Internet Explorer 7 update: Now WGA-free

Internet Explorer 7 update: Now WGA-free

Summary: Microsoft has issued an updated Internet Explorer (IE) 7 release that no longer requires Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) validation in order to download. The company has refreshed versions of IE 7 for Windows XP Service Pack (SP)2, Windows 64 client/server, and Windows Server 2003 SP1/SP2. It also posted an update to IE 7 for Windows XP that resolves a phishing-filter problem with the browser.


Microsoft has issued an updated Internet Explorer (IE) 7 release that no longer requires Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) validation in order to download.Internet Explorer 7 update: Now WGA-free

Program Manager Steve Reynolds announced the news on October 4 on Microsoft's IE Team blog:

"Because Microsoft takes its commitment to help protect the entire Windows ecosystem seriously, we’re updating the IE7 installation experience to make it available as broadly as possible to all Windows users. With today’s 'Installation and Availability Update,' Internet Explorer 7 installation will no longer require Windows Genuine Advantage validation and will be available to all Windows XP users."

WGA is the anti-piracy mechanism Microsoft uses to check whether users are running "genuine" Windows before allowing them to download certain product updates, fixes, white papers and other related information.

Microsoft posted to its Download Center on October 4 refreshed versions of IE 7 for Windows XP Service Pack (SP)2, Windows 64 client/server, and Windows Server 2003 SP1/SP2. It also posted an update to IE 7 for Windows XP that resolves a phishing-filter problem with the browser.

Users interested in downloading the refreshed IE can get it from Microsoft's Internet Explorer home page or go thorugh a third-party site thatis authorized by Microsoft to deliver customized IE releases. Microsoft officials said they also have pushed the refresh out via Automatic Updates, but those already running IE 7 "will not be offered IE7 again" via this mechanism.

Other changes that are part of the IE 7 refresh:

  • The menu bar is now visible by default
  • The Internet Explorer 7 online tour has updated how-to’s and the “first-run” experience includes a new overview
  • A new MSI installer that "simplifies deployment for IT administrators in enterprises," according to the Softies

Microsoft rolled out IE 7 last fall. Since then, the company has said next-to-nothing about its future plans for its Web browser.

Topics: Operating Systems, Browser, Microsoft, Software, Windows


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Yeah.... right.

    Well yeah... that.... and the fact that nobody really needs IE7.

    <i>Because Microsoft takes its commitment to help protect the entire Windows ecosystem seriously, we?re updating the IE7 installation experience to make it available as broadly as possible to all Windows users. With today?s ?Installation and Availability Update,? Internet Explorer 7 installation will no longer require Windows Genuine Advantage validation</i>
    • I think I'll wait a few weeks...

      I think I'll wait a few weeks...'til we find out what MS is really up to.
  • A way to gain users?

    Is this supposed to be a way to gain users? When I setup a computer for a client I always bring it all up to date which included installing IE7. What I've noticed is many people do not like it and want either IE6 back, or what most are doing is installing Firefox.
    • Exactly

      A reaction to the Firefox encroachment, that's all.
      • That's all?

        You do realize that all businesses that are for profit on the planet react to market changes and competition, right? <br>
        When you say that's all, do you mean that's why we have an IE7 or this latest non wga IE7? I don't understand fully the meaning of your post. <br>
        Mixed in between there is very high quality browser that is lightening fast. It is faster than Firefox which as you probably have noticed is getting a bit on the bloated side with all of the Google crapware and trying to do more than a browser should. That's not just my opinion, but the opinion of many including linux hardcores.
    • What's to gain by that?

      If I run FireFox on Windows I paid for Windows and therefore paid for IE. It doesn't matter if I use FireFox Microsoft still got money from me.

      As a ploy to get users to use IE that sounds kind of silly to me.

      No this more likely because IE 6 is so full of holes that using it is insecure that it is a simple task to own a machine using it. So in an effort to protect paying customers Microsoft is allowing those who weren't smart enough to use FireFox to download IE 7. This would reduce botnets to a degree.
      • Active X

        The less popular IE is, the lest leverage MS has for ActiveX.

