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Microsoft

Microsoft Backs Down On Making IE8 Default At Upgrade 160

Posted by timothy
from the you-call-that-backing-down-huh dept.
Barence writes "Internet Explorer 8 will no longer replace the default browser when a user selects the 'Use express settings' option during installation. Back in May, Mozilla and Opera accused Microsoft of force-feeding users Internet Explorer 8 through the Automatic Updates process. The object of their ire was the 'Use express settings' option which automatically sets Internet Explorer 8 as the default browser. The option was already ticked when Automatic Updates offered users the choice to upgrade their browser. '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,' notes Microsoft in a blog post."
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Microsoft Backs Down On Making IE8 Default At Upgrade

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  • What crap... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by tengeta (1594989) on Monday July 20, 2009 @08:50AM (#28755093)
    Mozilla can't complain, the last few times I installed Firefox it had an automatically checked box to make it default. Then again, they did complain with Opera, so some stupidity was due.
    • Re:What crap... (Score:5, Informative)

      by hodet (620484) on Monday July 20, 2009 @08:57AM (#28755161)
      ..and does it really matter? Anyone using Firefox or Opera will just click their Firefox/Opera icon like they usually do and be prompted to set it back. The rest of the world who don't know what Firefox and Opera are will continue to use IE.
      • I'm lazy. My Windows menu (formerly Start menu) has my default Internet browser at the top, and that's what I usually use to launch it, rather than hunting for it on my Desktop or All Programs menu.

        It's a known location that's in the same spot regardless of whether I'm using XP at work or Vista/7 at home.

        • Right click > Pin to Start Menu.

          Hell, you can manually drag the icon there if you're really that lazy.

          Remember, it's not being lazy to leave the icon where it is and work harder every time; It's being lazy to move to where it causes the least work.
          • by nschubach (922175)

            I just right click pretty much anywhere and hit Firefox. Openbox is wonderful. I don't need to worry about pinning, plopping or any of that. ;)
            [though I will admit that it took a minute or two of my life to get it setup right, but now that's out of the way...]

    • Re:What crap... (Score:5, Informative)

      by EvilMonkeySlayer (826044) on Monday July 20, 2009 @09:09AM (#28755249) Journal
      That isn't what Mozilla was complaining about. What Mozilla was complaining about was that IE8 was being delivered as an automatic update, then when it prompts the user whether to use express or custom settings the user of course would deem it just an update and would of course select express not realising it sets IE as the default.

      The reason why it's acceptable that Firefox, Opera etc does this is because the user chose to download the browser. However, since MS pushed IE8 as a critical update through their automatic update service the user doesn't really have much choice. I accept the set as default using express if the user downloads IE8 as a separate download. But through an automatic update? No.
      • Re:What crap... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by xouumalperxe (815707) on Monday July 20, 2009 @09:18AM (#28755317)

        However, since MS pushed IE8 as a critical update through their automatic update service the user doesn't really have much choice

        It's slightly more subtle than that. A forced upgrade from IE7 to IE8 doesn't seem much of an issue to me. It defaulting to changing itself to being the default browser doesn't rattle me too much either (though it does annoy me). What really gets to me is the fact that such a huge change in user preferences is "hidden" behind a "use express settings" tick box.

        • What really gets to me is the fact that such a huge change in user preferences is "hidden" behind a "use express settings" tick box.

          Did you see how it actually looks like [winisp.net]? It's not exactly hidden. It's right there for everyone to read, "Default browser: Internet Explorer".

          Of course, most users don't bother to read anything and would just click Next-Next-Next, but that is a very different problem.

          • We're talking about delivery as a freaking system update. Not as a standalone. Also, "Default Browser" is "hidden in plain sight" if you will. It's next to last item on that list (dead last would be more noticeable), everything else in that list is a setting about Explorer itself, and the reasonable expectation is that a system update won't change your default software of choice.
        • What really gets to me is the fact that such a huge change in user preferences is "hidden" behind a "use express settings" tick box.

          I don't get this. 'Express Settings' means "I trust Microsoft to pick the best software update scheme for me." In this case, IE8 is probably better for more users than IE7 is.

          You have to cede some control to get everything taken care of for you.

