Microsoft, Mozilla plan new upgrade tactics for Edge, Firefox

Microsoft and Mozilla have spelled out steps they plan to take to streamline the upgrade process for their browsers, Edge and Firefox, respectively.

In March, Microsoft announced it would change how the company updatsd Edge, noting that the current method, which relied on a utility best known for keeping Office applications up to date on Macs, would be awarded a browser-specific servicing module.

“It will solely be responsible for updating Edge-related products and will not be affected (e.g. blocked) by other pending product updates,” Olivia Zhang, program manager, wrote in a March 10 post to a company blog. “Updates will happen automatically and silently, and no out-of-Edge notifications will be shown.”

On unmanaged PCs — those not under the control of an IT administrator — Microsoft now upgrades Edge from one version to another using a tool named Microsoft AutoUpdate, long used to service macOS Office applications like Word, Excel and Outlook. (On Windows devices, Edge is serviced by Windows Update, as are all Microsoft products.)

Microsoft AutoUpdate Microsoft

Microsoft Edge’s current upgrade mechanism is AutoUpdate, which also handles Office applications like Excel.

Transitioning from one Edge to the next — a process that will accelerate to an every-four-week cadence this fall — will also be slightly more graceful. “When you restart the browser when an update is available, your browser will now instantly relaunch with the updated version rather than wait for update to be applied,” Zhang said. Gone will be the delay while the user watches the download occur before a restart is possible.

Enterprise users of Edge, said Zhang, would not see the new upgrade behavior; nor would Windows users of the browser. In other words, current processes in managed environments will continue to receive all Edge updates via established IT-directed channels, like Windows Server Update Services (WSUS), Windows Update for Business (WUfB) and Endpoint Manager’s Intune and Configuration Manager.

Copyright © 2021 IDG Communications, Inc.

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