Late yesterday afternoon, Microsoft released the final version of Internet Explorer 7 for Windows XP. I have updated my desktop and tablet, so I am now running the latest and greatest of the IE family. And I really do like IE7, I think it’s a great browser. Today the IE team announced that starting November 1st, IE7 will be rolled out via auomatic updates:
Of course we want to make sure you are ready to upgrade, so AU will notify you when IE7 is ready to install by presenting a welcome screen. You can choose whether or not to install it; IE7 will not install without your consent.
I also want to remind you that IE7 setup will preserve your current toolbars, home page, search settings, and favorites and will not change your choice of default browser. You will also be able to roll back to IE6 by using Add/Remove Programs. Only a user who is a local administrator will be offered the update.
Not everyone wants the update of course (mainly because it may break proprietary applications inside a company) so Microsoft has a free Blocker Toolkit which organizations can use to block the automatic update. This is a good strategy – companies that really want to block IE7 will use the tool, and those that don’t won’t bother with the toolkit and they’ll be much safer as a result of having a better browser installed.
As much as I like IE7, there are definitely some areas that Microsoft needs to work on (and apparently they have already begun work on IE8):
- The setup experience needs work. It takes too long and requires two restarts (if you have old versions of IE7 installed, not sure about IE6 users which may require only one). The goal should be to have a setup similar to Firefox or Opera – short and sweet, no restarts required.
- It may not be as bad as Firefox, but IE7 is still a memory hog. And I think the Firefox team have done some work on this in the 2.0 version, so Microsoft needs to keep up and make IE7 less resource-hungry.
- There’s just no comparison between IE7 and earlier versions when it comes to standards support, but there’s still room for improvement.
- It would be great to see something in the way of extensions, a la Firefox. The search builder in Opera is cool too.
- Inline search! Dammit, I really hate that IE7 still has that archaic find box.
All of that side, I wouldn’t wait for the automatic updates if I were you – download IE7 from Microsoft now!
Read: IE Blog