        IE was never about making money off the browser, it was about locking people into MS's version of the Internet.
        • MS Does not care about ActiveX

          Microsoft no longer cares about ActiveX. They don't really even use it themselves for anything. Their current focus is Silverlight and XBAPs, the former which is available cross platform, and the latter which will be available for Firefox also, though only on Windows.

          They want IE7 so they can stop supporting fixes for IE6, as well as get it to do things like automatically detect when you need the .NET framework installed when it comes across an XBAP.

          Watch carefully. Microsoft has other ideas up its sleeves.
          • Really?

            MS doesn't use ActiveX for anything? Ever hear of this thing called Windows Update? Guess what it uses...that's right ActiveX.
          • Must look at the context of the thread

            The original poster who brought up ActiveX had this to say:
            [i]The less popular IE is, the lest leverage MS has for ActiveX.[/i]

            ActiveX is being mentioned here in the context of locking people onto Windows. Since there is 0 (none, nada, zilch) interest in accessing Windows Update from a non Windows machine, MS can't very well use ActiveX on Windows Update to lock people onto Windows!

            In the context of consumer lock in, Microsoft does not use ActiveX. If you look at all their offerings that non Windows users might be interested in using, none (that I know of) use ActiveX and none lock out non Windows clients.
          • OWA

            Outlook Web Access uses an ActiveX control for S/Mime. I'm sure there are other instances. I was really just protesting the use of the blanket statement that Microsoft neither uses nor cares about ActiveX.

            Also, in terms of lock in, OWA is an offender in my book. Using OWA with a browser other than Internet Explorer is very painful. There is no technical reason why Microsoft couldn't deliver the same experience using OWA with Firefox, Opera, or Safari that they do with IE. What's especially frustrating is that the instances when I need to use OWA are usually the times when I can't use a Windows machine.
          • I agree to some degree

            they will become a thing of the past once a full .NET client is achieved. XBAP apps are very cool. I like the WPF, XAML technologies. Lot's of promise for RIAs. <br><br>
            nice little demo @ <br> <br>
            (you have to allow client download to see of course.)
            Is Google doing anything like this with rails or is that only about having offline capabilities only? I've not looked at that in any depth. I like the little sql database they are using. I've written some small stuff..mostly just c++, boost libraries using sqlite. Microsoft's compact edtion of SQL 2005 is great too (if you don't care about having the database's source which i don't) and possibly a bit better than sqlite.
            Can write cool little (or not so little) .NET apps with SQL CE.
    • I've seen a trend in the other direction

      While many people do tend to stick with what they are comfortable with, I've seen a trend in a couple of places we deal with where they may have gone with FF to alivate the issues with IE6, but now they have been replacing FF with IE7
      John Zern
  • W2K...

    Since IE7 would not install on my W2k PC's I went to Firefox. Now I run Firefox on XP as well.

    If they would have let me install IE 7 on W2k, I would probably still be using IE.
    • I don't use W2K anymore

      First off W2K is insecure unless you turn off almost every service, Second driver support for newer hardware isn't there, and third some of my newer applications don't work on W2K.

      Upgrade to XP, it's more secure than even Vista is. One caveat here. Vista is more secure than what XP was when it was released and has the potential to be more secure that XP but it's not right now. I saw how many ways a hacker can own Vista vs XP in demo at a conference. All I can say was I was shocked to say the least.
      • What?!?

        Can you please be more specific about XP being more secure than Vista? I haven't heard that suggested before. I'm sure Ryan Naraine would be interested too. Any links you can post?
        • I'd love to know what they used too

          But one thing I know they scanned it with Nessus and compared results. You can get it free but the signatures they used were all from the subscription service. If you don't pay you can get the free signatures which can be 6 months behind and no longer zero day exploits.

          One reason they said XP was more secure is you could turn off more services with out affecting the use of the operation system. A quick list was given and if I remember correctly the said to disable Server Service, Messenger Service, Universal Plug and Play, and there were a few others too. Doing this is supposed to make XP less vulnerable than Vista.
      • What conference was that?

        I'm sure the writers here would like to know what conference you're talking about as I would imagine they would like to follow up on that with an article after talking to the people performing said hacks.
        John Zern
        • A municipal conference

          Basically group of Municipalities got together for security conference to exchange ideas. One speaker there showed just how easy it is to take over Vista. I was quite shocked to say the least. They also said that XP had less avenues of attack but really that doesn't matter as it only takes one.

