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Internet Explorer The Internet IT

Internet Explorer Drops WGA Requirement 220

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the while-the-getting-is-good dept.
Kelson writes "The Internet Explorer team has updated the installer for IE7. Mostly they've adjusted a few defaults and updated their tutorials, but one change stands out: The installer no longer requires Windows Genuine Advantage validation. Almost a year after its release, IE7 has yet to overtake its predecessor. Was WGA holding back a tide of potential upgrades, or did it just send people over to alternative browsers?"
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Internet Explorer Drops WGA Requirement

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 05, 2007 @07:40AM (#20865661)
    It's finally clear where Microsoft's priorities lie. You can pirate until they have a dominant place in the market.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Jugalator (259273)
      IE already have a dominant place, but yeah.
    • by shird (566377)
      Wouldnt that mean IE7 should have had no WGA requirement, then the WGA requirement added.. rather than the other way around?
      • by Ilgaz (86384) *

        Wouldnt that mean IE7 should have had no WGA requirement, then the WGA requirement added.. rather than the other way around?
        As a current OS X and ex Windows user, I know the scheme. You can check this comment later in months about it.

        Somehow, some programmer made a huge mistake in current version of IE 7 and it creates a huge security issue. The update covering that issue may/will require WGA (later version) for applying.
    • Pfft. Firefox has the same business model.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by ajs318 (655362)
        Except that with Firefox, you get the Source Code. Unless you speak fluent Pentium assembly language, there's a world of difference.
        • by jallen02 (124384)
          Even if you do speak it.. it takes a lot more effort to say the same thing some source code does.
    • by jkrise (535370)
      It's finally clear where Microsoft's priorities lie. You can pirate until they have a dominant place in the market....

      I agree with this market share thing, but I think it's about the operating system, not the browser that Microsoft is worried about... let me explain.

      People who get fed up of Windows try Linux... but most office apps still need some Windows componenets. MS Office existing licenses account for lots of installations. So it's not that simple to move the entire OS - but the browser is easily the
  • Most people... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MrNemesis (587188) on Friday October 05, 2007 @07:51AM (#20865727) Homepage Journal
    ...wouldn't have known it was there. The WGA requirement means that you actively have to log into Windows Update and say "yes, I want IE7" or actively locate an IE7 installer. Your average computer user won't even know which version of IE they're using, much less will have any idea there's a new version out and why they should bother installing it.

    If IE7 doesn't have the WGA thing, then presumably it's going to be automatically installed with the rest of the updates whihc most users have set to automatic (since that's how the computer came configured).

    So yes, expect the installed base to increase significantly, and I imagine a reasonably increase in usage as well - alot of people will find it better than any other browser they're using (stupid, uncustomisable button layout notwithstanding).
    • by jkrise (535370)
      If IE7 doesn't have the WGA thing, then presumably it's going to be automatically installed with the rest of the updates whihc most users have set to automatic (since that's how the computer came configured).

      Well spotted! After the sneaky update on XP and Vista, it looks like IE7 will be the next sneaky update on 'pirated' XP as well. I get a feeling most antivirus and spyware kits have got the hang of IE6 by now; but IE7 is very messy, confusing and downright irritating. I simply gave up after an hour.

      I
      • by MrNemesis (587188)
        Heh, I'm another Opera user who switches to FF when he has to.

        Whilst I agree that IE7's interface is irritating, it's a shitload better than the fustercluck of sploits (albeit with a more "standard" interface) that's IE6. That said, I'm 95% Linux at home these days so IE is rarely even an option for me.

        I'm just hope I can get promoted to project/acquisition management in the near future so I can veto company apps that require certain flavours of IE to work properly.
    • I'm running a valid WindowsXP license at work. I am still using IE6 because our IT department requires an activeX component to run a citrix component to log in remotely to another office.

      (Of course, I use Firefox for everything else at work)
    • by edwdig (47888)
      When IE7 initially came out, it was marked as a critical update. I've got Windows Update set to prompt me when new updates are available and IE7 showed up along with the normal patches. I don't see why it wouldn't have installed automatically if your computer was set up that way.
  • by MojoStan (776183) on Friday October 05, 2007 @08:20AM (#20865967)
    I think the re-enabled (by default) menu bar is just as important as the dropped WGA requirement. For novice/intermediate Windows users, IE7's hidden menu bar (revealed by pressing "Alt") was needlessly confusing. Every time I've checked a friend's IE7 setup (on both XP and Vista), I've asked if they wanted the menu bar back. Not surprisingly, the answer has been "YES" every time.

    I'm guessing Microsoft wanted IE7 (and some of their other apps) to follow Office 2007's lead and get rid of the menu bar. This made sense for Office because the new contextual ribbon interface negates the need for a menu bar. It was hard to believe at first, but Office 2007 really does work better without the menu bar.

    However, removing the menu bar from IE7 made no sense IMO. IE7 didn't implement a ribbon interface (which wouldn't work for this app anyway), but they still removed the menu bar and seemingly tried to put all important functions on the button bar. Requiring a keyboard shorcut ("Alt") to access the menu was annoying to me and probably frustrating to novice/intermediate users.

    I think this simple change will significantly improve usablility. I'll still be an Opera man, though.

