Microsoft to Force New Internet Explorer on Users

Dennis Faas's picture

Millions of users now running outdated versions of Microsoft's Internet Explorer (IE) web browser will soon be forced by Microsoft to use newer versions of its proprietary browser. Older versions of Internet Explorer -- especially IE6, which was the default Internet Explorer that was bundled with Windows XP -- are extremely vulnerable to serious security threats and should not be used.

Users who accept automatic updates of Windows, including its monthly security patches, will find their copy of Internet Explorer updated to a newer edition.

Windows Vista or Windows 7 users will receive the latest version, Internet Explorer 9. Those using Windows XP will get IE8, which is the latest edition supported on their operating systems. (Source:

Old Editions of Internet Explorer Still Popular

As of November 30, 2011, Statcounter estimated that only 10.13 per cent of Internet users had updated to the latest edition, Internet Explorer 9.

Approximately 24 per cent of users are using Internet Explorer 8, while 4.26 per cent were using IE7, and an amazing 2.23 per cent were still using the very dangerous IE6. Critics suggest that IE6 users are still utilizing the old browser because their PCs are outdated and / or have never been upgraded.

Of all users currently using Internet Explorer, more than 75 per cent are running an outdated edition. Microsoft's upgrade plan will dramatically reduce that figure, and potentially eliminate the use of IE6 and IE7, which are essentially sitting ducks for online evildoers because Microsoft no longer supports or patches the old editions.

New Internet Explorer to Update "Silently"

Microsoft has decided to apply the new Internet Explorer upgrades "silently," claiming bookmarks and other IE settings should remain unaffected.

Microsoft insists that the silent upgrade approach is needed to prevent malware creators from taking advantage of the change in policy. For example, news such as this could prompt malware creators to send out millions of spam email messages claiming to be from Microsoft, with a fake notification asking users to upgrade to malware-laden Internet Explorer.

Under Microsoft's new policy, users who don't want to update their browser can still opt out, but they'll have to make an active decision to do so by running a special toolkit available through Windows. Anyone who has previously been offered a browser upgrade by Microsoft and explicitly refused it will also be exempt from the new updating regime.

New Policy to Roll out in 2012, by Country

The program will launch first in Brazil and Australia, and will then be rolled out gradually across the rest of the world during 2012. The country-by-country approach is designed to deal with the wide variations in browser change requirements.

For example China, where an estimated 28 per cent of people use Internet Explorer 6, will probably be left until the program has been run successfully in other countries. (Source:

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