          They did say Vista has the potential to be more secure but he figured we wouldn't see that until SP2 and least if not SP3.

          I got to see the a recording of the conference so I wasn't there to ask questions but it did look like Vista had more issues from what I saw.
      • I use it almost exclusively

        I have a machine with XP (as well as one each with 98, Kubuntu, Mac OS 9, Windows for Workgroups, Windows NT Advanced Server and will have one with OS X, if I can straighten out some hardware problems). But my other machines run 2K. Everything is properly licensed, by the way. All of the 2K machines are secured using best-of-breed security software, most of which is available free in some form. And I trust them [i][b]far[/i][/b] more than [i]any[/i] Windows machine secured solely by Microsoft, even with all updates and patches installed.

        I still run across [i][b]very[/i][/b] few pieces of hardware or applications that don't support W2K, although admittedly the number is growing. Right now, almost exclusively related to TV/video capture/video editing. But after six years of XP, I've yet to find anything worth the pain of upgrading. Not even close. Especially since, for every XP-only solution, there's been one that works with 2K. I'm not a gamer, so for the foreseeable future, DX10 means nothing to me.

        I still don't see what the big deal is with XP, much less Vista. Almost every time I see some functionality that seems to be only for one of those OSes, I find a way of getting it to work on 2K. And for free. The only exception so far is the thumbnail Alt-Tab capability and even then I think I could get it if I wanted to pay for it. But it isn't that much of an issue. In the meantime, I don't have to deal with the bloat that makes Vista and XP machines sluggish without a great deal of horsepower. I sometimes wonder how much Microsoft has done to "break" applications that try to work with 2K, since aside from the GUI and a few applets, 2K and XP are virtually the same.

        Granted, the bloat isn't really a problem for powerful machines and they aren't that expensive. The machine I'm using right now could almost certainly run even Vista easily, but why waste CPU cycles on the fluff that Microsoft adds in? I got tired of Aeroglass in the ten minutes I played with a Vista machine in the store. Not to mention the changes in the GUI that seemed mainly there for the sake of change alone. I prefer to put power to work doing what I want to do. Like video editing, manipulating hi rez graphics and running multiple apps. If Vista did a better job multitasking, I might be tempted. But as far as I know the 32 bit version is no improvement. The 64 bit is perhaps better (or not), but there's too little support for it and there won't be for a while.

        Aside from the bloat, I won't use XP and later precisely because of WGA and activation. I support Microsoft's right to protect their intellectual property (to a degree ? they are a monopoly, with less legal rights as a result). But only to the point that it doesn't interfere with my use of what I've purchased. Too many stories of WGA breaking machines that are licensed.

        And I've had a problem myself. I wanted to download DX 9C a while back and I kept getting an error message when I tried to "validate" my machine using WGA. Ultimately what I found out (after [i]weeks[/i] of e-mail exchanges with their tech support) is that the new validation system only works with XP and later. So while I was entitled to download the software, there was no way I could do it without getting a human being from Microsoft involved. Even though all installs of Windows 2000 are considered legitimate by default. The tech's words, not mine.

        2K does everything that I need it to do and I feel secure using it with the software available to protect it. That will probably change, but for the time being and probably for the next few years at least, I'm not changing. And perhaps I'll go to some variant of Linux by then.

        A couple of thoughts on the security of XP. Almost all of the services in 2K are the same ones in XP. They may be different, but given Microsoft's history of using legacy code, I'd bet against it. And I'm not a gambling man. Plus, one bit of functionality that XP has over 2K that relates to wireless networking. The one that automatically connects to a router with the same name that's been used use before. Without doing any further authenticating to insure that it's the same router (name changes are easy and the names are fairly standard across product lines). That kind of design makes me feel so much safer using XP.

        The big one, though, is finding out that Microsoft built a backdoor into Windows Update that allows them to install software on your machine even if the automatic setting is shut off. Something that applies to XP and Vista, but not apparently to 2K. Gee, wouldn't it be interesting if someone malicious discovers how to do that? Or has already?

        I'm happy with 2K and the more I see of the newer versions, the happier I am to stay with it.