Beware of Microsoft: IE 8 'Windows Update'

I mentioned earlier today in my personal blog, that I discovered Microsoft has released and upgrade to Internet Explorer 8. However this upgrade is in the form of a Windows Update. Now before I start getting an Inbox full of hate mail, I want to make it clear I don’t have a problem with an upgrade to Internet Explorer 8. What I have the problem with is the way Microsoft is delivering this upgrade. I know that many people never look at their Windows Updates or they just allow the updates to be automatically installed.

I get customers calling in at work with issues using some of our application. They have no idea what version of Internet Explorer they are using (some haven’t a clue what a browser is) and others who when they discover they are now using IE8 have no idea how or why that is on their computer. Sadly, these are the users who either don’t pay attention to the Windows Updates or just allow Microsoft to automatically install whatever updates come through.

Again, I am all for upgrades for those users who want to move to a newer version easily. However, in this case this needs to be an UPGRADE OPTION from within Internet Explorer. Much like Firefox will alert you to a new version and give you the OPTION to install the update or not. At least this way users know that they are installing a new version of Internet Explorer (even though they may have no idea what it is, at least they know they did something with Internet Explorer).

The current ‘upgrade’ method is a clear violation of EC Principal 3 (enable people to choose other browsers) in the Principles on purpose for Microsoft post. For those users who have Windows Updates set to automatically install they don’t even get to choose to install Internet Explorer 8.

I will give credit to Microsoft for making the process of removing Internet Explorer 8 fairly simple. However, I have not tried this method described since I made sure I didn’t end up with Internet Explorer 8 installed on my system.