Browser Choice Screen: Update Starts in March

Feb 23, 2010

Between the middle of March and the end of May 2010, Microsoft will be providing a browser choice update to users of XP onwards. The update will allow alternative browser installation.

According to a Microsoft press release, Windows users from XP and upwards with Internet Explorer installed as default browser will receive a software update via a browser choice screen. This will enable them to easily define and install an alternative web browser as standard. According to the press release the move will begin with a short test period and should be completed by middle May. The update is said to deactivate but not uninstall Internet Explorer. In Windows 7, IE will automatically be removed from the taskbar but can be recalled as a quick-start button via the program menu.

In his blog posting, Microsoft's Vice President and Deputy General Counsel, Dave Heiner, explains the browser choice screen in detail. Tests by Windows manufacturers will take place in France, Belgium and the United Kingdom before being rolled out in Germany and other European countries the middle of March. Software for the screen will reach computers in the form of an automatic update. For Windows users whose settings ask them to first confirm the download, the update is optional. The browser installation software starts with the first log in to IE after the update, then according to users wishes: after the preview screenshots (see gallery) a relevant link will appear on the Windows desktop.

The update is a result of a
resolution between Microsoft and the European Union, arrived at in December 2009. The simplified installation of alternative browsers is valid only in Europe. A dozen browsers are available including Firefox, Opera and Google Chrome. The software presents the browsers in random order, which according to Dave Heiner, is part of the EU agreement.

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