  • by Allicorn (175921) on Friday October 05, 2007 @08:21AM (#20865983) Homepage
    As a web developer I've been using Microsoft's own VirtualPC doodad which they provided - for free - with a working XP Pro image that had IE6 installed on it. Since you can't really run IE6 and 7 on the same machine this was useful. One IE on my real drive, the other in the virtual machine. The problem was, I really did not want to put IE7 on the real machine.

    So anyway, I figured I'd just download IE7 on the virtualized XP Pro. Imagine my surprise when that copy of Windows, freshly downloaded from microsoft.com, failed to pass WGA validation! :-/

    Tredosoft came to the rescue of course with their various clever ways of getting different versions of IE to play (moderately) nicely together, but it still wasn't ideal.

    Now I guess I can get IE7 to work on that XP image.
    • by compupc1 (138208)
      It fails because that copy of XP is meant ONLY for testing IE 6 -- it's not a fully liscenced copy of Windows. There is a separate image available with IE 7 already.
  • It is rather common for game manufacturers to remove StarForce or other cd-tethering protection after the game has been out for a while. So, like, MS issued a no-cd patch for IE7 then?
  • Oh, now I see... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by 1001011010110101 (305349) on Friday October 05, 2007 @08:26AM (#20866033)
    ...why I got last night another proposal to install MSIE7.
    I was like "WTF, I already said NO. And dont remind me again AGAIN".

    Hope it finally listens =)
  • by Thyamine (531612) <.thyamine. .at. .ofdragons.com.> on Friday October 05, 2007 @08:28AM (#20866063) Homepage Journal
    Just the other day I was trying to repair a PC where IE7 was having a variety of issues. I installed Firefox, explained the benefits, and then attempted to use Firefox to download IE7 since he needed it for some apps for work. However, the WGA was failing with all the same problems that IE7 was failing with. The irony (yes yes, not the right word) of it was I was actively trying to get IE from Firefox, and MS wouldn't let me do it without getting a validation code from all the WGA nonsense.

    He was happy to hear about Firefox and plans on using that now instead, and after uninstalling IE7, found IE6 to be functional enough for those few times he needs it. So, while WGA is a pain in the ass, it helped convert one more person to Firefox. So I don't know how I feel about them removing it. ;-)
    • The irony (yes yes, not the right word) of it was I was actively trying to get IE from Firefox, and MS wouldn't let me do it without getting a validation code from all the WGA nonsense.
      Didn't there used to be an application you could download to manually validate the system though? After that you'd be able to grab IE7.
      • by Thyamine (531612)
        Yes, and that's what I was attempting to run via Firefox. However it was failing with similar errors that IE7 was having. Since IE7 wasn't working, and I couldn't get WGA to validate through Firefox, I couldn't even download IE7 from MS to repair/test the IE installation. I finally did find a copy that Yahoo was hosting, but it was branded of course with their info. In the end we told MS to piss off and never reinstalled IE7.
  • So, does this mean it can be installed on Windows 2000?

    I use Win2K in a virtual machine, and have never had the need to upgrade to XP or Vista.

    One of the few issues I have run into with staying on Win2K is the inability to run IE7. Not that I want to run it.. I am quite happy with Firefox. But, some projects I am working on have www components that I would like to verify with IE7. So, this would be nice to have.
    • Microsoft offers an XP SP2 + IE7 Virtual PC image [microsoft.com] for testing. It has a date expiration, so you do need to download new ones every few months.

    • by Nimey (114278)
      So upgrade to XP or Vista, then. 2K is going to be EOL'd in a few years anyhow. Or do up a second VM with XP and then you can test with both versions of IE and not have to worry about the VM expiring.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Q: Does this work on Windows 2000?

        A: "Upgrade" to XP or Vista.

        Do you work for Microsoft?

        To answer the question posed: They still say XP, Vista or Windows Server are the required OS's. But, people have hacked it to work in Windows 2000 in the past by bypassing windows validation. This version should make that even easier.

        If you're just running Windows in a VM, avoid upgrading to XP or especially Vista at all costs. Their resource requirements are MUCH higher than Windows 2000, and when running under Lin
  • I don't use IE hardly at all. Only when the occasional website screws up in Opera and I for whatever crazy reason decide it's really worth whipping out IE. I know I don't have the latest version so I didn't even know it required WGA. How do they get away with that anyway? I thought part of the DoD's monopoly complaints had to do with how integrated the browser was with the OS. I suppose the WGA requirement only shrinks their install base for IE, but it also doesn't go a long way in separating IE from the OS
  • Buying volume license copies and then having to activate each copy, or run a key management server is a pain in the ass. My company still has not upgraded to Vista and does not plan to, unless the draconian activation policies are reversed.

    We are, however, buying tons of Macs and only running windows where necessary. Web-based apps and terminal server are dramatically reducing the need for a windows desktop machine in the business world.

    Microsoft has everything to lose and little to gain - making products
  • With IE being part of the operating system, and commercial software companies being required by law to provide free security updates, I imagine Microsoft was opening themselves up to all sorts of legal liability.

    Before locking IE7 up with WGA, they could avoid fixing huge security holes in older versions of the browser, telling everyone to upgrade to the latest version, or shut-up and live with it. With WGA routinely denying legitimate users, and apparently no method provided for users to have problems wit

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