if not already noticed, Microsoft will begin offering a “Web browser choice screen” to Internet Explorer users in Europe, as required by the European Commission.
So what does this mean for you?
First, a little background. In December, the European Commission and Microsoft arrived at a resolution of a number of long-standing competition law issues. Microsoft made a legally binding commitment that PC manufacturers and users will continue to be able to install any browser on Windows, to make any browser the default browser, and to turn access to Internet Explorer on or off.
-> When to expect?
External testing of the choice screen will begin next week in three countries: the United Kingdom, Belgium and France. Anyone in those countries who wishes to test it can download the browser choice screen software update from Windows Update.
A phased roll-out of the update across Europe will begin in the week of March 1st.
-> What to expect?
If you are an Internet Explorer user in Europe, you’ll get sooner or later the new update (either online or via WSUS for Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7)
and you’ll be notified by a window appearing on start up to let you choose your browser.
Windows 7 users can “pin” frequently-used programs to the taskbar (shown along the bottom of the screen, above.) If Internet Explorer was “pinned” to your Windows 7 taskbar, the browser choice screen software update will automatically unpin it, as shown above. (Note that unpinning a program does not remove it from your computer.) Once you have selected your preferred browser, you can easily pin that browser to the taskbar just by right-clicking on the browser icon in the taskbar anytime it is running and selecting “pin this program to taskbar.”
If you have any trouble finding Internet Explorer after it is unpinned, just click on the Start icon at the lower-left corner of your desktop and type “Internet Explorer” in the search box above the Start flag. (You can find any program in this way.)
The browser choice screen, shown below, will present you with a list of leading browsers. In keeping with our agreement with the European Commission, this list is presented in random order. You can also scroll to the right to see additional browsers, which are also presented in random order. The browsers that are listed and the content relating to them will be updated from time to time. The screen provides three options: Click on “Install” to install one of the listed browsers. Click on “Tell me more” to get more information about any of the browsers. These links (and the browser logos and associated text) are provided by each browser vendor. Click on “Select Later” to review the choice screen the next time you log onto your computer. This software update will also add a shortcut to your desktop, from which you can launch the choice screen at any time.
Finally, for those who prefer Internet Explorer: if you are running an older version (IE 6 or IE 7), Microsoft recommends that you upgrade to the latest version, Internet Explorer 8. IE 8 offers a number of significant safety and security improvements over earlier versions of IE.
So far the news this week,
Steve Chen, Support engineer – EMEA GTSC