In preparation for the day when IE9 RTW lands on Windows Update, last week Microsoft also published a blocking toolkit for IT administrators who want to keep the new browser off company machines.
Microsoft rolls out such blocking kits -- which include executable scripts and Group Policy templates -- prior to delivering major upgrades to its operating systems and browser. Last November, for instance, Microsoft published a blocking kit for Windows 7 Service Pack 1 (SP1), the OS upgrade the company will add to Windows Update on Feb. 22.
The toolkit cannot prevent users from manually downloading IE9, however.
IE9 is Microsoft's latest attempt to entice expatriates to return. According to Web analytics company Net Applications, IE's usage share is down by nearly a third since November 2007; last month IE accounted for 56% of all browsers, a historic low.
Users can obtain the IE9 release candidate from Microsoft's Web site. The 32-bit version weighs in at just over 19MB, while the 64-bit version is a 37MB download.
Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at @gkeizer or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed . His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org .
Read more about browsers in Computerworld's Browsers Topic Center.