Q:
The other day, I heard something about Internet Explorer 7 now being required for every computer user. Is that true? Can Microsoft really do that? Please explain!

A:
Oh, I’m so glad you asked! I was going to go over this today one way or the other, so it’s great that you brought it up. If you’re an avid Internet Explorer user, you have probably already heard about this, but for those of you who haven’t, I’m here to clear up all the confusion. All of this really isn’t as bad as you think, so just hang tight. Everything’s going to be okay. So, without further ado, let’s get started!

Microsoft announced last week that with its February 12, 2008 Windows updates, an upgrade for Internet Explorer 7 will be included. And yes, that’s whether you like it or not. So, basically, if you’ve been putting off the upgrade, you will soon be forced to install the new version of the IE Web browser. Microsoft is going to be pushing this on just about everyone (businesses included) who has not yet installed IE 7. Now, I know that doesn’t seem quite fair, but keep reading. I have more to explain!

First of all, Microsoft said they are doing this mostly for security reasons. IE 7 is much more secure and it has a lot more features to offer the average user. The layout of IE 7 is very simple and it’s much easier to work with and manage. (You can read this article for the full scoop on what all IE 7 entails). So, if you’re still using Internet Explorer version 6, you can see why Microsoft is pushing the upgrade so much. Yes, I know it means you’ll have to get used to something new, but this type of change is for the better. I promise! And hey, I’m going to have to do it too. We’re all in the same boat!

When the update comes through to your computer on February 12, 2008, it will be marked as an Update Rollup package. If your computer is set to approve Rollup packages, the update from IE 6 to IE 7 will automatically be installed for you. Now, I have some more news for you that may make you a little happier. There is a way you can still block the IE 7 install from coming through to your PC. But, before I go any further, I want to make it clear that I’m not recommending you do that. As I’ve already stated, Internet Explorer 7 is a good Web browser and it will do you good to try it. But if you’re absolutely against trying something new, here’s what you can do.

You can turn your automatic updates off. To do that, go to Start, Control Panel and click on the Security Center link (you’ll need to be in the category view to do this). Once you’re there, click on Automatic Updates and then click the option of “Turn Automatic Updates Off.” Of course, doing that is not recommended by Microsoft, but it’s one way you can bypass the IE 7 install. Click OK when you’re done.

Now, if you turn your automatic updates off, you still need to get them for the month of February, so you will need to do it manually. And you can do that right from this Web site. There you can pick and choose what you want to install and that way, you can skip past the one for Internet Explorer 7. Note: Once the February updates are over, don’t forget to turn your automatic updates back on. Otherwise, you might miss out on some really important stuff later on. Also, keep in mind that this update does not pertain to Windows Vista, because IE 7 already automatically comes with that operating system.

I do understand your reasoning for passing on the upgrade this time, but I want you to remember that the day is going to come when you’re going to have to start using IE 7. One day, there won’t be any way to block it, so maybe you should think about giving it a try now. You have until February 12 to decide!

~ Erin