      • Re:What crap... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by ElSupreme (1217088) on Monday July 20, 2009 @09:34AM (#28755447)
        I chose to update to Firefox 3.5, but I still wanted my IE8 as my default browser, but FF3.5 decided to take over the role. I wasn't asked, it just assumed. I don't see how this is any different. People you have to just stop bashing EVERYTHING Microsoft does. They do enough that is cause for alarm, but this just isn't one of them.
        • I've not used the FF3.5 installer, but the FF3 one had a checkbox in the installer for it. If they've dropped this for FF3.5, that's a Bad Thing IMO, but I don't think the design of the FF3.5 installer is something likely to gain much news coverage...
          • by plague3106 (71849)

            I think they did drop that, because I recently switched to IE8, but keep FF to make sure my web pages work with it. I remember having to tell it NOT to "ensure it was the default" and switch the default back to IE8.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Onymous Coward (97719)

          Here's a logical fallacy for you:

          Puppy Mike is ornery, always causing problems. Puppy Moe is adorable, does many cute things and is very agreeable.

          Ornery puppy Mike shits on your carpet. "Bad puppy!"

          Adorable puppy Moe — whoops! — also shits on your carpet.

          You look back and forth between them, scratch your head, and declare, "You gotta stop bashing EVERYTHING puppy Mike does!"

          As if you wanted crap on your carpet at all?

          But given Moe's past performance, I'd be surprised if there were in fact cra

        • But you downloaded it manually, correct?

          Automated updates are not supposed to change settings, but installing can. Your beef would be valid if every Firefox patch set it to be the default browser, even when IE8 was.

      • Re:What crap... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Useful Wheat (1488675) on Monday July 20, 2009 @09:59AM (#28755707)

        "The reason why it's acceptable that Firefox, Opera etc does this is because the user chose to download the browser."

        You're using a double standard here. I downloaded Google Chrome so I could go and try it out. Give it the benefit of the doubt, and so forth. I didn't need it to be my default browser any more than I needed Opera to be my default browser when I decided to try it out.

        Certainly its easy to fix this. Most of the browsers will demand to be set as the default browser when you open them, but this is a conversation for the new and inexperienced users who don't know how to change that. If they did download Chrome (because Google is pushing chrome aggressively on every page) having it be the default browser could be a huge learning curve.

        Now, I'm all for making users learn something, but eventually they end up calling you on the phone and demand you make it work right.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by bheer (633842)

          Ironically the media player wars were exactly about this. Real would become the default player for all sorts of formats, then Quicktime would, and so on. Someone must have learnt their lesson, because these days Real and Windows Media Player play nice, not too sure what Quicktime does (not installed it in some time).

          If the media player vendors can learn, why not the browser? And yes, I don't buy the argument that anyone downloading Firefox is looking to make it his default browser. I download Opera and Chro

          • If the media player vendors can learn, why not the browser? And yes, I don't buy the argument that anyone downloading Firefox is looking to make it his default browser. I download Opera and Chrome onto new PCs too, I'd be pissed if I couldn't stop them from becoming my default.

            You can stop them from becoming default. You uncheck a box.

            Most browsers assume you want it to be the default when you install it. That's fine - they all seem to do it. This same behaviour is not fine, when it's merely applying a patch or upgrade.

            If I upgrade from FF3 to FF3.5, and Opera is my default browser, Opera should remain my default browser. This is where Microsoft messed up.

        • Certainly its easy to fix this. Most of the browsers will demand to be set as the default browser when you open them, but this is a conversation for the new and inexperienced users who don't know how to change that. If they did download Chrome (because Google is pushing chrome aggressively on every page) having it be the default browser could be a huge learning curve.

          Chrome never set itself to be the default browser, for me? I couldn't even get it to set itself to open .html files, when I wanted it to.

      • Re:What crap... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by billcopc (196330) <vrillco@yahoo.com> on Monday July 20, 2009 @10:01AM (#28755729) Homepage

        IMO, the reason why it's unacceptable is because this is a freaking upgrade. The preference is already set to whichever browser the user favors, why should it be reset ? The existing choice should be left alone.

        If it's a fresh installation, fine go ahead and toggle it by default, that's a good way to minimize user confusion ("I just installed Thingy 8, where the hell is it?"). If it's an upgrade, just replace those damned files and leave my settings the way they are.

        • by Phroggy (441)

          If it's a fresh installation, fine go ahead and toggle it by default, that's a good way to minimize user confusion ("I just installed Thingy 8, where the hell is it?"). If it's an upgrade, just replace those damned files and leave my settings the way they are.

          IE can't be a fresh installation (on XP or Vista), because everyone already has IE installed. If someone has IE7 installed but never uses it because their default browser is Firefox, and one day they decide they want to ditch Firefox and switch to IE8, they should be presented with the option to make IE8 their default browser, even though it's technically an upgrade.

          However, until now, instead of asking whether you want to set IE as your default browser, the IE installer was instead asking "hey, do you wan

    • When you installed Firefox, you specifically sought out the installer, downloaded it and ran it. It's quite a reasonable assumption there that you'd like to use it as your default browser.

