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back to article Microsoft copies Google with silent browser updates

Internet Explorer is about to do more than just look like Chrome - it'll silently update on your PC just like Google's browser, too. Microsoft in January will start rolling out auto updates moving you to the latest edition of IE available for your machine's operating system. Platforms covered are Windows XP, Windows Vista and …

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Sorry MS

Chrome rocks. I really can't find anything to dislike about it.

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It is a good browser

except for the fact that Google quietly record your browsing history, and that a fair percentage of people who have it on their computers did so because it snuck on there malware-fashion on the back of some other program's installer.

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Anonymous Coward

Yeah but who doesn't gather something about you these days? You think Mozilla foundation and Opera are squeky clean? I believe Opera have one of the biggest surfing habit DBs in the world, granted the difference is that Opera will not release the info for commercial sale...yet!

Sometimes you have to weigh up the risks against what you're getting for your sacrifice and make your decision.

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Any chance of backing that up? I'm not having a go at your post, I would genuinely quite like to know more about the browsing recording bit. Not that my browsing history is anything to be nervous about of course - "everything you saw was legal - *in the country it was filmed.*"

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It didn't sneak in. There isn't a single install of Chrome that doesn't prompt the user. If the user is so stupid that they click next, next, next, Finish without bothering to read the dialogues then they deserve all they get and more.

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WTF?

@auburnman

Opera uses a server to "Accelerate" your surfing... a caching server... in other words they are storing sites you visit on their end.

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Unhappy

I have to disagree...

As an IT Support worker with a lot of stupid relatives I have to disagree, google chrome is on absolutely everything you download from things like CNET to fileserver to file sharing websites. And the tick box is no longer easy to spot because of large colourful pictures.

By the time you get through all the "click here" to download buttons you are bored and so google creeps through. It is also a must have when anything google installs, google earth etc.

Before chrome it was the cancerous system leeching google tool bar. So they move on in technology for their trash mongering filth, but the logic remains, to infest your system with whatever they can in the name of helping you out.

I don't know anyone that uses google chrome yet the % increases. I can only assume it is people finding an icon on their desktop they didn't know they had and click on it to see what it is.

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Use Iron

Use Iron, it is chrome but without Google spyware, do a search for Iron browser. I disabled IE on my computer or was far as Microsoft will allow you to disable it. Use Iron all the time now

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@Zippy the Pinhead

No it doesn't - not by default, although it has got this capability. Opera Mini on the otherhand does, but that's the whole point of Opera Mini!

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Opera's acceleration...

...is opt-in. If you have a decent internet connection, it probably slows you down since you end up waiting for Opera's server and the one in the URL. I imagine most Opera users aren't using it.

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Anonymous Coward

Let the cheering begin

In a few years, we may actually feel sorry for Microsoft, the way I feel sorry for Research In Motion...

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Coffee/keyboard

Silent Updates

As long as it doesn't decide to restart your pc if you go away for a cup of tea, more rebootless updates please (Like KSplice)!

Although I'll probably regret it like when finding a million web browsers toolbars installed on relatives machine after they said uh I just pressed update and this happened.

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Mushroom

...and no focus stealing either!

After the last lot of patches downloaded and installed, as usual Windows decided that what *it* was doing was more important than what I was doing and flashed up a message saying "You need to reboot", making that the active window.

Fortunately they've at least stopped auto-selecting the "Reboot Now" button with the result that if you're typing (as I was) and press Return at the wrong moment, you automatically reboot without having the chance to save what you're working on...

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Relatives

Just realised there probably wouldn't be an update button so I am taking gibberish again (Suprised noone picked up on that). So they would have some software that would auto update and slap on whatever it feeled like.

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Windows

Test [virtual] machines

Lets hope the myriad machines we use for testing these God-forsaken IE browsers aren't updated silently. There are some people who *need* to use older IE versions!

