Microsoft To Push Out IE 8 via WSUS on Tuesday
Internet Explorer 8 will arrive as an "update rollup" via Windows Server Update Services (WSUS) on Tuesday, Aug. 25, Microsoft announced.
IT pros who use WSUS and who have turned on automatic updates for roll-ups in WSUS will get the IE 8 update starting on that date. However, if that proves problematic because some desktops should not get the upgrade, Microsoft described a workaround: Simply turn off the auto-approve option for update roll-ups before Aug. 25.
Even after that date, there's still a way to block the IE 8 upgrade. Microsoft prescribed the following steps in a blog:
"1. Synchronize your WSUS server
2. Decline the Internet Explorer 8 updates
3. If business requirements are to auto-approve update rollup packages, you can re-enable auto update for 'Update rollups'"
Microsoft offers a toolkit to block the delivery of IE 8, but it comes with a catch. The toolkit is designed to only block the delivery of IE 8 via Automatic Update, as well as via the Microsoft Update and Windows Update Web sites. The toolkit is not designed for users of WSUS, Software Update Services or Systems Management Server, and won't work in those cases.
Users of Microsoft Small Business Server products who elected to install them using the default setting will still have to manually approve the delivery of IE 8 "in the SBS Console or WSUS Console," according to an SBS blog.
Microsoft officials tend to emphasize better security and performance with IE 8, especially over its older products like IE 6, which shipped with Windows XP. However, IT pros still may have applications that depend on using an older version of the browser -- hence the need to block the upgrade.
Microsoft claims that tests by NSS Labs have shown superior security marks for IE 8 compared with other leading browsers. Those findings were described in two July NSS Labs reports, which compared browser protection against malware and phishing schemes. The reports apparently were sponsored by Microsoft, according to an Ars Technica article.
IT pros can customize IE 8 packages for bulk delivery to end users using Microsoft's Internet Explorer Administration Kit 8 (IEAK 8), which can be accessed here.
IEAK 8 allows IT pros to set defaults for the browser. For instance, the kit can be used to customize IE 8's "Accelerator" feature, which pops up with a list of options when users highlight text. Similarly, IEAK 8 can be used to add Web Slices to the browser. Web Slices represent content from other Web pages that gets updated. Also, the kit can set IE 8's primary browsing mode (IE 8 or IE 7) by selecting the browser's "Compatibility View" setting.
Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.