been able to break websites coded for older versions (e.g. Many sites designed for IE6 might not work on later versions of IE unless the compatibility mode was used), so the onus was always on the user to take that risk by downloading the update, rather than automatically updating everyone and having thousands of people complain that the internet doesn't work anymore.

Nowadays though, most websites are coded to a common standard, and with newer versions of IE playing nice with modern websites, there's much less risk in forcing updates, and the benefits to the end user are greater than the potential risks (unless your a corporation that (a) doesn't use WSUS, and (b) also has corporate systems designed for older versions of IE, in which case, good luck).

Awesome. Though I'm pretty sure it'll impact businesses with software that's written for older IE versions and isn't compatible with newer versions, although having never used WSUS, do they pick what to update on their systems or deny IE updates or does it update it all automatically anyway?

n_K said,
Awesome. Though I'm pretty sure it'll impact businesses with software that's written for older IE versions and isn't compatible with newer versions, although having never used WSUS, do they pick what to update on their systems or deny IE updates or does it update it all automatically anyway?
I highly doubt systems managed by WSUS will do these updates automatically.

n_K said,
Awesome. Though I'm pretty sure it'll impact businesses with software that's written for older IE versions and isn't compatible with newer versions, although having never used WSUS, do they pick what to update on their systems or deny IE updates or does it update it all automatically anyway?

Like Ambroos said, businesses can use WSUS for more fine grained control, and I'd assume that IE updates will still be controllable.

Seems to be why IE is irrelevant when compared to Chrome or Firefox downloads and sometimes usage, when they push stuff like this. Generally why I don't bother believing the browser usage/downloads numbers.

Zappa859 said,
Seems to be why IE is irrelevant when compared to Chrome or Firefox downloads and sometimes usage, when they push stuff like this. Generally why I don't bother believing the browser usage/downloads numbers.

Was there any logic there at all?

Zappa859 said,
Seems to be why IE is irrelevant when compared to Chrome or Firefox downloads and sometimes usage, when they push stuff like this. Generally why I don't bother believing the browser usage/downloads numbers.

Well, considering that Chrome and Firefox are also automatically updated, I see no difference...

dekoy said,
I'm guessing I'm not getting credit for tiping Neowin this story over an hour before this peice?

*gives you a cookie* there ya go

Neobond said,
The tip came in from an unregistered user, so we only had the email address But I'll add you.

So how do i tip the editors about the news???? There were many instance where there was a huge news and i wanted Neowin to cover it.

still1 said,

So how do i tip the editors about the news???? There were many instance where there was a huge news and i wanted Neowin to cover it.

At the top of the page you'll see the navbar with 'forum' and 'more' listed. 'Tip us' should be next to more. Just click that

THolman said,

At the top of the page you'll see the navbar with 'forum' and 'more' listed. 'Tip us' should be next to more. Just click that


Here I thought "Tip Us" meant giving tips...

All the way through that article I was thinking, "Oh ****, this isn't good." Thank god for this part:

With automatic updates enabled through Windows Update

Intrinsica said,
All the way through that article I was thinking, "Oh ****, this isn't good." Thank god for this part:

Its nice to be able to choose when YOU want to update. Not when MS deems necessary.

este said,

Its nice to be able to choose when YOU want to update. Not when MS deems necessary.

That's what the toolkit is for. But at the same time, why would you not want to update?

este said,

Its nice to be able to choose when YOU want to update. Not when MS deems necessary.


With a majority of users being oblivious to the need to update, Microsoft needs to be more proactive about pushing users updates. It's why Google Chrome and Firefox are doing it now too.

As long as there's a way to manually disable it for those who want to (unlike Chrome), I'm all for the auto updates.

Majesticmerc said,
But at the same time, why would you not want to update?
At work we use a web application that relies on IE6. If there was no way to prevent IE from updating, we wouldn't be able to use that web application.

Don't get me wrong, the web app should be updated to support later versions of IE, but at least Microsoft isn't forcing us to find alternatives.

Intrinsica said,
If there was no way to prevent IE from updating, we wouldn't be able to use that web application.
Note that you do not need to disable Automatic Updates to prevent IE upgrades. Simply install the appropriate blocker toolkit:

IE7: http://www.microsoft.com/downl...displaylang=en&id=13428
IE8: http://www.microsoft.com/download/en/details.aspx?id=14149
IE9: http://www.microsoft.com/download/en/details.aspx?id=179

These will prevent the specified IE version being installed automatically even when the Automatic Updates setting is enabled.

If your updates are managed remotely you should of course prevent IE upgrades being sent out altogether rather than installing the blocker on each and every system.

Edited by Arkose, Dec 16 2011, 11:16am :

It's not a problem for us, we disable Windows Updates on each computer in our company and roll them out after doing our own testing.