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Can't Upgrade

Would love to push newer versions of IE to our users but until we can afford to purchase new versions of our software we can't move past IE6, and even apps that now work fine on IE8 still fail on IE9

Home users should be fine, but us business users are stuck on older versions for a reason

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In the future when you are evaluating software, you should be using all the browsers to test; IE, Firefox, Safari, Opera and Chrome. If the software will only run on IE, the software should be failed. What is the point of web based apps that are locked to one browser? You might as well as be using a client.

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Can't upgrade...

Would love to push newer versions of Firefox to our users, but until we can afford to upgrade our line-of-business app, we are stuck on FF 3.6. Even apps that now work fine on FF4 still fail on FF8.01.

Fortunately, FF updates are no more 'silent' than IE updates, so we only have to roll back the occasional naive user that thinks newer is better.

Speaking of which, it's not clear from the MS reference that the new IE automatic update will be any different than the IE8 and IE7 automatic updates.

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Anonymous Coward

@ Lance 3

If only it was so straightforward.

However it is often the case that very specific products are required to meet business / legislative requirements and these are often poorly written and require particular browser versions.

It is seldom acceptable to the business for IT to come along and prohibit these just because they are more difficult to manage.

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@Mr_Happy

If you have Firefox 3.6, IE Tab 2 (FF 3.6+), and IE 8 you can set it up so the tabs Firefox opens are in IE 7 mode.

You might just find you have backwards compatibility on the cheap.

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Facepalm

How to fix broken app servers for IE8 and 9

What software do you have that still needs IE6? I've heard the lament, "this doesn't work, that doesn't work" at my workplace and from clients and all I've had to do was fiddle with Intranet Zone listings. Magically, said software started working.

The keys to making old web-based apps work with IE8 and 9 were:

* Fix DNS -- talk to application servers by name and not by IP address. Edit the hosts file if you have to.

* In domain environments, use Group Policy to publish lists of "Intranet Zone" IPs, names, domains, and so on. "Compatibilty mode" is turned on by default for Intranet Zone hosts. "Modern" app servers can enforce "strict mode" by using certain HTML headers.

* SSL / HTTPS certificate errors? Set up an in-house certificate authority and learn how to use it. If not MS Cert Server included with Server 2000 and later, then OpenSSL. Hostname mismatches? Learn how to use subject alternative names.

IE8 and 9 relax security and enable older 'compatibility' settings just by using the Intranet Zone effectively, and fixing certificates on app servers that need HTTPS. I've seen some pretty crappy app servers in the past few years and I've gotten them all to work on IE8 and 9. Otherwise, maybe it's time to replace that Exchange 5.5 server with Exchange 2003 at least, already.

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@Dan 55

Alas IE8/9 running in IE7 mode only emulates some of the endless bugs and features.

The only guaranteed way of ensuring IE7 compatibility is using IE7 on both XP and Vista (yes, I have come across some bugs that only occur on IE7/Vista and not IE7/XP).

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@AC 12:57

If it is for a legislative requirement, there is always more than one software choice. If it a business requirement and there is only one choice, you are not looking hard enough. A little extra time and effort in the beginning will save countless headaches down the road.

Worst case, you buy it with a clause in the contract that the web app will support browser standards in x amount of time. Failure to do so will result in free software maintenance until it is. Worst case, they never fix it but you get free support. You might be surprised at the number of companies that agree to conditions like that.

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Stop

Re:"You might as well be using a client"

If you need a client, you should use a client. If we stopped trying to use the web browser as an application platform, many of these problems would go away or at least become more easily manageable. With the right languages and libraries, you can even still make it cross-platform.

There's some excuse for public-facing services where the user may be unable or unwilling to install a client and you need their participation badly enough (e.g. shopping carts). But beyond that...well, I've seen a few services with both a web interface and a real client, and I've seen programs that went from a real client to a web interface. (VMWare, I'm looking at you...) In no case did the web version *not* make me want to hit babies. With rocks.

Stop this nonsense forthwith.

