October 8, 2007 10:06 AM PDT

Microsoft disables Internet Explorer 7 validation process

Microsoft disables Internet Explorer 7 validation process
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Microsoft will now allow users of Windows XP to download Internet Explorer 7 without having to gain Windows Genuine Advantage authentication.

Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) is part of Microsoft's Genuine Software Initiative. It is intended to help prevent the distribution and use of unauthorized versions of Windows. Previously, to download Internet Explorer 7, users had to authenticate to WGA.

"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," wrote IE7 program manager Steve Reynolds in a blog post on Thursday.

Microsoft said that it had dropped the requirement for WGA for security reasons.

"Microsoft takes its commitment to help protect the entire Windows ecosystem seriously, and we're taking a step to help make consumers safer online," said a representative. "We feel the security enhancements to Internet Explorer 7 are significant enough that it should be available as broadly as possible, and this means removing WGA validation."

The representative said that removing the validation did "not interfere with Microsoft's commitment to fighting software piracy."

However, Tristan Nitot, president of Mozilla Europe, suggested that Microsoft may be concerned over the uptake of IE7. Mozilla develops rival Web browser Firefox.

"I think IE7 adoption is too low according to Microsoft's tastes, partly because many people are concerned with issues with regards to WGA," Nitot told CNET sister site ZDNet UK. "I guess Microsoft's not so happy with the numbers."

There are conflicting statistics available on the popularity of the major Web browsers. For example, according to Web analysis site W3Schools, Firefox has more market share than IE7, with 34.5 percent and 20.1 percent respectively. However, according to Net Applications, Firefox 2.0 has 13.6 percent of market share, while IE7 has 34.6 percent. Both sites indicate that Firefox and IE7 are gaining market share, while Internet Explorer 6 is losing market share.

According to a reader poll on sister site ZDNet, 55 percent of respondents voted that Microsoft had dropped WGA "to try to grow IE7's market share (at the expense primarily of Firefox) by going after the more technical browser audience, many of whom see WGA as little more than another objectionable DRM scheme."

Tom Espiner of ZDNet UK reported from London.

See more CNET content tagged:
Microsoft Windows Genuine Advantage, Microsoft Internet Explorer 7, market share, validation, Microsoft Internet Explorer

29 comments

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It's about time!
It's about time that Microsoft did this. I never understood why they made this a 'validation necessary' update when it was so connected with the security of a person's computer system!
Posted by Leria (585 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Precisely.
MS is finally taking notes and clues from how FOSS operates. Firefox doesn't require WGA - why should IE7? Why should IE7 also tie into the OS?

It should be available for download from Win2k on up.
Posted by `WarpKat (275 comments )
Link Flag
Business customers probably demanded this...
IE 7 is a good upgrade and enterprise probably had something to do with this (WGA validation on every workstation?!)
Posted by close5828 (230 comments )
Reply Link Flag
response
Most businesses are conservative with rolling out new browsers period (because of support costs,) as well as most businesses don't use pirated software, o I fail to see how this would impact them one way or another.
Posted by mjm01010101 (126 comments )
Reply Link Flag
That's because you're an idiot
...each workstation that you install the update would require WGA validation.
Posted by close5828 (230 comments )
Link Flag
Pirate market is exactly what they are purposely helping
Baulderdash. They are precisely going after the pirate market. They need raw user counts to be near to 100% as possible in order to keep the mindshare among the industry that you develop for the IE platform, rather than on more generic webstandards.

As long as MS has real competition, that its the standards bodies and not microsoft that have the most sway.

Forget about all the apologetics, Microsoft wants the pirates to use IE7, in much the same way that in the music industry, they want people to listen to music for free (via the radio or what have you method)...in the end wide distribution drives sales.

MS doesn't ever sell IE, but they do sell a whole host of related products from Windows servers w/IIS included, to web application environments, and more, all of which are more compelling when MS is the standard and they have the tightest integration.
Posted by rdupuy11 (908 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Right on
Agreed. It's in Microsoft's best interests as a provider of Windows and Internet Explorer to keep their dominant market share. Linux and the BSDs are free so piracy is the only way to compete on price.

