Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.

IE7 has been out for over a year now, and while continuing to run IE6 remains an option, there's no real reason not to upgrade.

I have a laptop that has Windows XP installed. I am working with Internet Explorer 6. Should I update to IE7? Some people told me there are a lot of problems with 7. I keep getting pop ups to upgrade. Should I?

I'm a little concerned about those popups, but my short answer is yes, I believe that it is now safe to do so.

In fact, you might have to at some point.

Let's review how you should prepare, and how you should upgrade...

IE7 has been out for over a year now and while it has some user interface differences that I find a little annoying, it appears to be quite stable and usable for most people. Certainly no mater what browser you use, there will always be a few people who have a problem; that's not unique to IE7. By and large IE7 seems to be doing quite ok.

Like I said, I'm a little concerned that you're getting a pop-up. I'm actually unaware of any pop-up notification for the IE7 upgrade, but I could be wrong. I would not click on that popup to perform the upgrade, that's for certain.

"After you've installed IE7 you'll have a few changes to get used to."

I would, however, take these steps:

  • Back up. Back up your entire system. This is just good practice whenever you're about to perform a major upgrade. IE7 definitely qualifies as "major" simply because IE is such an integral part of Windows.

  • Set a Restore Point. I actually have very mixed feelings about restore points, since they don't restore everything people expect them to, but it certainly doesn't hurt to set one before your install. (Even though, I believe, the install will also automatically set a restore point.)

  • Visit the Windows Update web site. There you will see a list of available updates, both critical and non-critical, that are available for your machine. IE7 should be one of them. Select it and proceed with the installation.

After you've installed IE7 you'll have a few changes to get used to. The location of some of the commonly used controls have changed, for example. You'll also have an opportunity to begin using "tabbed browsing", a convenient way to keep multiple web sites open in the browser without having to have many, many browser windows open.

You'll note that I mentioned above that at some point you might have to upgrade to IE7. The rumor (and it is only a rumor, to my best knowledge) is that the IE7 upgrade will become mandatory at some point and that IE6 will no longer be supported.

On a personal note, while I have installed IE7 on my machines, I actually run Firefox as my primary browser. It's somewhat safer, and I find many of the extensions available for Firefox very useful. I still use IE7 for a handful of web sites that still require it.

Article C3283 - February 4, 2008 « »

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Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

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10 Comments
Dave Smithson
February 5, 2008 1:16 AM

What about the three F's? For me its Firefox, Firefox, Firefox. It's faster, safer, much less problematic and far more versatile. I installed IE7 last year, and with the final re-boot to finish the installation, XP would not restart - locked completely, had to take it back to the shop, cost me 115.00 and I lost some of my files. I was very annoyed, this was a Microsoft download, on a three month old computer. Thank goodness we have the likes of Firefox, thunderbird etc. Dave

Mary
February 6, 2008 7:55 AM

I've been using XP Pro w/SP2 and IE6. Based on this article I decided to install IE7 and give it a try. In short, it was a nightmare. Before anyone says I must have had some issues with my computer prior to trying to install IE7, nothing could be further from the truth. Everything was working perfectly. I had all hotfixes, security updates, etc installed. I've passed every WGA scan Microsoft ever threw at me. My antivirus (CA 2008), antispyware (Windows Defender), etc are all up to date and prior to downloading IE7 I scanned with two additional AV and AS programs.

I went to the official Microsoft download site ( http://www.microsoft.com/windows/downloads/ie/getitnow.mspx ). I disabled my AV, AS, and firewall as requested. I made sure there were no other running programs. The various Wizards did their thing and after about 20 minutes I got a dialog box that said the download was complete but the internet connection to Windows Updates (to get needed IE7 hotfixes, etc) failed. That was my first clue that something was terribly wrong with IE7. I was prompted to restart my computer, open IE7, then click on Tools, Windows Update.

I went through the usual scan to make sure my computer passed the WGA and had the necessary ActiveX (it did.) And then I waited. And waited. And waited some more. Finally, I got Error 0x80072EE2. Basically, this error says there was a problem accessing Windows Update (well, DUH!) and offered numerous ways to try to solve the problem. One of the suggestions was to add Windows Update to the IE7 trusted sites list! Would someone please explain why a Microsoft website that is needed to update IE7 needs to be added to the IE7 trusted sites list??? ( http://support.microsoft.com/kb/836941 ).

