If you don

First, the problem was compatibility with retail point of sale systems.

Now that Microsoft has released released Service Pack 3 for thesoon-to-be-phased out Windows XP operating system, users have foundanother problem.

Greg Keizer of Computerworld US filed this report

Microsoft has warned users updating to Windows XP Service Pack 3(SP3) that they won’t be able to downgrade from Internet Explorer 7 tothe older IE6 without uninstalling the service pack.

The warning first appeared in a post Monday to a company blogwritten by the Internet Explorer (IE) development team. Microsoftreleased Windows XP SP3 to Windows Update as an optional downloadTuesday.

“If you choose to install XP SP3, Internet Explorer 7 will remain onyour system after the install is complete,” said Jane Maliouta, an IEprogram manager , in the blog entry. “Your preferences will beretained. However, you will no longer be able to uninstall IE7. If yougo to Control Panel, Add/Remove Programs, the Remove option will begrayed out.”

The inability to downgrade to IE6 after installing XP SP3 was bydesign, said Maliouta, because the service pack includes newer versionsof the old browser’s files. If Microsoft had allowed users to revertback to the pre-SP3 version of IE6 — the one saved on users’ PCs whenthey upgraded to IE7, and until now what was used to back out of thenewer browser — Windows would have ended up in a “mixed file state,”Maliouta said.

“This state is not supported and is very bug prone. To ensure areliable user experience, we prevent this broken state by disabling theability to uninstall Internet Explorer 7,” she said.

Users who want to retain the ability to downgrade from IE7 to IE6should uninstall the former before upgrading to XP SP3. Once Windows XPhas been updated to SP3, users can then install IE7. That processallows for reverting to IE6 in the future.

“The restriction on uninstalling only applies to when you install aWindows Service Pack release on top of a standalone IE release,”Maliouta said.

If Windows XP SP3 has already been installed, the only way to returnto IE6 is to first uninstalled the service pack. At that point, IE6 canbe restored on a PC that’s been updated to IE7.

Microsoft released IE7 in October 2006; it was the first majorupdate to Internet Explorer since August 2001, when IE6 went final.

The newer browser has not been able to usurp IE6, particularly inbusinesses, where it remains Microsoft’s most popular browser.According to a survey released in late March by Forrester Research ,only 30% of corporate Internet Explorer users had switched to IE7 bythe end of 2007. IE6 accounted for nearly all the remaining 70%.
Maliouta also outlined how Windows XP SP3 upgrades affect in-placecopies of IE6 and IE7; in both cases, she said, the currently installedbrowser remains undisturbed by the update.

However, users who have installed IE8 Beta 1 — a preview of itsnewest browser that hit the streets two months ago — will not beoffered Windows XP SP3, according to Maliouta, again because ofpossible instability problems.
“We strongly recommend uninstalling IE8 Beta 1 prior to upgrading toWindows XP SP3 to eliminate any deployment issues,” she said, “andinstall IE8 Beta 1 after XP SP3 is on your machine.”

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