Post-growth rapid thermal annealing has been performed with In(Ga)As quantum dots (QDs) at different strain statuses. It is confirmed that the strain-enhanced interdiffusion decreases the inhomogeneous size distribution. The preferential lateral interdiffusion of QDs during annealing was observed. we attribute it to the naturally anisotropic strain distribution in/around the dots and the saturation of strain difference between the base boundary and the top of the dots. There exist strain-enhanced mechanism and vacancy diffusion enhanced mechanism during the annealing. As to which one dominates the QD interdiffusion depends on the thickness of capping layer and the annealing temperature. (C) 2002 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.