Microsoft Makes It Easier To Avoid Internet Explorer

Darryl K. Taft covers IBM, big data and a number of other topics for TechWeekEurope and eWeek

IE8 browser won’t try to take over as default when you install it, promises Microsoft

Microsoft has made changes to the experience users get when they first run Internet Explorer 8 (IE8), to make it easier for users to change their default browser. The move may be a response to European Union concerns.

The software giant made the changes apparent in a blog post published by the Microsoft IE Team on July 16. “The goal of the IE setup experience is to put IE users in control of their settings and respect existing defaults,” the IE Team blog said.

Moreover, the IE Team blog said:

“IE will never install, or become the default browser without your explicit consent. However, we heard a lot of feedback from a lot of different people and groups and decided to make the user choice of the default browser even more explicit. This change is part of our ongoing commitment to user choice and control.”

At the behest of Opera Software, the EU filed suit against Microsoft for its bundling of IE with the Windows operating system and Microsoft has said it will field a version of Windows 7 in Europe that won’t include IE 8 pre-bundled. The EU is expected to rule later this summer or autumn on the Opera case. Whatever the ultimate solution, Microsoft indicates that it is committed to giving users choice.

Indeed, users who install IE8 for the first time but who have another browser set as their default will see a panel open up during their first run experience. The panel will give them the choice of making IE8 their default browser or of sticking with their previous browser such as Firefox, Opera, Chrome or something else.

Microsoft said the change applies to IE8 installations on Windows Vista and XP, and also will apply when users with default browsers other than IE install Windows 7. (read our review of IE8)

The IE Team blog said Microsoft decided to use dynamic updates to deliver the change to the market as quickly as possible, rather than to have to re-release IE8 in more than 60 languages. The IE8 first run experience change will roll out in mid-August, Microsoft said.

“We will make this change available in the next cumulative security update for Internet Explorer, so administrators that regularly deploy security updates throughout their organisation can easily incorporate this new behaviour,” the IE team blog said. Microsoft currently promoting IE8 for the enterprise, despite increased likelihood that organisations may move to a different browser.