At that point I decided IE7 still has some very serious issues and I immediately went to the Control Panel to uninstall it. Thankfully the uninstall wizard worked and IE6 is back on my machine. For those who have been able to install IE7 on their XP, I'm happy for you. Really, I am. But something is very wrong when a product that's been out for over a year requires major "tweaks" like those suggested in KB836941. And that KB article, dated 12/5/07, is on Revision # 22.2 --- so apparently this is a continuing issue and Microsoft has NOT been able to fix the problem once and for all.

Carl R. Goodwin
February 8, 2008 6:08 PM

I use Firefox as my default browser, but I find that there are STILL some sites out there that do not render properly, unless you use IE(7). I wish there was some type of standard. Still, the positives (extensions) that are available for FF outweigh the negatives. It's funny how Microsoft still can't figure out what people (their customers) want, and actually charge people for the handful of extensions that ARE available for IE7. Go figure!

Gregory Harris
February 9, 2008 8:29 AM

Hi, Sorry but my finger slipped as I started to type and this is why you find posted by anonymous and I am sorry Leo and as far as IE 7 I have had no problems other than just some sites will not work with out it but Firefox is great and he should have no problem going to IE 7 but I also found that if you use Firefox do not and I repeat do not delete IE7 otherwise Firefox will give you fits why I do not know why but maybe it is the operator and my computer. Thank You

George Arauz
February 9, 2008 4:43 PM

Either that or switch to Firefox.. Less virus latchers

Ken Crook
February 9, 2008 9:55 PM

I also get ppop-ups from Windows Update, about once a month, to download IE7, even though I have told Windows Update not to notify me about IE7.

I go by the theory "If it's not broken don't fix it". IE6 works and the few people I know who installed IE7 did not like it and immediately uninstalled it.

When Microsoft stops supporting IE6 and IE7 becomes mandatory I will have to install it, but until then I will stick with IE6.

Mary
February 15, 2008 11:35 AM

This is a repeat of a comment I tried to post on 2/6 but it got deleted. When I tried to install IE7 from the official MS site on my XP Pro w/SP2, I received Error 0x80072EE2. This says I wasn't able to connect to Windows Update. It referred me to this KB article which suggested I should add Windows Update to the IE7 trusted user site.

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/836941

Why would IE7 not recognize Windows Update as a legitimate and safe site? I reverted back to IE6 and had no problem accessing WU. I tried downloading IE7 from an alternate MS site and had the same problem.

My computer is free of malware and I followed all MS install instructions. This leads me to believe IE7 still has some issues. Likewise, MS warns not to attempt a Repair Install of XP without first going back to IE6. Presumably this warning would also apply to a System File Check since the same install disk is used to repair/replace files.

Seems to me there are more than enough IE7 issues to avoid it until absolutely necessary. Just as an aside, I've had no problems at all with Firefox. Pretty sad that a 3rd party app works better than the "real deal".

Mr. Man
February 18, 2008 4:44 AM

I have used it since the public beta, totally safe to use, and I love it, its gewd.

Joel
June 26, 2008 4:34 PM

What is it that Firefox makes your computer more "secure" from than IE7 (or any IE for that matter)? I have NEVER gotten an answer about this question, all I read is "Firefox is more secure" but never from WHAT exactly? It's very vague and pushes me to the limits of sanity thinking about. I can go to the local Volvo dealer and ask them "What can the S-80 protect me from that the Ford Escort can't?" and have the dealer tell me everything the Volvo has that the Escort doesn't and why the S-80 is safer. BUT can I get that sort of information about what Firefox (or IE) "secures" me from? NO!

I am in need of a comprehensive side by side list of what Firefox secures me from vs what IE secures me from (or does not secure me from). Then I can compare the two and make a sound judgement. I have never found this, only the vague "its more secure" statement. So until that time I will stick to IE.

Okay that was my rant for the day. Thank you.

Leo
June 28, 2008 9:43 AM

-----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
Hash: SHA1

In my opinion (and some will disagree - even violently -
with me on this) the single biggest reason that FireFox is
more secure is that more people use IE. The authors of
malware choose to target the bugs and vulnerabilities in IE
- - that way when they are successfull they'll have a larger
base of users that they can infect.

Like all software, FF has bugs and security vulnerabilities.
Peraps fewer than Internet Explorer, but there are bugs. But
if FF had 80% market share (which it might someday), I think
you'll find that it will start being exploited as well.

I think that FireFox may be built on a more solid code base
(fewer bugs), and being open source more accessible to peer
review (fewer vulnerabilities), and being a non-corporate
product FF will probably be able to respond to issues more
quickly. But there will still be issues.

Personally I prefer FireFox not because I feel any more
secure, but because I like its feature set and extensibility
options better.

Leo


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