Sunday, October 1, 2006

Preparing for the impending IE7 release


By David Gewirtz

Like a hurricane on the horizon (which, fortunately, we've managed to avoid this season), Internet Explorer 7 is getting closer and closer. In fact, if reports are to be believed, IE7 is about the make landfall in the next few days -- and it's coming to your PC whether you want it or not. In this important article, we show you how to prevent it from automatically installing.

To be fair, IE7 looks like it will be a considerable improvement over the very long-in-the-tooth IE6. Added to IE7 is a new, more modern look, tabbed browsing (finally!), better printing, RSS feeds, multiple search providers, and -- the big one -- better security.

As it's planned, IE7 will automatically download to your computer via Windows Update in the next week or so. One day, you'll start up your computer and you'll be running IE7 instead of IE6. Because IE7 is likely to be a better piece of software, that could be a good thing. But because IE7 is bound to have some compatibility problems, it could also be a bad thing.

If you want IE7, don't do a thing. It'll be there shortly.

But if you're concerned that IE7 might break some critical applications you rely on, like banking, accounting, or something specific for your company, you may want to avoid the update. Because this procedure is poorly documented and the update is on its way very shortly, we're running this Security Alert in all of the ZATZ magazines.

Now, we're not saying you'll never want to install the update. Frankly, we can't wait to start using IE7. But if you do have some key Web sites or applications you count on, we recommend contacting them first, confirming that IE7 is fully supported, and then installing IE7. By the way, if you do decide to disable the update, you can always, later, go back to Windows Update and tell it to explicitly install the new IE.

How to disable the update

If you do choose to avoid the update, you'll have to explicitly download a Microsoft tool to turn off the automatic delivery of IE7. This blocker toolkit is available from Microsoft at

When you go to the page listed (do it in IE rather than Firefox or Microsoft will whine at you), you may need to install Microsoft's Genuine Validation plug-in. Yeah, no matter what, you're going to need to add some software.

Next, you'll be able to click the Download button and download the blocker tool. Download the tool to your desktop, but don't run it yet. Before you run it, you'll need to create a temporary folder somewhere on your computer. The easiest is to create a folder called "temp" right on C drive (this will become C:&#92temp). Our reason for putting it at the top level of the C drive will become apparent in a bit.