It's no wonder they seem to turn a blind eye to these users by allowing a previously "genuine only" browser to be installed on what they [b]know[/b] to be illegitimate copies of Windows.

I've heard people argue that Microsoft wants everyone to upgrade because [i]"it means better security for everyone"[/i], but I'm not buying it. They're doing what they can to keep business.

I would find it very hard to believe that Microsoft doesn't have the capability to shut off pirated copies of Windows remotely, but they wouldn't do that because of the potential of shutting off a third to a half of their user base. I live in Asia, I've seen these levels of piracy, in some cases even more.

I see this as purely a strategic move by Microsoft as they desperately try to stay relevant.
Posted by rubenerd (75 comments )
Link Flag
Too little, too late
I have been using Firefox for quite a while now, and disabled my IE, which is probably the reason I am receiving the notices that IE7 is "ready for download and installation" from MS.

I would rather drill a hole in my head than continue to support MS products. I am still using XP SPII, and once MS stops updating it, will move to Linux. WGA stealth installation masquerading as a "security update" was the last insult for me.
Posted by itango (80 comments )
Reply Link Flag
MS internet Explorer
Of course Internet Explorer is losing market share.
That's why Microsoft will probably end up paying people to use it.
I've been using Mozilla Firefox since version 1.0, so I don't even know what version 7 looks like.
And since Firefox 1.0 was made available, I have installed Firefox in more than 50 of my friends and friend's friends computers.
And I have advised them to stay away from anything Microsoft.
And when I see them they tell me they only use Mozilla Firefox for their internet browsing.
Posted by mortega98 (4 comments )
Reply Link Flag
A bit advice..
It seems that u are an IT expert among your friends, that u can even install to 50 machine of your friends. And, it's better to try it out before you recommend to other people.

"stay away from anything Microsoft"
Have you installed Linux or buy MacOS for your friends? Cause I believe Windows is still product of Microsoft. You contradict yourself.. LOL and Piece..
Posted by Gunady (191 comments )
Link Flag
IE7 rendered MusicMatch unusable.
I downloaded and installed IE7 several months ago. I was using MusicMatch to record albums and burn to CD's. IE7 made MusicMatch unusable. I cannot even open it. I had even paid for the MusicMatch premium. MS really messed up.
Posted by ColinCammie (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
No, it didn't...
Yahoo bought out Musicmatch, and "several months ago" switched everything over to yahoo! music jukebox. It has nothing to do with IE7.

Can't stand FUD rakers.
Posted by mattumanu (599 comments )
Link Flag
Also renders WorldCast unusable
I use WorldCast to keep in touch with my customers and after "upgrading" to IE7 it stopped working.

After searching the net with the error message I took the posted advice and uninstalled IE7. WorldCast is working fine now.

