This post walks through the IE setup experience and the choices it offers users. There have been a bunch of web postings recently that have described aspects of IE setup and first run, not entirely accurately. We hope this information clarifies some of your questions about upgrading to IE8 on Windows Vista or Windows XP machines. (While the scenario where IE8 gets installed as part of Windows 7 is essentially the same, this post is focused on the upgrade scenarios that most users will encounter today.)
In case you missed it Jane, Eric and the Microsoft Update team have provided some great blog posts about how IE8 is offered to users via Automatic Updates and Windows Updates. I’m not going into more details about the installation process in this post but I do want to emphasize that IE8 is not installed unless the user chooses to do so.
After the user chooses to install IE8 on XP or Vista, the first time the user runs IE8, they are presented with a settings wizard which contains options for customizing their browsing experience. The goal of the IE setup experience is to put IE users in control of their settings and respect existing defaults.
Though the setup wizard, users can customize the following options:
- Default browser (Note that the user is only asked about this if IE is not already the default provider. If IE7 was the default browser, this question is not asked.)
- Default search provider
- Default Accelerators
- SmartScreen Filter
- Compatibility View updates
- Suggested Sites
- Search Provider Updates
IE shows the setup wizard the first time IE8 is launched after it is installed. This first-run experience is consistent, regardless how the user received IE8 (manual download, or AU/WU). In the event that the user chooses not to make their selections when the wizard is presented (for example by closing the wizard or hitting the “Ask me Later” option) the wizard will return 24 hours later and ask again. The user can continue deferring their selections. The wizard will continue to return until the user clicks the "next" button. (If the user never launches IE8, they will never be presented with the first-run wizard, and their existing defaults and settings would remain unchanged.)
Until the user has made their selections, existing settings are respected; any defaults which were migrated remain as the default and features which the user has not yet enabled remain disabled. Your Search and Accelerator default providers remain available to you; however, SmartScreen, Suggested Sites and Compatibility View updates remain off until you choose your settings.
IE will never become the default browser without your explicit consent. If setup detects another browser is the default, that browser remains the default. If you close the settings wizard without choosing your settings, your existing default browser will remain the default. Consistent with industry practices for installing a new browser, both the Express and Custom options offer the user the ability to change the default browser if it’s not IE. The user must make an explicit choice here; neither option is pre-selected for the user.
Here are the first three screens in the wizard:
Screen 1: Welcome
Screen 2: Suggested sites
Screen 3: Express setup or Custom setup
At this point, if the user selects express, then the options listed under Express are confirmed and the user is done with the wizard. (Note that if the user had another search provider as their default, that is what would have appeared in the screen shot shown above in place of "Live Search.") If the user chooses custom, then each question is presented individually as seen below.
Screen 4: Default Search provider
Note that the default search provider is migrated from the users’ IE7 default provider. If you had Google as your default provider in IE7 that is what you would be offered in this settings wizard. Also note that neither check box is selected by default, so the user is in control.
Screen 5: Search Provider Updates
Screen 6: Default Accelerators
Screen 7: SmartScreen Filter
Screen 8: Default Browser
Screen 9: Compatibility View Updates
In creating the settings wizard, we tried to strike a balance between getting users up and running as quickly as possible and providing the right level of customization. Regardless of what options are chosen, we want all users to be in control of their settings.