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Automatic Update scares some but it's the primary way most people get Internet Explorer 7. I'm not scared, but I'll show some alternatives anyway.
Now that IE7 is available to XP users without the Windows Genuine Advantage check a number of my friends want to try it out on their Win-XP Home or XP-Pro.
I understand you need to turn on windows auto update. This has a lot of people concerned that they may get more than they bargained for, myself included. This stems from the recent microsoft 'stealth' updates a few weeks back I think.
My question! Is there a way to get IE7 without turning on the auto update? Can you run IE7 next to or with IE6 on the same machine?
Taking your questions in reverse order:
Let me expand on each of those.
IE7 is an update to IE6.
That means that if IE6 is on your machine then installing IE7 will simply replace it. There's no easy way to have both on at the same time, as it's simply not designed for it.
So you're welcome to try, but you'll most likely end up with only IE7.
Now, I keep saying "there's no easy way", because of course there is a hard way.
I won't go into much detail here since it really is well beyond the needs of most typical computer users, but one approach is to use Virtual Machine technology such as that offered by Parallels or VMWare. You could run several separate instances of Windows XP in different VM's and each instance could have a different version of IE installed.
It's non-trivial and it's a bit of work, but it's possible.
Automatic Update is not Evil
I know that there are many people who disagree strongly with that position, and I'm not going to convince them otherwise.
However, all my machines have Windows Automatic Updates turned on, and unless you really know what you're doing, I strongly recommend the same. Windows Automatic Updates enabled helps keep you protected, well, automatically.
So what about the 'stealth' update that everyone's so concerned about?
My position is simple:
The actual stealth update was benign in intent. (It was a simple update to the updater itself.) Yes, unfortunately the update did have a bug. This can happen to any update, stealth or not.
The problem with stealth update was more about disclosure than technology. The disclosure, or rather the lack of disclosure or documentation, was bungled by Microsoft.
There are many more ways other than automatic updates that Microsoft or any software vendor could be using to put unexpected things on your machine. If you really don't trust Microsoft or any software vendor to that degree you probably shouldn't be using their software.
For the vast majority of people the risk of not running Automatic Updates in my opinion far outweighs any perceived risks of running it. It's simply too easy to miss a critical update or miss taking it in a timely fashion.
So, as you can gather, I'd have you use Windows Automatic Update and take IE7 that way.
But what if you still don't want to?
Getting IE7 Manually
There are two approaches to getting IE7 without using Automatic Updates.
The Windows Update Website: If you visit the Windows Update site, you'll be informed of many updates that are available for your computer. Bungled "stealth" updates aside, Windows Automatic Updates only includes "Critical" updates. The Windows Update site includes additional updates as well, and more importantly, let's you pick and choose which you want to have installed. So, pick IE7.
Download IE7 yourself: Internet Explorer has its own page on the Microsoft web site, and from there you can download and install IE7 directly. In additional, that page includes links to Microsoft's comparisons of IE6 and IE7 and their take on why it's worth upgrading.
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