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Microsoft To Automatically Push Internet Explorer Updates

Microsoft announced today that it will automatically update users' Internet Explorer to the latest version their OS can support.

That means those running older versions of Internet Explorer on Windows Vista or Windows 7 will automatically be updated to Internet Explorer 9, while XP users will update to Internet Explorer 8.

While the Web browser has followed the practice of notifying users when an update was available, this new process will just get rid of the prompt and push the update straight through without any interaction from those with IE.

Those that want to avoid automatically updating or those that want to set their own update schedule can download Internet Explorer 8 and Internet Explorer 9 Automatic Update Blocker toolkits. Also, those that have previously opted out of updating their version of IE through Windows Update will not have this pushed upon them.

The move to automatic updates is similar to Google's operating practice with Chrome, and Microsoft sees this as a way to increase security for Web browsers.

"Our goal is to make sure that Windows customers have the most up-to-date and safest browsing experience possible, with the best protections against malicious software such as malware," wrote Ryan Gavin, general manager with Internet Explorer Business and Marketing, in a blog post.

Third-party security experts also agree that leaving updates up to users weakens Internet security when the latest versions of software aren't being utilized.

"Being on the newest possible Internet Explorer (IE8 on Windows XP, IE9 on Vista/Win7) brings a significant increase in security and robustness to malware infections due to better architecture, sandboxing and the included URL filtering feature," said Wolfgang Kandek, CTO of Qualys.

The automatic update process will begin in January for Internet Explorer users in Australia and Brazil who have automatic updating from Windows Update turned on. Gradual rollouts to other parts of the globe will follow that.

Microsoft isn't the only company following in Google's footsteps of automatic updates for Web browsers -- Mozilla has announced it is also working on an update procedure for Firefox that will cut out the prompt asking permission from users.

About the Author

Chris Paoli is the site producer for Redmondmag.com and MCPmag.com.

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