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Microsoft warns of IE 7 lock in XP SP3

Latest service pack for Windows XP, SP3, will prevent users from uninstalling Internet Explorer version 7

Microsoft has issued a warning that its latest service pack for Windows XP prevents users from downgrading from Internet Explorer 7 to older versions of the browser.

"If you choose to install XP SP3, Internet Explorer 7 will remain on your system after the install is complete," revealed Jane Maliouta, an IE program manager in a statement. Your preferences will be retained. However, you will no longer be able to uninstall IE7. If you go to Control Panel, Add/Remove Programs, the Remove option will be grayed out."

"The inability to downgrade to IE 6 after installing XP SP3 was by design", stated Maliouta. "If Microsoft had allowed users to revert back to the pre-SP3 version of IE6 - the one saved on users' PCs when they upgraded to IE7, and what was used until now to back out of the newer browser - Windows would have ended up in a mixed file state."

According to Microsoft, this state is not supported and is bug prone, so to ensure a stable user experience, the firm decided to prevent this ‘broke state' by disabling the ability to uninstall IE 7.

The firm revealed that users who wish to downgrade will have to uninstall Internet Explorer 7 before installing Service Pack 3.