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Microsoft Windows Internet Explorer 7 for Windows XP Fact Sheet
An overview of the benefits and features of Windows Internet Explorer 7 for Windows XP.

October 2006

Windows® Internet Explorer® 7 for Windows XP is now available to all Internet users for free download. Consumers can upgrade and browse the Web with confidence knowing that the new browser provides a greater level of security, makes everyday tasks easier, and will work well with the Web sites they visit. 

As previously announced, to help customers become more secure and up to date, Microsoft Corp. will also distribute Internet Explorer 7 as a high-priority update via Automatic Updates beginning in November 2006. Microsoft encourages customers to install Internet Explorer 7 when notified by Automatic Updates of its availability. Microsoft will continue to provide consumers in North America running Internet Explorer 7 with unlimited phone support for download and installation issues at no charge until Nov. 1, 2007. Free phone support is available in English Monday through Friday from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. PDT, and on Saturday and Sunday from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. PDT by calling (866) 234-6020.

Microsoft encourages all genuine Windows customers who want innovative security technologies and an easier browsing experience to download Internet Explorer 7 free of charge. Internet Explorer 7 includes the following key features designed to enhance the end user’s experience.

Easier Online Navigation

Internet Explorer 7 takes much of the work out of navigating the Internet, allowing users to do more online. The browser has been redesigned with a new look and enhanced capabilities that that make everyday tasks — such as searching, browsing multiple sites and printing — simple and fast. Internet Explorer 7 includes the following key features designed to enhance the end user’s experience:

New look. The Internet Explorer 7 window frame is reorganized to make it more streamlined and less cluttered by eliminating items not commonly used. This maximizes the screen real estate devoted to Web pages that users want to view and helps make it easier to perform browsing tasks.

Streamlined controls. The redesigned navigation bar consolidates common tasks into collapsible onscreen menus, considerably reducing the size of the navigation bar and emphasizing the activities that users perform most online. Common tasks, such as adding Web sites to the Favorites menu, can be performed with a single click.

Tabbed browsing. With tabbed browsing users can view multiple sites in a single browser window and easily switch from one site to another via tabs at the top of the window frame. Users also can easily reorder their tabs by dragging them to the left or right.

Quick Tabs. The Quick Tabs feature is designed to make tab selection and navigation fast and easy. After opening multiple tabs, users can view and manage them with an at-a-glance thumbnail view in a single window.

Tab Groups. This feature allows tabs to be grouped and saved in logical categories. Further, users can open all pages within a group with a single click, saving them time in opening pages they visit regularly. Users can even set a tab group to open automatically every time they launch Internet Explorer 7 from the Start menu, so the pages they want open are retrieved as soon as they open the browser.

Instant Search. Users can now enter their Web queries directly in a search box within the Internet Explorer frame. They can also choose their favorite search provider from a drop-down list or easily add more.

Really Simple Syndication (RSS). Integrated support for RSS allows users to automatically receive the latest headlines, travel discounts, sports scores and other timely content from their favorite Web sites and blogs.

Advanced printing. A shrink-to-fit printing feature automatically resizes all the text on a Web page to create the proper width for printing. Internet Explorer 7 also includes a multipage print preview feature with live margins, the ability to resize text to avoid document clipping, and an option for printing only selected text — all of which make it easier for users to print exactly what they want.

Favorites Center. A newly designed panel offers Internet Explorer 7 users fast, easy access to Favorites, Tab Groups, Browsing History and RSS feed subscriptions. The Favorites Center expands out as needed or can be pinned in place for easier access.

Page Zoom. With this feature, users can enlarge or zoom in on individual Web pages, including text and graphics, to focus on specific content or make content more accessible to those with vision disabilities. For added convenience the feature also allows horizontal scrolling while zooming.

Dynamic Security Technologies and Privacy Protection

To help instill more confidence in customers’ browsing experiences, Internet Explorer 7 incorporates dynamic security technologies, including a robust architecture and new security features to better protect end users against online threats. In addition to the significantly increased level of protection against malware, Internet Explorer 7 also has been strengthened in terms of personal data safeguards, with features that help protect users against “social attacks” such as phishing and help prevent fraudulent Web sites from stealing users’ personal data. Specific security enhancements include these:

Phishing Filter. Microsoft’s new Phishing Filter provides better protection against malicious Web site operators and helps prevent users from becoming the victims of online fraud. The Phishing Filter warns users about suspicious sites and blocks access to confirmed phishing sites. The opt-in feature analyzes pages in real time, and the confirmed phishing sites list is updated several times every hour using the latest security information from Microsoft and industry partners. This helps ensure that users are safer from the moment new phishing sites first appear on the Web.

