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9/21/2005
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Microsoft Will Refresh IE 7 Beta 1

Microsoft plans to roll out a refresh of its first beta of Internet Explorer 7 before releasing a second beta, company executives told testers in an online chat earlier this month.

Microsoft will roll out a refresh of its first beta of Internet Explorer 7 (IE 7) prior to releasing a second beta, Microsoft executives told beta testers in an online chat earlier this month.

"We are working on a plan to release a refresh of the stand-alone IE 7 beta 1 build sometime before the beta 2 release," said Jason Watters, a program manager on the IE team, during the chat. "The plan is to include a refresh for IE 7 for Windows XP SP2 as well as a build of IE 7 for Windows Server 2003 SP1."

None of the several Microsoft officials taking part in the chat, however, would commit to a date for the release of the second beta. Previously, Microsoft has only said it would be sometime during 2006.

Other information tidbits given out by the IE team during the chat ranged from a confirmation that IE 7 will not include a download manager-like tool (similar, perhaps, to Firefox's) to acknowledgement that unlike the previews of Windows Vista, IE 7 will not be issued to testers in monthly builds.

Nor will IE 7 come with the upcoming-but-not-yet-scheduled Windows XP Service Pack 3 (SP3).

"Our current plan is to continue to ship IE 6 on XP SP3, but IE 7 will be supported on XPSP3," said Anurag Jain, another IE program manager.

The chat wasn't a fount of news, however. In fact, many questions from chat attendees received the stock answer of "thanks for the feedback. We will be making changes for better user experience."

Still, the Microsoft execs said that IE 7 would be worth the wait. When asked to name the most innovative feature of the new browser, Dave Massy, senior program manager for the IE group, called out the protected mode IE 7 will use when running under Windows Vista. "Of all the work we are doing I'd have to say Protected Mode. This work is pioneering in terms of security and needs the security infrastructure in Windows Vista so unfortunately this is a Vista-only feature," Massy said.

The first betas of Internet Explorer 7 -- in two versions, one for Vista, the other for XP -- were released the last week of July.

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