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Microsoft Issues Tool To Block IE 7 Auto Updates

Microsoft on Wednesday released a tool that will let enterprises indefinitely postpone upgrading to the new Internet Explorer 7 browser when it debuts later this year.

Although IE 7 for Windows XP remains in beta testing, the company wanted to offer the blocker now, said Gary Schare, director of product management for IE, because of lessons learned.

"We issued a blocker for Windows XP SP2 after the fact, but it was late in the game," Schare said, talking about a tool that Microsoft rushed into customer's hands in 2004. "With IE 7 we want to give enterprises ample time to deploy the blocker toolkit so that they can test IE 7 on their timeline."

A blocker was also issued in 2005 for Windows Server 2003 SP1 that let enterprises fend off the update until March of this year.

Microsoft's issuing the tool because it plans to distribute IE 7 using its Automatic Updates mechanism. The browser will be tagged as a "high priority" update, which means that everyone using Automatic Updates will receive a notification, no matter what settings they've applied. However, all users will also be given a clear opt-out opportunity, Schare stressed.

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