      This is not the case with routine system updates.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Onymous Coward (97719)

        When you installed Firefox, you specifically sought out the installer, downloaded it and ran it. It's quite a reasonable assumption there that you'd like to use it as your default browser.

        I disagree. A browser installation or upgrade should always ask whether you want your default browser changed.

        I would expect Mozilla also to agree with this, so I doubt that other poster's claim that FF3.5 presumes to make itself the default browser [slashdot.org] and would like to see that claim substantiated.

        • by danomac (1032160)

          I would expect Mozilla also to agree with this, so I doubt that other poster's claim that FF3.5 presumes to make itself the default browser [slashdot.org] and would like to see that claim substantiated.

          Well, a couple of days ago I upgraded my Firefox 2.x install to 3.5 (I don't use Windows that often) and it asked me if I wanted to make it the default browser. There was a checkbox (that was by default checked, but it may have been because my FF 2.x install was default? dunno) that I could have unselected

          • Ah, this is probably what they experienced. They probably zoomed past the dialog and didn't realize it.

            Maybe it would be better to have the dialog require the user think. Two buttons to progress to the next screen, "make default browser" and "don't make default browser".

            It seems that's really pushing it, though. How many dialog boxes does the user have to fiddle with anyway? If four or less, they can pay enough attention to handle this one dialog.

        • You have to specifically download and install Firefox, and Mozilla has not been convicted of anti-competitive practices, unlike Microsoft.
    • The difference is that Microsoft wasn't giving you an option. When you start IE 8 for the first time, if you choose "Express Setup" rather than "Custom," it makes IE the default--and not only does it not give you an option, it doesn't even tell you that it's going to make it default, either.

      This update addresses this issue by including a "Make IE default browser" checkbox right under the "Express Setup" radio button. It's still checked by default (as it is for most browsers), but at least you can't say you

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by socsoc (1116769)
      The problem is when I install an alternative browser to a non tech savvy's person's computer with it as the default and then automatic IE8 upgrade changes that setting, they may not notice. I am sad to admit that I know (older) people that honestly can't tell me what browser they are currently using and don't notice that suddenly the UI has changed.
      • by yoshi_mon (172895)

        Very true. I often have people who can't even tell what exact program they are using. This is while they are in said program. Could easily look up at the top part of their window and see.

        To such people it's just a sort of magic box that responds in a certain way when they push certain buttons in a certain sequence. No real thought involved just rote actions.

    • by Ilgaz (86384)

      Express settings are way more than browser, it is almost like a spyware install carefully hiding options.

      If you express install IE 8, you are basically owned by their Live services. Search, homepage, "look up", "blog", "look on map". All are Microsoft properties which are horribly unpopular compared to other options.

      It is way more than "default browser" setting. They really lost it this time since monopoly court is still watching them with EU guys are already on them.

  • Common sense (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    By selecting "Express settings" the user is saying to the vendor: "Yes, I want to you use any settings you consider to be the best for me."

    You give the vendor a blank statement. Microsoft wouldn't have to bother changing the default. They are actually quite kind to Mozilla, Opera and Safari there.

  • when installing a new system, be it server or my own machine, is to hide IE7+8 from the listed updates.

    Of course with Windws 7 I've had no choice ;)

    • Yes you did (Score:4, Informative)

      by L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) on Monday July 20, 2009 @09:45AM (#28755551)
      In Windows 7, you can uninstall it.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by recoiledsnake (879048)

      You're opening yourself up to vulnerabilities in the browser control used by various programs like Winamp, RealPlayer etc. What's so bad about keeping IE up to date while you use your favorite browser? I bet millions of geeks do that with no problem.

  • What? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Rennt (582550) on Monday July 20, 2009 @09:07AM (#28755237)

    Surely the problem was that the update changed the default browser, not that it upgraded the non-default one.

    Usually Microsoft's actions are fairly transparent, but I really can't understand what they are trying to achieve with this policy

    • I wonder if MS fired the team responsible for that scandal (IE 8) that even their best buddies didn't like and the decision to pull a trick even Real Networks gave up.

      "If user has installed me over automated windows update and has another browser selected by default, don't touch his settings".

      How hard it is? It is really malicious and nothing else, the team, managers, all must be fired unless they publicly apologize.

      Their action, while at court with EU could cost them millions if not billion. Yes, that chil

  • Not Uncommon (Score:4, Insightful)

    by kevinNCSU (1531307) on Monday July 20, 2009 @09:17AM (#28755305)
    Good, I hate when installers and update utilities hide crap like that behind "express" or default settings. It's by no means a Microsoft-only trick though, the one I find most annoying is AIM's attempt to install all sorts of toolbar crap hidden behind a default checkbox so you have to uncheck two levels of things to stop it. Even Mozilla does this to some extent to set itself as default, the only difference is anyone who's installed Mozilla probably actually WANTS it to be default, whereas with IE you'll have it rather you want it or not.
    • by Bigbutt (65939)

      Same with Java or Adobe and the Yahoo! toolbar.

