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Internet Explorer 7

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Windows Internet Explorer 7 Vista Windows Internet Explorer 7 (IE7) (codenamed Rincon) is a web browser for Windows. It has been retired on all Windows versions except Windows Embedded Compact 2013. It was released by Microsoft on October 18, 2006, as the seventh version of Internet Explorer and the successor to Internet Explorer 6. Internet Explorer 7 is part of a long line of versions of Internet Explorer and was the first major update to the browser since 2001. It was the default browser in Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008 (later default was Internet Explorer 9), as well as Windows Embedded POSReady 2009 (later default was Internet Explorer 8), and can replace Internet Explorer 6 on Windows XP and Windows Server 2003, but unlike version 6, this version does not support Windows ME or earlier versions of Windows. It also does not support Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2 or later Windows Versions.

Internet Explorer 7 requires Windows XP SP2 or Windows Server 2003 SP1 at the minimum. It is the last version of Internet Explorer that supports Windows XP x64 Edition RTM and Windows Server 2003 SP1; as the following version, Internet Explorer 8, only supports Windows XP x64 Edition SP2 and Windows Server 2003 SP2. Some portions of the underlying architecture, including the rendering engine and security framework, have been improved. New features include tabbed browsing, page zooming, an integrated search box, a feed reader, better internationalization, and improved support for web standards, although it does not pass the Acid2 or Acid3 tests. Security enhancements include a phishing filter, stronger encryption on Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008 (256-bit from 128-bit in Windows XP and Windows Server 2003), and a "Delete browsing history" button to easily clear private data. It is also the first version of Internet Explorer which is branded and marketed under the name 'Windows', instead of 'Microsoft'. IE7 shipped as the default browser in Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008 and was offered as a replacement for Internet Explorer 6 for Windows Server 2003 and Windows XP. IE7 was superseded by Internet Explorer 8 in March 2009.

Support for Internet Explorer 7 will end on October 10, 2023 alongside the end of support for Windows Embedded Compact 2013. Support for Internet Explorer 7 on other Windows versions ended on January 12, 2016 when Microsoft began requiring customers to use the latest version of Internet Explorer available for each Windows version.


Table of contents
  1. History
  2. Features
  3. System requirements

History

In August 2001, Microsoft released Internet Explorer 6 as an update to Windows NT 4.0 with Service Pack 6a, Windows 98, Windows 2000 and Windows ME from previous Internet Explorer versions, such as Internet Explorer 5 and included it by default in Windows XP and Windows Server 2003. With the release of IE6 Service Pack 1 in 2002, Microsoft announced that future upgrades to Internet Explorer would come only through future upgrades to Windows, stating that "further improvements to IE will require enhancements to the underlying OS."

On February 15, 2005 at the RSA Conference in San Francisco, Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates announced that Microsoft was planning a new version of Internet Explorer that would run on Windows XP. Both he and Dean Hachamovitch, General Manager of the Internet Explorer team, cited needed security improvements as the primary reason for the new version.

The first beta of IE7 was released on July 27, 2005 for technical testing, and a first public preview version of Internet Explorer 7 (Beta 2 preview: Pre-Beta 2 version) was released on January 31, 2006.

The final public version was released on October 18, 2006. On the same day, Yahoo! provided a post-beta version of Internet Explorer 7 bundled with Yahoo! Toolbar and other Yahoo!-specific customizations.

In late 2007 Microsoft announced that IE7 would not be included as part of Windows XP SP3, with both Internet Explorer 6 and 7 receiving updates. Most PC manufacturers, however, have pre-installed Internet Explorer 7 (as well as 8) on new XP PC's, especially netbooks.

On October 8, 2007, Microsoft removed the Windows Genuine Advantage component of IE7, allowing it to be downloaded and installed by those without a genuine copy of Windows.

Within a year after IE7's release (end of 2006 to end of 2007) support calls to Microsoft had decreased 10-20%.

On December 16, 2008, a security flaw was found in Internet Explorer 7 which can be exploited so that crackers can steal users' passwords. The following day, a patch was issued to fix the flaw, estimated to have affected around 10,000 websites.

