Monthly Microsoft Patch Hides Tricky IE 7 Download

Opinion: Microsoft used the January 2007 security update to induce users to try Internet Explorer 7.0 whether they wanted to or not. But after discovering they had been involuntarily upgraded to the new browser, they next found that application inc

For some people who ran Microsofts January 2007 security and products updates, including me, clicking on the familiar gold shield icon was not much different from getting suckered into opening an e-mail message infected with a virus or a worm Trojan.

Thats because unless you checked before you clicked, you were unwittingly giving permission for Microsoft to install Internet Explorer 7.0. And in too many cases, users are experiencing application crashes or Web site incompatibilities that are rendering IE 7 and your computer useless for Web browsing.

I found that IE 7 totally refused to work on my home machine. It crashed every time I launched it, without a single message or word on what caused the problem. I was left angry and frustrated, thinking that I was effectively cut off from the Web and all my favorite links unless I could figure out a quick way to dump IE 7 and safely restore version 6.

Since as far as I knew, IE 7 had permanently overwritten my IE 6 installation, I felt no initial confidence that I could restore my machine to its previous configuration.

As a result, Microsofts misguided attempt to get people to upgrade to IE 7, whether they wanted to or not, has likely caused lasting mistrust of the latest version of the browser. It certainly has for me.

Microsoft Watch Editor Joe Wilcox covered the positive and negative experiences people reported they had with IE 7.

Clicking on that gold shield patch icon has become a monthly chore for millions of PC users around the world who are assured that doing so will reduce the chance that their machines will be compromised by malware attacks.

Many of them, being trusting (or gullible) souls like myself, will click on that update without checking the inventory of what will actually be loaded on our machines.

When you click on that icon you are presented with two options, the standard, automated update, which Microsoft tells you, is the "recommended" choice, or the customized update, which actually gives you a chance to choose which updates you want to install on your machine.

Unless you click on the customized update, Microsoft gives you no obvious notice that you are installing IE 7. If you run the "recommended" automated update and then reboot, you will discover to your surprise, if not horror, that Microsoft has installed IE 7.

/zimages/5/28571.gifClick here to read eWEEK Labs review on the new security features in IE 7.

My reaction, after serious irritation at the effrontery of being suckered into installing IE 7 against my will, was strong apprehension about how it would perform on my PC. I was not in a rush to try IE 7 on my personal machine because I had heard that some users were reporting incompatibility problems.

I was generally happy with the reliable performance of IE 6 with all my related bookmarks and applications. I had pretty much resolved, as I usually do in these cases, to take my time upgrading to the new browser until Microsoft had more time to work the kinks out of it.

Its quite likely that I would have never voluntarily upgraded to IE 7 until the long distant day when I decided to upgrade to Vista. That might not happen until the usual cycle of planned obsolescence forced me to buy a new home PC. I can be a real Luddite when it comes to technology upgrades.

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John Pallatto

John Pallatto

John Pallatto has been editor in chief of QuinStreet Inc.'s eWEEK.com since October 2012. He has more than 40 years of experience as a professional journalist working at a daily newspaper and...