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Microsoft to start pushing IE 8 browser

The software maker says those who are running older versions of Internet Explorer and have Windows' automatic-update feature on will start getting the browser update next week.

Microsoft said it plans next week to start pushing its Internet Explorer 8 browser to consumers who have Windows' automatic-update feature turned on.

Among IE 8's new features are "accelerators," which let people take actions from within a Web page, such as getting a map or composing an e-mail. CNET

The software maker released the browser for download at last month's Mix conference and had said it planned to start pushing the browser out in the coming days.

"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 IE 8," 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.