Windows XP SP2 users who have Auto Update turned on will soon have their Internet Explorer 6 install upgraded to IE7. Microsoft says that it began rolling IE 7 out to Windows XP SP2 users via Automatic Update last week, with about 1 million copies being sent out per day.
At the current rate, the IE7 rollout over Automatic Update will continue through January, as Microsoft is targeting 1 percent of genuine English-language Windows installations per day. The company says it is moving slowly with the rollout in an attempt to make the process manageable for IT administrators. The software giant also wants to prevent its tech support staff from being inundated with questions about the new browser.
Microsoft is labelling IE7 as a high-priority update and distributing it via Windows Automatic Update. Currently, automatic updates are confined to English-language Windows installations, but that will soon change. Starting on November 15, IE7 will be released via auto update to German, French, Spanish, and a handful of other language installations. January 1 will see another rollout that will include Italian, Dutch, and Russian updates. Later in January comes Turkish, Portuguese, Czech, and Hungarian. Last up will be Japanese, Korean, and Chinese (simplified and traditional), currently scheduled for some time in the second quarter of 2007.
While IE7 is being rolled out Microsoft will prioritize security updates over the IE7 rollout, according to Gary Schare, a director of product management on the IE team. "We keep the IE throttle low, so when the security updates come out… they still have priority over IE," Schare told PC World.
Announced in February 2005, IE7 finally shipped last month. Microsoft’s browser has a whole host of new features including tabbed browsing, an antiphishing feature, improved CSS support, and a handful of user interface improvements. Users of Windows XP SP2 and Windows Server 2003 who don’t want to wait for the Automatic Update can download IE7 directly. If you have friends and family still using IE6, encourage them to upgrade now (or switch to Firefox). On the other hand, if you’re an IT admin and your company isn’t ready to make the switch to IE6, you can block IE7 with the Windows Internet Explorer 7 Blocker Toolkit.