Thursday, October 19, 2006

Updated: Head's up! IE7 is coming

If you haven’t heard about the upcoming, imminent release of Internet Explorer 7, then let me be the first to tell you.

IE7is coming and will be sent to you in a manner you aren’t used to getting new software. This latest incarnation, touted to be the best and moste secure web browser Microsoft has made, will be coming to you via your computer’s automatic updates feature. Yes, your pc will automatically download IE7.

So, why am I writing about this on AccessAbility?

The reason is simple. IE7 will hit the automatic update circuit somewhere around November 1 and unless one is running the latest versions of many of the assistive software programs, blind and visually impaired computer users will have difficulty interacting with it. This will effectively shutt out those who rely on older versions of assistive technology to get information from the web. This could be you, if you use an older version of a screen reader or magnifier, but will also impact any of your students who use these either on campus or at home.

You will notice I directed the impact on students to computers on campus and home. Think about which computers you have on campus that are equipped with a screen reader or magnifier. If those computers are set to automatic updates, they will be affected. Installing IE7 may exclude the very students these computers are set up to accommodate. Also, it may be a good idea to give your students a head’s up so they can take action on their personal machine at home before Nov. 1 rolls around.

To help guide you through this troublesome period of upgrades, I offer the following from Rehabilitation Engineer Geoff Howard. This was originally posted on the NHBlind-Talk list.
• If your computer is set to automatically download and install critical updates, you could turn on your computer some morning and find that you’ve been updated. The current versions of most assistive technology products are not fully compatible with Internet Explorer 7.
• My first recommendation is to set the automatic updates feature to “Notify me but don’t automatically download or install”. This can be found in the Control Panel, under Automatic Updates. You’ll be able to view a list of available updates as they are released, just make sure not to choose the Internet Explorer 7 update yet.
• Internet Explorer 7 turns on “Clear Type” by default, which may cause some video corruption for large print users. This can be turned off in the Internet Options, Advanced Tab.
• ZoomText users: Ai Squared working on ZoomText version 9.04. This will be a free update to users of the version 9 product. Version 9.04 will be compatible with Internet Explorer 7. The release is expected in November. You can check for the update in ZoomText by going to “Check for Program Updates” in the ZoomText programs help menu.
• JAWS Users: JAWS 7.0 and earlier do not support Internet Explorer 7. JAWS 7.10 is recommended for testing, but JAWS will not be fully optimized for Internet Explorer 7 until the release of JAWS 8.0.
• MAGic Users: Version 9.50 and later can be tested with Internet Explorer 7.
• Window-Eyes: GW Micro has some registry tweaks for some items that they have found in IE 7. Information can be found in the knowledge base section of their web site. They detail support for IE 7 in the information section for beta 6, which can be found at


Wayne Merritt, a technology trainer at the Texas training center for the blind read this post and added the following.

“From what I understand, there will be a prompt that asks you if you want to install the new IE right now (or whenever you see it), later, or not at all.
You will be able to select a choice and go on from there. Thus, is not necessary, nor recommended in my view anyway, to alter how automatic updates behave.
Microsoft uses this facility to issue updates to what it defines as critical security flaws in its software. Changing how you receive automatic updates could prevent you from getting one of these security udpates, thus putting your system at risk. So, the bottom line, if you don't have a current version of the appropriate screen reader that supports IE 7, you will be able to choose to install it later, or not at all. Also, JAWS 8.0 and Window Eyes 6.0 will be able to be used with IE 7. JAWS 8 should be out sometime this month, and I'm not sure about Window Eyes. Check the GW Micro website
for more details.”

Thanks for the added insight Wayne

1 comment:

Ron Graham said...
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