Microsoft said it plans next week to start pushing its Internet Explorer 8 browser to consumers who have Windows' automatic-update feature turned on.
"Starting on or about the third week of April, users still running IE 6 or IE 7 on Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows Server 2003, or Windows Server 2008 will get will get a notification through Automatic Update about ," Microsoft said, though a representative said on Monday that this will not take place until next week, at the earliest.
The update process will be gradual, with only a small percentage of users seeing the new browser pushed out next week, Microsoft said. Although the code will be downloaded automatically, users will have to opt in to have the browser installed. In addition to saying yes or no, users can also opt to be reminded later.
Businesses will still be able to block the browser download entirely, while those that had been using a prerelease version of IE 8 may already have been prompted for an update.
The release of IE 8, which features a private-browsing mode and greater adherence to Web standards, comes as Microsoft continues to cede browser share to Mozilla's Firefox and other rivals. A version of IE 8 is also being built into Microsoft's upcoming Windows 7 operating system, though users will also be able to turn off the browser.