ActiveX Opt-In. This malware protection feature disables nearly all pre-installed ActiveX® Controls, and helps prevent potentially vulnerable controls from being exposed to attack. Users can easily enable or disable ActiveX Controls as needed through the Information Bar and the Add-on Manager.

Fix My Settings. To help prevent users from browsing with unsafe settings, Internet Explorer 7 alerts users with an Information Bar when current security settings may put them at risk. Within the security settings window, users will see settings highlighted in red when they modify certain critical items. Dialog alerts warn the user about potentially unsafe settings, and the user will be reminded by the Information Bar as long as the settings remain in that condition. With one click, users can instantly reset the security settings to the Medium-High default level by clicking on the Fix My Settings option in the Information Bar.

Extended Validation Certificates. Microsoft has worked with the industry to develop a new, stricter standard for issuing certificates, called Extended Validation Certificates. To help further reduce identity theft and increase user confidence in Web transactions, the Internet Explorer 7 Address Bar will display the usual SSL padlock with a green highlight when visiting a site with an Extended Validation Certificate.

Cross-domain Script Barriers. This feature restricts Web page script from interacting with content from other domains or windows to help users keep their personal information out of potentially malicious hands. This new safeguard further helps protect users against malware by limiting the potential for malicious Web sites to manipulate flaws in other Web sites or cause users to download undesired content or software onto their PCs.

Delete Browsing History. The Delete Browsing History option extends enhanced protection to user privacy and passwords. Especially valuable on shared or public computers, this feature enables users to instantly clean up cached pages, erase any passwords, form data and cookies, and clear their browsing history — all with a single click.

International Domain Name Anti-Spoofing. In addition to adding native support for International Domain Names in URLs, Internet Explorer 7 also notifies the user when similar characters in the URL are not expressed in the same language — even when the characters look similar across several languages — thus helping protect the user against spoof sites that would otherwise appear as a known trustworthy site.

Improvements for Developers and Administrators

In Internet Explorer 7, the browser architecture has been re-engineered to address compatibility and manageability as well as to support a variety of rich end-user experiences. With Internet Explorer 7, Microsoft is delivering a broad set of platform improvements for the Windows XP operating system to provide a browser that is more standards-compliant and facilitate innovative Web and application development. To allow administrators to continue to easily manage the browser, Internet Explorer 7 will also be centrally managed via Group Policy. Platform improvements in Internet Explorer 7 include the following:

CSS improvements. Cascading style sheet (CSS) specification is a widely used standard for creating Web pages. Internet Explorer 7 addresses some of the significant inconsistencies that can cause problems for Web developers who are trying to produce rich, interactive Web pages. Enhanced support for CSS 2.1 includes selectors and fixed positioning to allow Web developers to create more powerful effects without the use of script.

OpenSearch extensions. Microsoft submitted an updated version of the OpenSearch standard, which was released under the Creative Commons license, to the search and RSS communities. This standard enables search engine providers to easily make their service accessible to users.

Improved AJAX support. Internet Explorer 7 improves the implementation of the XMLHTTP Request as a native JavaScript object for rich Asynchronous JavaScript and XML (AJAX)-style applications. Internet Explorer 7 processes XMLHTTP natively, improving end-to-end compatibility across different browsers and allowing clients to configure and customize a security policy of their choice without compromising how AJAX-based Web applications work.

Windows RSS platform. The Windows RSS Platform is now part of Internet Explorer 7, in Windows Vista™ and Windows XP. This platform provides rich functionality for downloading, storing and accessing RSS feeds across the entire operating system and will enable more users to take advantage of RSS-related innovation. Support for the Windows RSS platform means that once a user subscribes to a feed in one application, that subscription and all the associated content will be made available across the operating system to any application available to make use of it.

Smarter RSS feeds with Simple List Extensions 1.0. Microsoft submitted the Simple List Extensions 1.0 specification to the RSS community in June 2004, under a Creative Commons license. This standard, now fully supported in Internet Explorer 7, enables feed publishers to use RSS for lists of content — such as wish lists or playlists — with interactive controls to make the feed more useful for users.

Transparent PNG support. Transparent Portable Network Graphics (PNG) supports alpha channel transparency within the PNG image format, popular among developers, resulting in rich and exceptional-looking Web sites that are easy to build.

Active Directory® Group Policy. This allows all features to be managed via Group Policy, including the Phishing Filter and all browser add-ons, improving manageability of the browser and enabling administrators to enforce compliance among users.

Internet Explorer is now available in English and will run on Windows XP Service Pack 2, Microsoft® Windows XP 64-bit Edition and Microsoft Windows Server™ 2003 Service Pack 1. Internet Explorer 7 will be made available to other Windows-supported languages over the coming weeks.

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