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article imageInternet Explorer update adds banners to advertise Windows 10

By James Walker     Mar 10, 2016 in Technology
Some users of Internet Explorer on Windows 7 and 8.1 have discovered banner advertisements have begun appearing inside the web browser. The adverts market Windows 10, attempting to convince users to upgrade in yet another unwelcome marketing push.
Windows 7 and 8.1 computers can be upgraded to Windows 10 for free, an offer that Microsoft wants everyone to accept. Recently, it became more aggressive in how it advertises the new operating system to users of old machines, reclassifying the upgrade as "recommended" in a bid to get it onto as many PCs as possible.
Microsoft is still developing new ways to get people thinking about clicking "Install." This week, it launched a new technique, hidden inside a routine update for its Internet Explorer 11 web browser. Used by millions of people worldwide, it will increase the exposure of Windows 10.
The update is classed as a "security update" and installs automatically. Not all of its content relates strictly to security though, as the patch's changelog reveals. Listed under the details of the update is "Updated Internet Explorer 11 capabilities to upgrade Windows 8.1 and Windows 7", confirmed by InfoWorld as a new ad banner that tells users to "Get Windows 10".
Not every Internet Explorer installation appears to be showing the banner. Those that do display a blue strip at the top of the "New tab" page with the message "Microsoft recommends upgrading to Windows 10." The addition is another subtle way for Microsoft to keep pushing consumers towards ultimately making the switch.
Since launch, Windows 10 has been criticized by people who wish to remain on Windows 7 and 8.1. Microsoft appears to have made the marketing assumption that eventually every Windows user will want Windows 10, even though not all have been impressed. Those who are happy with their older version have been faced with gigabytes of unwanted installation files being automatically downloaded, recurring popups and even Windows 10 beginning to install itself without intervention.
The latest development won't please people who still use Windows 7 or 8.1 with Internet Explorer 11. It is becoming increasingly difficult to avoid Windows 10 as a task as simple as opening a new browser tab now displays an advertisement for the operating system.
This week's Internet Explorer update does include a few genuine security fixes to go with the marketing messages. It patches several vulnerabilities in the browser, the most severe of which "could allow remote code execution" and give hackers control of a computer.
Additionally, there are fixes for a few other browser bugs, including poor performance when typing into text input boxes in forms. The update will be installed automatically and includes all its components. Removing the update will remove the Windows 10 ad banner but also the security fixes too, preventing users from simply disabling the message.
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