As of May2012, estimates of IE7's global market share were 1.5-5%.

Release history
Features

With this version, Internet Explorer was renamed from Microsoft Internet Explorer to Windows Internet Explorer as part of Microsoft's rebranding of components that are included with Windows.

Internet Explorer 7 introduces the Windows RSS Platform with which it is tightly integrated and can subscribe to RSS and Atom feeds, synchronize and update them on a schedule and display them with its built-in style sheet.

Version 7 is intended to defend users from phishing as well as deceptive or malicious software, and it also features full user control of ActiveX and better security framework, including not being integrated as much with Windows as previous versions, thereby increasing security. Unlike previous versions, the Internet Explorer ActiveX control is not hosted in the Windows Explorer process, but rather it runs in its own process. It also includes bug fixes, enhancements to its support for web standards, tabbed browsing with tab preview and management, a multiple-engine search box, a web feeds reader, Internationalized Domain Name support (IDN), and antiphishing filter. On October 5, 2007, Microsoft removed the 'genuine software' validation before install, which means that all versions of Windows, whether able to pass validation or not, are able to install the browser. The integrated search box supports OpenSearch.

On Windows Vista, Internet Explorer operates in a special "Protected Mode", that runs the browser in a security sandbox that has no WRITE access to the rest of the operating system or file system. When running in Protected Mode, IE7 is a low integrity process; it cannot gain write access to files and registry keys outside of the low-integrity portions of a user's profile. This feature aims to mitigate problems whereby newly discovered flaws in the browser (or in Add-Ons hosted inside it) allowed crackers to subversively install software on the user's computer (typically spyware).

Usability and accessibility Privacy and security Microsoft has addressed security issues in two distinct ways within Windows Vista: User Account Control, which forces a user to confirm any action that could affect the stability or security of the system even when logged in as an administrator, and "Protected-mode IE", which runs the web browser process with much lower permissions than the user.

The first vulnerability exclusive to Internet Explorer 7 was posted after 6 days.

Internet Explorer 7 is a component of Windows Embedded Compact 7 and Windows Embedded Compact 2013 and follows the same lifecycle, thus it will continue to be supported until October 10, 2023.

Phishing filter

Some users have criticised the phishing filter for being too easy to circumvent. One successful method of bypassing Internet Explorer's Phishing Filter has been reported by redirecting a blacklisted web page to another, non-blacklisted page, using a server-side redirect. Until the new page is blocked as well, the attack can remain active.

This flaw means that phishers can keep links from previous emails functioning by simply moving to a new server when their original web page is blacklisted and adding a redirect.

This has been criticised as doubly serious as the presence of a phishing filter may lull users into a false sense of security when the filter can be bypassed.

Phishing filter went on to be developed into and renamed Safety Filter and then SmartScreen by Microsoft, during the development of Internet Explorer 8.

Standards support

Internet Explorer 7 adds support for per-pixel alpha transparency in PNG, as well as minor improvements to HTML, CSS and DOM support. Microsoft's stated goal with version 7 was to fix the most significant bugs and areas which caused the most trouble for developers, however full compatibility with standards was postponed.

Internet Explorer 7 additionally features an update to the WinInet API. The new version has better support for IPv6, and handles hexadecimal literals in the IPv6 address. It also includes better support for Gzip and deflate compression, so that communication with a web server can be compressed and thus will require less data to be transferred. Internet Explorer Protected Mode support in WinInet is exclusive to Windows Vista.

Although Internet Explorer 7 is more compliant than previous versions, according to all figures it remains the least standards-compliant compared to other major browsers of the period. It does not pass the Acid2 or the Acid3 tests, two test cases designed by the Web Standards Project to verify CSS compliance.

In a 2008 MSNBC article, Tim Berners-Lee said that lack of support in Internet Explorer was responsible for holding back the widespread adoption by webmasters of several new open technology standards, specifically scalable vector graphics (SVG), supported elsewhere since 2001, but only available in Internet Explorer using a 3rd party plugin (until the release of Internet Explorer 9).


System requirements

IE7 requires at least:

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