Microsoft calls IE 8 an important security patch

Susan bradley By Susan Bradley

You may already have been offered version 8 of Microsoft’s Internet Explorer browser via Windows’ built-in Automatic Updates routine, but you should be aware that some Web sites don’t work with the new release.

In my testing, IE 8’s security and compatibility settings cause problems with some sites in my testing, and XP users must first uninstall SP3 in order to remove the latest build of IE.

IE 8 is prechecked in XP and Vista updates

If you use XP, you’ll see Internet Explorer 8 listed as a “high-priority update” in Windows’ Automatic Update tool. (See Figure 1.) In Vista, IE 8 is included among the updates rated “Important” by Microsoft. The Redmond company is implying that IE 8 is a security patch, not just a revised version of its Web browser.

Surprisingly, if you’ve configured Automatic Update to “download but do not install,” as I recommend, or if you use Windows Update to scan manually for patches, you’ll notice that IE 8 is prechecked to download automatically. Yikes!

The Microsoft Update blog states that IE 8 won’t install automatically. On one of my test machines, I turned off Automatic Updates and left the machine running for several days to see whether IE 8 would be installed automatically. It never happened. This will be good news to users who wish to control the changes made to their PCs.

Windows' automatic updates offers ie 8
Figure 1. Windows XP’s Automatic Updates function categorizes IE 8 as a “high-priority update.”

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Susan Bradley

About Susan Bradley

Susan Bradley is a Small Business Server and Security MVP, a title awarded by Microsoft to independent experts who do not work for the company. She's also a partner in a California CPA firm.