Microsoft has confirmed that IE7 will be released as an optional download later this month.
The long-awaited next version of Microsoft's browser software will be pushed out as an automatic update a "few weeks" later, probably as part of Microsoft's regular Patch Tuesday update cycle in either November or December. Firms not ready to install IE7 will be able to temporarily block the update.
In the meantime, Microsoft is urging webmasters and application developers to test for compatibility using IE7 RC 1, a pre-release version of the software.
Redmond has produced a variety of tools to aid this work, as explained in a posting on its IE development blog here. ®