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  • What happens when you install Internet Explorer updates automatically?

    Posted on March 19th, 2017 at 06:29 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    I thought this was a pretty cut-and-dried topic, but there’s an amazing amount of nuance.

    IE has a check box that says “Install new versions automatically” and its effect on Windows Update is strange.

    Tests are under way in the Windows forum.

    [Modified this post to clarify/correct, tx to anonymous]

  • Numbers are out: Depending on whom you believe, IE lost to Chrome, Win7 under 50%

    Posted on May 1st, 2016 at 16:21 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    I always take the numbers with a bag of salt, but…

    According to Gregg Keizer at Computerworld, Net Applications says that Chrome now leads IE in usage, with 41.7% vs 41.4%.

    According to Emil Protalinski at VentureBeat, Net Applications says that. among Windows users, Win10 is at 14%, Win 8 and 8.1 are at 12%, Win 7 is down to 49%, and XP hits 10%. Vista and older versions account for 4%.

    That means Win8+8.1 is actually up compared to last month. You really can’t trust these numbers very much.

    Protalinski gives some back-of-the-envelope analysis of Microsoft’s Win10 numbers – 275 million Monthly Active Users as last disclosed – but you need to keep in mind that Microsoft and Net Applications measure two completely different sets. Microsoft’s MAU should say how many individuals are using Windows 10 (although the definition is very much up in the air). Net Application relies on a count of hits on web sites that’s modified based on geographical location.

    UPDATE: Simon Sharwood of The Reg is out with his analysis. I’m not sure how the numbers support his conclusion that ” it looks like business is slowing its adoption of Windows 10,” but it’s a provocative thought nonetheless.

    Roughly:

    Win10 = 14 to 18%

    Win7 = 45 to 49%

    Win8+8.1 = 9 to 14%

    XP = 8 to 10%

    There are also notes all over the web that talk about how Net Applications didn’t bother to separate out IE from Edge. Speculation runs rampant that Edge adoption is so low it’s little more than a roundoff error.

  • Internet Explorer and Vista

    Posted on January 19th, 2016 at 16:12 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Just got a good question from reader L:

    Great article you posted on January 12th about the ending of IE 8, 9, and 10.   A local radio station in my area has a program every week on computers,  and the expert on that show implied that Vista users (who can’t upgrade to IE 11) might be able to get by OK as long  as they’re running  paid-for commercial antivirus software AND they only use Firefox or Chrome (due to the fact IE is probably always running in the background).   Do you agree with him?

    Also, it looks like Vista Users won’t be able to get security updates for Google Chrome any more after April of this year (PC World December 2015,  page 18).   How long do you think before Windows 7 users such as myself are going to be in the same boat as Vista users?

    Will appreciate any info you could provide.

    Vista will be in extended support until April 11, 2017, so you have more than a year of security patches coming. That means:

    • You should expect, and receive, patches for IE 9 running on Vista machines. Don’t expect any fancy stuff, but Microsoft is on the hook to support it — and there are plenty of corporate customers who will hold MS’s feet to the fire.
    • You should also expect, and receive, malware updates for Microsoft Security Essentials running on Vista.

    That said, I don’t recommend that *anybody* run Internet Explorer. Microsoft isn’t going to do any more with IE than it absolutely has to do. You should’ve changed to Firefox or Chrome long ago – and use either or both for your daily surfing. Yep, you do need to keep IE updated because it’s still doing work under the covers for Windows.

    Chrome will no longer support Vista after April 2016. You can safely use Chrome until then. Afterwards, switch to Firefox. Note that Mozilla still supports Firefox for XP. They’re in it for the long haul.

    I also *don’t* recommend paying for antivirus. Microsoft Security Essentials is free, and works just as well as the nagging, begging, expensive alternatives.

    Windows 7 is a very different kettle of fish. My guess is that Chrome and Firefox and Microsoft Security Essentials will still be supported on Windows 7 until your current box turns to rust and the little squirrels inside stop turning the hard drives.

    Official end of extended support for Win7 is January 14, 2020. By that time, I expect the PC landscape will be vastly different from what it is today.

  • Internet Explorer 8, 9, 10 end of life

    Posted on January 12th, 2016 at 09:53 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Several of you have asked about IE 8, 9 and 10, because today is the last day of support for all of them on most versions of Windows.

    Fahima Rashid at InfoWorld Tech Watch has a great overview of what’s happening, and why you should be moving to IE 11 in the near term. Short version: There’s a lot of incentive for malware folks to start releasing their closely-hoarded stash of zero-days, simply because they know (or at least think) that MS won’t be patching most IE 8, 9 and 10 systems after today.

    There’s been a lot of concern here and elsewhere about malicious side-effects of upgrading to IE 11. Our own PKCano — who originally reported that the dread KB 3035583 Windows 10 nagware was installed while upgrading to IE 11 — has conducted an exhaustive series of tests, trying to duplicate the phenomenon. She’s come up empty. Her tests are so thorough that I feel confident in saying, categorically, that Installing IE 11 does not install Get Windows 10 nagware.

    Some of you have expressed concern that going with IE 11 instead of an older version would make it easier for Microsoft to install Get Windows 10. I haven’t found that to be the case — and in fact can’t conceive of a set of circumstances where that would be the case.

    Bottom line: Get IE 11 installed in the next few days, unless you’re running Vista (maxes out at IE 9), Server 2008 (IE 9), or Server 2012 (IE 10). (If you have Windows 10, you already have IE 11.) You need to install IE 11 even if Internet Explorer is not your default browser, even if you never use Internet Explorer. Remarkably, distressingly, Windows still uses IE under the covers in odd circumstances.

    Keep in mind that even Internet Explorer 11 is fading into the sunset. Microsoft isn’t going to spend any money making it better. The owner has already switched horses, over to Microsoft Edge. For now, Edge only runs on Windows 10. In the future…. who knows?

    I’ll repeat a recommendation I’ve made since the Windows XP books: Dump Internet Explorer. Switch to Firefox and/or Chrome for your daily browsing. (Edge isn’t yet up to snuff.) Keep IE around in case you hit a recalcitrant web site — and a clueless or penniless web developer — and only pull it out when absolutely nothing else will work.

    Notes: ‘Softie Pat Altimore has a worthwhile blog about migrating to IE 11 in a corporate environment. Mary Jo Foley has a good overview of the IE 11 Compatibility mode, which may help you with older sites.

  • Microsoft Edge has inherited many of Internet Explorer’s security holes

    Posted on December 9th, 2015 at 11:47 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Looking at recent patch lists for IE and Edge has me wondering how many of IE’s warts will continue to haunt us

    InfoWorld Woody on Windows

  • Update on the ZDI – Internet Explorer 0day post

    Posted on July 24th, 2015 at 11:54 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    I had a chance to talk with someone who’s close to the effort, and can confirm that my original post — while technically correct, and conforming to HP ZDI’s post — didn’t mention that the existing exploits only involved the mobile version of IE.

    Since I figure about two of you probably use the mobile version of IE, that rates an “Ooops. Nevermind.” kinda-sorta retraction.

    Which you can see now on InfoWorld Tech Watch.

  • If you use IE9 or IE10, Security Advisory 2934088 says get patched now

    Posted on February 20th, 2014 at 22:16 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    There’s a Fixit…

    InfoWorld TechWatch

  • Disabling Java in Internet Explorer

    Posted on January 22nd, 2013 at 19:43 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    It’s no easy task.

    InfoWorld Tech Watch.