Oh the times they are a’changin. It seems like it was only yesterday that I loaded up Windows 7 and had my nice comfortable Internet Explorer 8, but alas, they grow up so fast and now it is time to bid a fond farewell to IE 8 and look to IE 9. As administrators this presents a whole slew of problems for us. Should we deploy the new version? Will all of our web interfaces work with it? Let us not forget the most frequent question that is voiced mostly by IT professionals and my five year old alike: DO I HAVE TO?
Quite frankly, No you don’t, and to deploy or not to deploy is the question that each organization must answer for itself. That being said, there are a few tools to help you deploy, or not deploy.
The first is the Internet Explorer Administration Kit. Every version of IE that is released has a corresponding IEAK (pronounced EEEK as in someone screaming) for that version. The IEAK will allow you to customize every facet of Internet Explorer including putting your company’s name in the title bar, configuring proxy settings, and even forcing a standard automatic configuration that will refresh at an interval wiping out any other changes that have been made by the user. This powerful tool is free to download from Microsoft and we go over it in detail (video Part 1, and Part 2) as part of our ongoing Windows 7 Accelerate with System Center how to videos along with the next tool in your arsenal-Med-V.
It’s a fact of life that some of us out there are still using web programs that don’t play nice with IE9 or 8 or 7. Yes, we would like to upgrade but there are numerous factors out there that can keep us from doing so. If that is the case then it is Med-V to the rescue. Med-V is part of the Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack (free for Software Assurance customers) that allows you to run applications that do not function on Windows 7 by utilizing a Virtual Machine that interfaces with Windows 7 seamlessly to the user. Do you have an old accounting package that only runs on XP? No problem, have its icon show up in the Windows 7 Start Menu and have it run with an invisible VM in the background (which is really running the program). All the user will see is the program. The best thing is that if it can do it with a really old accounting package then it can also do it with Internet Explorer 6. No longer will your OS deployments be postponed while you wait for your web interface to be updated.
There is another option on the table as well. If your current version of Internet Explorer works on Windows 7 (IE7, IE8) then don’t upgrade. You have the option of not approving the update in you Software Update Solution, and you don’t have to upgrade……yet.