IE8 RTW Evolves for Windows 7, Vista SP2, and XP SP3

Update coming in August 2009

The gold version of Internet Explorer 8, made available to the public earlier this year, is set to suffer an evolution, with the changes scheduled to roll out in August 2009. Microsoft indicated that it would not limit modifications introduced to IE8 to the versions released to web for Windows Vista Service Pack 2, SP1 and RTM, Windows XP SP3 and SP2, Windows Server 2003 and Windows Server 2008. In fact, the evolution of the browser will also impact the IE8 version that whips as a default component of Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2. The Redmond company pointed out that the upcoming update was designed to change the first run setup experience of Internet Explorer 8.

“The goal of the IE setup experience is to put IE users in control of their settings and respect existing defaults. 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,” revealed a member of the IE team.

While configuring Internet Explorer 8 for the first time after the download, users will be presented with a panel that will ask them to choose whether they want to have IE8 as the default browser, but only in the context in which a third-party browser is set as default. Windows users with IE7 or IE6 set as default will not receive a notification in this sense. At the same time, the panel will also offer an option to import settings from the default browser after the installation of IE8 is complete.

In the RTW version of IE8 “this panel was actually part of the “Choose custom settings” option,” the IE team representative explained. “As part of this change, the “Use express settings” option no longer includes setting IE as the default browser. We decided to use dynamic updates in order to deliver this change to the market as quickly as possible, rather than re-release IE8 in over 60 languages. We expect to roll this out in mid-August. Over 90% of users who run IE8 setup opt-in to dynamic updates.”

Users should expect the update to IE8 RTW to be introduced with the next cumulative security update for the browser. Concomitantly with the security fixes in August 2009, Microsoft will also alter the setup behavior of Internet Explorer 8.

Internet Explorer 8 (IE8) RTW is available for download here (for 32-bit and 64-bit flavors of Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows Server 2003 and Windows Server 2008).

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