Microsoft will drop the "click to activate" warning from Internet Explorer 7 starting next month, following the August settlement of its patent lawsuit with Eolas Technologies.

Next month, Microsoft will preview the modified IE that eliminates the nag that pops up on screens when users select multimedia content, such as Flash files or PDFs. It first appeared in IE in April 2006, when Microsoft began requiring users to approve ActiveX controls the first time they were run from the browser.

The settlement with Eolas, which followed a $521 million patent infringement judgement against Microsoft in 2003, led to Microsoft licensing Eolas' technologies, which now means IE can ditch "click to activate."

The Internet Explorer Automatic Component Activation Preview will appear in the Microsoft Download Centre next month, said Pete LePage, senior product manager, on a Microsoft blog. The tweaked IE will also be rolled into the next betas of Windows Vista SP1 and Windows XP SP3, LePage added. Finally, the changes will be pushed to all IE 7 users in April 2008 as part of that month's scheduled updates. Users, however, can decline the update.

"It's important to note that this change will require no modifications to existing web pages, and no new actions for developers creating new pages," said LePage. "We are simply reverting to the old behaviour."

Website developers will appreciate that. When Microsoft modified IE, it issued instructions to site designers spelling out the change they had to make.

"Once Internet Explorer is updated, all pages that currently require 'click to activate' will no longer require the control to be activated," said LePage. "They'll just work."