Microsoft will deliver the new version of Internet Explorer through its Automatic Updates service, but the software giant said yesterday.

It plans to release the final version of IE7 near the end of the year and the browser will be pushed out through the austomated update system soon after, said Explorer's product manager, Gary Schare. Companies will however be provided with a tool to bypass the update because of the extent of changes that the new browser makes to Windows operating systems.

Although software delivered through automatic updates usually is sent automatically without any interaction from the PC user, Microsoft will give users a chance to opt in or out of receiving the IE 7 release, Schare said. This is the same tactic Microsoft used when it released Windows XP Service Pack 2. Users will be asked if they want to install it now, not install it at all or install it later.

Explorer 7 will be available as a free download from Microsoft's IE site. The browser is currently in its beta 3 release. Some of the new features available in IE7 include built-in support for RSS feeds, tabbed browsing and improved security, including an anti-phishing filter.