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Anonymous Coward

I haven't used IE for years, and I don't feel that I am missing anything. Why is it that MS feels that adding silly bells and whistles will make people go to IE?

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Ms doesn't feel that adding bells and whistles make people want IE, it just wishes it did.

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"Silent updates aren't just needed for IE; they are needed for Windows, too."

I wouldn't mind a silent update of Windows at home. However a silent windows update won't happen until MS have got your bank details for direct debit.

I'm stuck on Vista because I refuse to pay the ~£200 "reduced price upgrade fee" to move to Windows 7. For that price, I could almost buy a 2nd hand Mac Mini and run Lion on it.

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I run Vista on 2 machines at home, but my computer at work is running 7. I really see hardly any difference between the two. Certainly nothing that would warrant spending the money.

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Tosh

Try 70 quid. Are you an idiot or a troll?

http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/aw/d/B004Q0T10A/ref=mp_s_a_5?qid=1323985271&sr=8-5

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Or

For nada, you could step out of your comfort zone and try say, Linux Mint.

You are only "stuck on vista" because you choose to be "stuck on vista"

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Or maybe

he has loads of business software, or games, or other software that only run on Windows? If it were that easy the world would be using Linux.

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Finally !

I'm surprised that it took this long for a Linux plug.

Not reading a gratuitous reference to Linux in the first five comments really made me wonder whether I was awake or not.

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FAIL

Not tosh...

The item you posted is an OEM Licence, which cannot legally be used on a machine that isn't *new*...

If he's got vista on it, it's not new...

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Suit yourself - £80

http://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_0_13?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=windows+7+upgrade&sprefix=windows+7+upg

You can buy a component for use in the system, thus a "new" machine legally. Slap on a SATA cable or something and save yourself £8 by getting the OEM I say.

Only real difference is that it's not transferable and MS doesn't support you over the phone for free. (Unlike the retail copies)

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Anonymous Coward

I thought you could legally use an OEM licence provided you bought it with an item of hardware.

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FAIL

OR

maybe he himself touted the idea of moving to OSX which would preclude any legacy software issues, ergo, the option to *try* Linux is still available.

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Anonymous Coward

Question

When are they actually going to turn IE into a decent browser?

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"When are they actually going to turn IE into a decent browser?"

When they turn Windows into a decent operating system.

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Are MS rolling out IE8 or IE9 to machines running pirated Windows?

If MS is willing to roll out browser upgrades to pirated copies of Windows, the IE6 problem almost goes away. I say "almost" because I'm in healthcare, and am currently working between three organisations that are all stuck on IE6 or (in one case) IE7 because they have line-of-business systems that don't work in any standards-compliant browser.

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Not just healthcare ...

There are other industry who workhorse applications REQUIRE NON-COMPLIANT browsers. Many Multiple-Listed Service apps for the real-estate industry are still stuck with IE7 or IE6 requirements.

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Linux

re Not just healthcare

I just got into a business that has some areas stuck on XP and IE6 due to compat issues. Most of the problems are related to .Net apps which have turned into a nightmare. Let this be a lesson to all business. Standards only folks. That way you are not stuck to a single vendor point of failure. Multi-source all critical items for your business. The .Net stuff was initially cheap to build/deploy, but the sustaining costs now are extremely high. MS programming languages and (non) standards get pulled out from under dev's all the time, and ultimately are more expensive. My former employ sent MS to the door for their major products in order to move onto Linux where standards mean more predictability in releases. MS pulled the rug out from under them one too many times. (multi-billion dollar per year products).

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Holmes

I guess they soon won't be using the Internet then

It won't be long before IE 6.0 simply stops working with the majority of non-trivial websites out there.

When that happens, I guess if they *must* use IE 6 for their intranet site, they'll have to use something else for the world wide web as you can't simultaneously install multiple versions of IE. That's good news for the alternatives, bad news for Microsoft dominance.

