Microsoft has released tools to block Internet Explorer 10 (IE10) from automatically reaching corporate PCs running Windows 7, a sign that the new browser will not release for at least several weeks.

The IE10 Automatic Update Blocker Toolkit is designed for enterprises that want to keep workers on an older edition of IE. Its tools include a script that can be run locally, as well as an administrative template IT administrators can use to widely block IE10 through Group Policy settings.

The tools block automatic upgrading of older editions of Internet Explorer to IE10 on Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 via the operating systems' built-in Automatic Update service. Companies that rely on WSUS (Windows Server Update Services) or SMS (Systems Management Server) do not need the toolkit; they can manage the deployment of IE10 using those programs.

Individuals can also use the toolkit to keep IE10 off their Windows machines.

Microsoft has issued similar toolkits for IE7, IE8 and IE9 prior to those browsers' public releases. For the last two iterations, Microsoft offered a toolkit approximately one to two months before the release of the browser.

If Microsoft hews to the same timetable -- probable, since the idea is to give companies time to deploy the block -- IE10 will launch as soon as the first week of March, but perhaps as late as early April.