IE10 for Windows 7 preview due to debut

Chinese blog, citing meeting with Microsoft exec, pegs launch of long-awaited sneak peek

Microsoft will release a preview of Internet Explorer 10 (IE10) for Windows 7 on Tuesday (US time), according to a report from a Chinese website, citing the company's head of IE marketing.

The Chinese blog iFanr said that the preview, which Microsoft in October promised would be released the middle of this month, would appear Tuesday but did not specify a time of day.

According to a machine translation of the blog, the news came during a media event in Beijing, where Roger Capriotti, who leads IE marketing and often blogs about the browser, noted the impending launch of the preview.

Even so, Microsoft declined to confirm the launch, saying, "We do not comment on rumors or speculation."

A Tuesday launch would fit with Microsoft's timetable in 2010 and 2011 for IE9. The beta of that browser launched Sept. 15, 2010, a day after that month's Patch Tuesday, while the final version debuted March 14, 2011, a day before that month's security updates.

Tomorrow is November's Patch Tuesday, the once-a-month delivery of security fixes by Microsoft.

Microsoft has declined to say when it expects to ship final code for IE10 on Windows 7, but if past practices are any clue, that could come as late as April 2013.

IE10 launched for Windows 8 and its tablet-oriented offspring, Windows RT, when those operating systems hit retail on Oct. 26.

The browser, which Microsoft will deploy across all its OSes, including Windows Phone 8, does not support Windows Vista or XP on the desktop. Microsoft was the first, and so far, only, browser vendor to drop Vista from a support list, just as it was the first -- and again, the only -- developer to abandon Windows XP.

Like IE10 on Windows 8 and Windows RT, the version for Windows 7 will come with the "Do Not Track" (DNT) privacy feature turned on by default. The Windows 7 edition, however, will not include an integrated copy of Adobe's Flash Player, as does the one for Windows 8.

Although online advertising representatives have called Microsoft's unilateral decision to enable DNT "unacceptable," their tenor is likely to get even more vehement when IE10 on Windows 7 goes final. That's because Microsoft will automatically upgrade all Windows 7 users to the newest browser shortly after it launches.

The company instituted the auto-upgrade policy -- which has boosted the usage share of IE8, the newest version able to run on Windows XP -- last January.

The preview reportedly slated to ship Tuesday will not trigger that automatic upgrade: Users will likely be required to manually download and install the sneak peak.

IE10 for Windows 7 will likely to available from Microsoft's download center, or its IE-specific website.

Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at @gkeizer, on Google+ or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed. His email address is gkeizer@computerworld.com.

See more by Gregg Keizer on Computerworld.com.

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