It also won't be long before running IE 6.0 is impossible on brand new hardware; either because it won't run on the current operating systems, operating systems capable of running IE6 won't run on brand new hardware, or licensing such operating systems becomes an impossibility. (Try purchasing a copy of Windows NT 4.0 or Windows 2000 for example, yes I work for an organisation that had to try and do exactly that for a customer.)

The obvious question remains, who made the silly mistake to *require* such a castrated web browser in the first place?

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"they'll have to use something else for the world wide web"

That is assuming your users actually need access to the www.

Unsurprisingly, an inability to browse <random_website>results in quite a productivity bonus for the majority of workers.

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Anonymous Coward

@Stuart Longland

"who made the silly mistake to *require* such a castrated web browser in the first place?"

At the time it was insane to make a product that was not IE6 compatible - you could ignore any other browser but not that one.

And once you are working to ensure it is compatible, it's a very small step to do something that means it is required without it seeming to be a big decision.

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Anonymous Coward

Err ...

How about companies that run on .NET 1.1? Such as nearly everyone involved in the travel industry who has to use a GDS - Amadeus and Worldspan will not run on anything higher than IE7 and even have a problem with that.

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Devil

Silent updates for windows?! Are you serious?!?!

That'll never fly in a corporate shop- I got half the management chain up in arms because I wanted to deploy service pack 1 for Windows 7 almost a year after it was released and all the bugs were worked out of it, because it might break some crusty old enterprise app that barely worked on it to begin with.

Fortunately, companies larger then the one I work for also spend large amounts of money with M$ on yearly basis, so there'll be an out for us corporate users, just like they did with the forced activation of Office and Windows 7.

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Meh

I hate to say this but...

they were right. And you were too.

It DOES need to be deployed, but it also NEEDS to be fully tested against all business critical applications before being deployed. Just ask yourself, in the very very unlikely event that it DID take down something critical, and cost the company money, do YOU want to be the one explaining that to the board..?

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Anonymous Coward

Why People Buy Windoze

A) Polished Looks (very important !)

B) MS Office

C) It runs a polished-looking Firefox

D) It sports a C: drive

Even those who would be horrified by Linux run Firefox or Chrome nowadays. IE is only for those who are completely clueless. Your analysis is not correct.

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Anonymous Coward

@Looking At the Clouds - I would put B)

as number one reason Windows has and will always have the supremacy over the PC world.

D) doesn't fly with me since almost all the PC users these days have no idea about files and directories, as educated by Windows by the use of abomination that is "My Documents"

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Linux

re: @Looking At the Clouds - I would put B)

Agreed, and I'll expand it out. B) is the only *BIG* reason now for Windows being in the corporate world, outside of left out option F) "We've always done it this way". The big executive question is "can I run MS Office (and for them, read Powerpoint and Outlook)?" Once you say no, then that OS is off the table. Hence Mac is able to intrude into the corp space in spite of the expense. Everything else is resolvable by some relatively quick retraining and/or restaffing (and/or replacing your vendor since your support desk was probably outsourced anyway). If Libreoffice could get Calc and Impress up to a higher quality level (matching Write), then that would resolve one of the last outstanding issues of switching. Once the Bean Counters' stuff works with LibreOffice, or MS Office (with Outlook) runs perfectly in Wine? Those Bean Counters will override the CIO and push the cheaper solution through the company so fast your head will spin. (and being Bean Counters they'll probably attach copper wiring and put said head in the middle of some magnets for some quick "green" power for the PC's to boot...)

I'm in both Windows Admin and Linux Admin camps, started off in Windows administration and branched out when the former employer ditched Windows in their embedded product development. (Good thing I did as it really helped my marketability in the current job market, and the Linux positions were more plentiful and paid better particularly for someone with Windows expertise as well). Truth be told, skills-wise, on the desktop nowadays (and I mean TODAY, and not 3+ years ago), they are roughly equivalent for support requirements. That's not to say they aren't different requirements, but they are roughly equivalent.

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