Things to do before you…. install IE7

David Overton kindly pointed out a little quirk in the installation of the imminent release of IE7 on XP that you might want to adhere to when you go upgrading to the latest and greatest version of Internet Explorer.

Your anti-malware applications, with all their good intentions, will be whipping themselves into an over zealous state of paranoia whilst the installation of IE7 writes numerous keys to the registry.  More than likely the installation will not be allowed to complete because the anti-malware apps do their best to protect IE registry keys from modification by any threat other than IE6 itself.

Best advice is to turn the little blighters off - only temporarily of course whilst the installation completes then wake them up again once you've installed the goods.  They'll be blissfully unaware of the situation apart from noticing what a fabulous new browsing experience you're having - because they're caring like that.

Here's the full lowdown from one of my colleagues across the pond:


IE7 Installation and Anti-Malware Applications

A few people have asked why we recommend temporarily disabling anti-virus or anti-spyware applications (which I’ll refer to together as anti-malware) prior to installing IE7, so here’s a little insight to the situation.

Along with copying IE7 files to your system, IE7’s setup writes a large number of registry keys.  A common way anti-malware applications protect your computer is by preventing writes to certain registry keys used by IE.  Any registry key write that fails during setup will cause setup to fail and rollback changes.  We work around the problem in most instances by checking permissions at the beginning of setup, but many anti-malware programs monitor the key rather than change permissions.  Therefore, setup thinks it has access when it starts, but then fails when it later attempts to write the key.

The majority of users likely haven’t seen any such problems even with anti-malware enabled because we work with third-party vendors to identify IE7 setup as ‘safe’ based on something like digital signatures or file hashes.  While this could lead us to remove the recommendation to disable anti-malware apps, we’ve decided to leave it in setup because a number of factors may still cause some customers to have this problem.  Specifically:

  • With all the anti-malware apps available, we don’t want to assume all of them work just because we haven’t heard of a problem yet.
  • Even anti-malware apps we’ve tested sometimes require the latest definition updates.  If a user doesn’t have the latest definitions, he or she may still hit a problem even though we consider the issue resolved.
  • Failed installation is an awful user experience so we take every step to reduce the chances of setup failing.

I hope this helps answer some of your questions.

John Hrvatin
Program Manager

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