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Internet Explorer 8 is being pushed out through Windows Update and Automatic Updates. If you're not ready, there are ways to block the IE8 update.
In a prior article, I discussed uninstalling Internet Explorer 8 once it had been installed.
IE8 is now also becoming available via automatic updates. While it's not a required update, it is marked as "important" and will persist such that if you do nothing else you'll need to turn it off each time.
We'll look at how to turn it off, and keep it off, in Windows XP.
You should have automatic updates turned on, but in most cases configured "notify" or "download and notify" so that you can choose both when to install updates and - as in a situation like this - which updates to install.
If you do so you'll eventually get this icon:
Click on it, and you'll get the list of available updates:
Now you can, as I've done here, simply uncheck the IE8 offering, and proceed with the update. Once you do so, you'll get this option:
Check the "don't notify me" option, and proceed with your update.
If you visit the Windows Update web site to get your updates, you'll be asked "Express" or "Custom":
Always select Custom to keep track of what Windows Update is about to do to your machine.
You will likely see the following "High Priority": update:
Uncheck the checkbox to deselect the install, and click on the boxed plus sign to expand the description (this may happen automatically):
Check the box labeled "Don't show this update again", and proceed with the rest of the update.
Now, after doing so, you'll likely see the following warning, either immediately or the next time you return to Windows Update:
Obviously, Microsoft considers Internet Explorer 8 an important update.
The good news is that hiding the update in Automatic Updates and in Windows Update appear to be linked. So when the time comes that you want to install Internet Explorer 8, you can simply return here to Windows Update and click the "Restore them now" link.
But until then, you can continue to say "no thanks" and keep control of what gets installed, and not be annoyed by the persistent "you have updates" icon.
One last option: Microsoft has made available a small utility to block IE8 updates. This utility is designed for administrators of large numbers of computers, but can be used by individuals as well. It's a small batch file that you run in a Windows Command Shell. In essence, it does what's been described above, except that it does appear to remove the "You've Hidden Important Updates" warning as well.
It also has a switch which, when the time comes, allows you to reverse the action. It appears to work at a slightly higher level than the Windows Update work above, since after reversing the action of this utility you may still need to visit Windows Update enable the hidden important updates.
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