How many other pieces of software does IE7 break?
Posted by BunchOfFun (16 comments )
Link Flag
Musicmatch has been replaced...
In early August, MusicMatch subscribers were notified via e-mail that the player would stop working on August 31st, and instructed to upgrade to a new Yahoo Music Jukebox service. You should be able to find the info you need on the Yahoo site.
Posted by mg50cnet (2 comments )
Link Flag
musicmatch now yahoo
I had the same problem with musicmatch. Yahoo now owns the service and you need to contact customer support, they will send you a link that will allow you to transfer your old musicmatch subscription to yahoo and credit your account. Yahoo works on xp sp2, and ie7 vista
Posted by willy8765 (1 comment )
Link Flag
I too had this problem. I need IE7 like a hole in the head, but I NEED MusicMatch. If you are computer savvy, you can uninstall IE7 on your own, and your system will revert back to IE6 - then MusicMatch will work again. I apparently am not computer savvy and had to call Microsoft. The call for IE7 problems is free through Dec 31 if IE7 was NOT installed on your computer when you bought it. Go to the Microsoft web site and click on Support. When you get to the page "Internet Explorer 7 Solution Center", click Get Help Now on the upper right corner.
Posted by BenitaCnet (1 comment )
Link Flag
The problem isn't...
between firefox and IE7, but trying to get IE6 users to update to IE7.
I use IE6 over IE7 because I don't like the layout. To many tool bars and I think tabs are a waste of screen real estate. You can do the same thing by openning a new window by pressing ctrl-N, and you have a new tab in the task bar.
Posted by wtortorici (102 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Interface not useful
I agree. I updated. I didn't care that much about the WGA. But the interface is too much about the layout and toolbars. I wanted a secure web browser to view web content, not to look at "pretty" toolbars that you can't turn off. If you try to tab into fields, there are tab stops on about 4-6 controls for the window. If I had downloaded any other browser with all that, I would have uninstalled it right away. As it is, it hurt my productivity enough for me to reinstall Windows to get rid of IE7. Security I like, too much extra I can't turn off I don't like.
Posted by mikeburek (418 comments )
Link Flag
The problem isn't...
Exactly. It's the same issue with Office 2007. Productivity is lost because you have to learn a new interface...(Same problem with cellphones). When you reinvent the wheel, it should still be round.
Posted by bagg44 (9 comments )
Link Flag
Corporate use
We have not deployed IE7 as it is incompatible with our timekeeping system, our implementation of Outlook Web Access, and our cost and accounting system. IE7 has broken a lot of systems that were built with IE6 and all of it's particular quirks in mind. Since we deploy software updates via WSUS, the WGA validation isn't an issue. It's the incompatibility that's the issue.
Posted by minidriver1 (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
official?
Is that official now? Is there a " Windows ecosystem"??

WOW

Lisa
Posted by LisaFayGreen (6 comments )
Reply Link Flag
IE 7
Does anyone even use this malware browser anyway? File this under nobody gives a *****.
Posted by The_happy_switcher (2175 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I do
I haven't had any problem with it. and I use it a extensively. People who call it a malware browser, obviously have an axe to grind. It is not perfect, but it is quite acceptable.

We havent rolled it out at work yet, because we haven't certifed all inmternal web apps against it, but I have yet to have a problem with one.

BTW: I have never gotten a virus or malware via IE7.
Posted by PzkwVIb (462 comments )
Link Flag
Shawn Richeson Killeen Texas
In the past 2 months we have received over 100 service calls relating to Internet Explorer 7 and the problems encountered when attempting to install with the WGA service implemented.

Many spyware writers apparently attempt to exploit the WGA process and foil the success of IE7 during install.

If you have been victimized by spyware during an IE7 install and cant seem to get rid of the spyware, malware and the other issues, please visit our industrial grade tech tips page: <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.clickanerd.com/techtips/index.htm" target="_newWindow">http://www.clickanerd.com/techtips/index.htm</a>

Our nerds have assembled a perfect cleaning procedure for this very problem. We have repackaged an array of professional virus, malware and spyware cleaning tools and embedded some automation to speed up the process.

Please use our custom nerd help software: <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.clickanerd.com/nerdhelp.exe" target="_newWindow">http://www.clickanerd.com/nerdhelp.exe</a>

Shawn Richeson
Killeen Texas Computer Nerds
(254) 690-6373
Posted by thetopnerd (17 comments )
Reply Link Flag
New Low for Microsoft... (* CHUCKLE *)
(* ROFLOL *)

This MUST be a NEW Microsoft ALL TIME LOW!!! (* ROFLOL *)

They tried to sneak their IE7 out earlier than they initially said they would but everybody jumped down their throat.

They want to boast the IE7 has the largest market share... but the number of installs fall **** poorly well below their expected install rate. (* CHUCKLE *)

Thus as much as they don't want to do it, they've finally decided to remove the Validation Check to ensure that you're using a valid copy of windows prior to installing IE7 which means that they WILL ALLOW pirated copies of Windows to download and install IE7 in hopes that it will boost the install base for IE7.

(* ROFLMAO *)

Microsoft tripping over their own two feet... (* ROFLOL *)... it just doesn't get any better in the humor world!!! (* ROFLOL *)

They must really be hurting to get the installed numbers up! (* CHUCKLE *)

Walt
Posted by wbenton (522 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Yes I am Francis Teo. I am desperate to validate window 7. please help. francist
Posted by francis teo (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
 

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