Microsoft has announced that we will distribute Internet Explorer 7 as a high-priority update via Automatic Updates after the final version of Internet Explorer 7 is released for Windows XP (planned for the 4th quarter of 2006). A non-expiring Blocker Toolkit is available for organizations that want to block automatic delivery within their environment.


Why Microsoft Is Taking This Action

The new security features in Internet Explorer 7 (including “defense in depth” measures such as ActiveX Opt-In and Phishing Filter) provide significant security benefits, and Microsoft will recommend that all customers install the update. Automatic Updates is being used to distribute Internet Explorer 7 because it is Microsoft’s primary means for helping unmanaged users become more secure and up-to-date. (Note that Microsoft will continue to release security updates to fix identified security vulnerabilities for Internet Explorer 6.)


Key Details


· 4th Quarter of 2006 activity provides advance notice: Automatic distribution will begin shortly after the IE7 RTM version is released, planned for the 4th quarter of 2006. Final timeline for automatic distribution will be determined when the IE7 release date is set.

· Free Blocker Toolkit available for customers: Organizations relying on AU for patch management in some or all of their environments may wish to delay IE7 deployment (for example, to allow additional time for intranet site compatibility testing or user training). In those situations, customers may choose to deploy a non-expiring Blocker Toolkit (similar to the one used for Windows XP SP2) prior to IE 7 RTM. The Blocker Toolkit is available in the Microsoft Download Center at The Blocker Toolkit includes both a Group Policy template and a script that set a registry key to prevent Automatic Updates and the Windows Update and Microsoft Update sites from offering Internet Explorer 7 as a high-priority update. 


· IE7 will not install without user consent: As part of the delivery, AU will notify users once the update is ready to install and will present a welcome screen summarizing key features and offering users options of “Install,” Don’t Install,” and “Ask Me Later.” Installation will not occur unless a user who is a local administrator chooses “Install.” A draft of the welcome screen is include below.