IE7 to be distributed by Automatic Update
Microsoft will distribute Internet Explorer 7 as a high-priority update via Automatic Updates soon after the final version is released for Windows XP, planned for the fourth quarter of 2006. Sorry... when it comes to precise dates, those who know will not say, and those who say cannot know ;-)
Some important notes... firstly, although IE7 will be offered via Automatic Updates, Automatic Updates will first notify users when Internet Explorer 7 is ready to install and then show a welcome screen that presents key features and the choices to “Install, “Don’t Install” or “Ask Me Later.” In short, you won't be forced to install it, it won't be a silent install, it won't be a hidden install.
Secondly, I will have another gem to share with you regarding the installation, but can't tell you what that is without permission.. suffice to say the team has been reading the IE groups, and has been taking on board what is being said, and has addressed a pretty important issue.... there are a lot of people who are going to be awfully pleased.
Thirdly, Microsoft will provide a free Internet Explorer 7 Blocker Toolkit for enterprise customers who may want to block automatic delivery of Internet Explorer 7 in their organization. The Blocker Toolkit will *not* expire and will include a Group Policy template and an executable script. The Blocker Toolkit will be/is available from the Microsoft Download Center to provide ample lead time for deployment. Additional information for IT administrators will be/is at the Windows Update/Microsoft Update site on TechNet.
The installer will automatically remove any beta versions of IE7 that area already on the machine.
More info and screenshots are available on the IE blog: