Microsoft has released the final version of Internet Explorer 7, the first update of its ubiquitous web browser in five years.

Explorer 7 for Windows XP is a free download and will be offered as a high-priority update through Microsoft's Automatic Updates service in November.

The browser runs on Windows XP SP2, Windows XP 64-bit Edition and Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1. It is currently only available in English, but will be available in other languages in the coming weeks, Microsoft said. New features in Explorer 7 include built-in support for RSS feeds, tabbed browsing and improved security - including an anti-phishing filter.

Microsoft hopes the new version of the browser will win back some browser market share it's lost to Mozilla's open-source Firefox browser, first released in 2004 and which has consistently crept up on Explorer and now has nearly 12 percent of the market.

The second version of Firefox is expected in days, reviving the browser wars of the 90s when Microsoft and Netscape fought over access to the exploding Internet market, with Microsoft eventually winning out by writing Explorer into Windows - something that was later found to be illegal.

A "subset" of the version Explorer 7 will be included as part of Windows Vista, where the browser will contain two additional security features - protected mode and parental controls.

Original reporting by IDG News Service