Microsoft Changes IE8 Default Browser Settings

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2009-07-17 Print this article Print

Microsoft has made changes to the first-run experience in its Internet Explorer 8 (IE8) browser to allow users to more easily change their default browser selection. Microsoft is defending a lawsuit brought by European Union antitrust regulators at the behest of Norwegian browser competitor Opera Software over the bundling of Internet Explorer with the Windows operating system.

Perhaps in a nod to European Union (EU) antitrust officials, Microsoft has made changes to the first-run experience in its Internet Explorer 8 (IE8) browser to allow users to more easily change their default browser selection.

The software giant made the changes apparent in a blog post published by the Microsoft IE Team on July 16. "The goal of the IE setup experience is to put IE users in control of their settings and respect existing defaults," the IE Team blog said.

Moreover, the IE Team blog said:
"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."

At the behest of Opera Software, the EU filed suit against Microsoft for its bundling of IE with the Windows operating system and Microsoft has said it will field a version of Win7 in Europe that won't include IE 8 pre-bundled. The EU is expected to rule later this summer or fall on the Opera case. Whatever the ultimate solution, Microsoft indicates that it is committed to giving users choice.

Indeed, users who install IE8 for the first time but who have another browser set as their default will see a panel open up during their first run experience. The panel will give them the choice of making IE8 their default broswer or of sticking with an alternative browser such as Firefox, opera, Chrome or something else.

Microsoft said the change applies to IE8 installations on Windows Vista and XP, and also will apply when users with default broswers other than IE install Windows 7.

The IE Team blog said microsoft decided to use dynamic updates to deliver the change to the market as quickly as possible, rather than to have to re-release IE8 in more than 60 languages. The IE8 first run experience change will roll out in mid-August, Microsoft said.

"We will make this change available in the next cumulative security update for Internet Explorer, so administrators that regularly deploy security updates throughout their organization can easily incorporate this new behavior," the IE team blog said.


Darryl K. Taft covers the development tools and developer-related issues beat from his office in Baltimore. He has more than 10 years of experience in the business and is always looking for the next scoop. Taft is a member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and was named 'one of the most active middleware reporters in the world' by The Middleware Co. He also has his own card in the 'Who's Who in Enterprise Java' deck.

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