      [John]

    • Good, I hate when installers and update utilities hide crap like that behind "express" or default settings.

      Please look at the screenshot [winisp.net] of the dialog in question before judging. Would you still say that it's "hidden behind express" after seeing how it actually looks?

    • by cbhacking (979169)

      If you'd actually looked at the behavior, you'd see that it tells you the changes that will be made by the "Express Settings" option. You also must explicitly select that option before continuing - the dialog box's "Next" button is disabled until you choose Express or Custom settings. If you cancel the dialog, no settings are changed (meaning a lot of the new features in IE8 don't do anything, since it will use the settings from your old version). This is actually behavior that a lot of other installers sho

  • by i_ate_god (899684) on Monday July 20, 2009 @09:37AM (#28755467) Homepage

    ...if it helps continue the death of IE6

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by bunratty (545641)
      The use of IE8 is increasing mainly at the expense of IE7 use. IE6 remains in use at companies with older versions of Windows or where they have intranet applications that require IE6.
      • by pbhj (607776)

        I'll grab my pitchfork, you get the scythe, meet me at the old barn and bring everyone you can find.

        IE6 will die.

  • I did a fresh install of 7 recently (June 10th) after some tweaking of my system rendered it unstable. (not the point of the post, just background on why I did the reinstall)

    I did the Windows 7 clean install, loaded my drivers, and activated it.

    Grabbed the normal updates and, during that process, I right clicked the automatic update entry for IE8 and selected "Hide Update" because I choose not to load the IE8 software.

    Now with patches loaded, I go back to see if any of the patches needed patching. I go back

  • I was excited to try IE8. About 20 minutes after install and use I wasn't excited anymore. When I open a new tab my whole system slows down until its finished loading. I haven't looked at the CPU usage but i'd assume its pegging it for the render engine. Just a thought.
    • by webheaded (997188)
      What...were you trying to load up a tab with Slashdot?
    • by Bungie (192858)

      was excited to try IE8. About 20 minutes after install and use I wasn't excited anymore. When I open a new tab my whole system slows down until its finished loading. I haven't looked at the CPU usage but i'd assume its pegging it for the render engine. Just a thought.

      It's most likely an addon which is causing your issue. You can run IE with no addons under Accessories->System Tools and confirm if that is the cause.

      IE 8 handles each tab esentially as a sepatate IE process and some addons have real prob

  • And how many software writers for MP3 players, video players and graphic editors do the same thing when it comes to the long tick box of file extensions with most of them pre-ticked for you? At least with IE8 it's just one tick. I can think of a few software downloads that end up changing those familiar icons in Explorer to new programme icons. It's no big deal - other than the Windows Updater always wanting to download the product which I haven't got on my system. Heck, what's the point of a monopoly if y
  • Too Late... (Score:1, Insightful)

    Too late because it is already been five months later. How many more users were stolen from other browsers by this tactic?
  • Uninstall plz (Score:2, Interesting)

    by u64 (1450711)

    I want to uninstall IE6 and IE7 before i install IE8 bloat.

    IE8 crash more often then IE6 and IE7 put together. It's wrong
    to force that on n00bs. They have hard time as it is.

    [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Setup\7.0]
    "DoNotAllowIE70"=dword:1
    [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Setup\8.0]
    "DoNotAllowIE80"=dword:1

    I'm temped to add 9.0 too to avoid future nag...
    Things like these and WGA spyware is why i dont run WindowsUpdate.

    I'm also thinking of redirecting IE shortc

  • by antdude (79039) on Monday July 20, 2009 @11:14AM (#28756561) Homepage Journal

    Since IE8 was considered a critical update and service packs require ALL critical updates, users have no choice to get IE8 to be able to upgrade with a service pack via Windows Update in Vista. :(

  • $10 says it still uploads to your machine every time you do a windows update but asks if you want to upgrade to IE8. Then, if you say no, it deletes it from the temp directory so you can upload it over and over until you are tired of the massive upload every time you do a windows update.

  • If you love the windows this post is not for you.

    I don't see the big deal. If your windows VM wants to pump crap on its virtual drive let it. You have a 1T drive right? That is the cool thing about demoting jenky OS's to virtual machines. You can still use those outdated applications that haven't been fully replaced by a Linux/OSX version, not worry about it BSoD'ing your machine, and let it do all of it's BS updates it wants.

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