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Windows 7 Lets You Uninstall IE8 474

Posted by samzenpus
from the if-thy-browser-offend-thee-pluck-it-out dept.
CWmike writes "A just-leaked build of Windows 7 lets users remove Internet Explorer, the first time that Microsoft has offered the option since it integrated the browser with Windows in 1997, two bloggers reported today. The move might have been prompted by recent charges by the European Union that Microsoft has stifled browser competition by bundling IE with its operating system, the bloggers speculated. One solution under consideration by the EU would require Microsoft to disable IE if the user decided to install a different browser, such as Mozilla's Firefox or Google's Chrome. Microsoft had no comment when asked to confirm whether Windows 7 will let users dump IE8 or whether the option was in reaction to the EU charges."
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Windows 7 Lets You Uninstall IE8

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  • At last! (Score:5, Funny)

    by symbolset (646467) on Wednesday March 04, 2009 @09:36PM (#27072477) Homepage Journal

    A compelling feature to drag people away from XP.

    Now only if it included a utility to uninstall Windows...

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      it does. it's called "format c:"

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        Does it let you format the drive the current windows instance is running from?
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        It will format everything except that c:\boot\ folder.

        That doesn't belong to you! Didn't you read the EULA?

  • by Profane MuthaFucka (574406) <busheatskok@gmail.com> on Wednesday March 04, 2009 @09:37PM (#27072489) Homepage Journal

    Man who remove Internet Explorer but not Windows is a little like Lance Armstrong: still one Ballmer remaining.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Posting anonymously for reasons that are soon to be obvious.

      No astroturf here, but on my 8 months removed from bleeding edge computer, (no I7 chip), windows 7 is leaps and bounds ahead of vista. Its *almost* on par with windows XP. Perhaps with a bit of learning, I could hollow out a corner in my cold dead heart for windows 7.

      Anywho, its not AS bad as people are saying, in fact, it carries on XP's (well, much more linux's than XP's) tradition of only bugging you for admin rights when you need admin righ
  • Sure... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by aicrules (819392) on Wednesday March 04, 2009 @09:39PM (#27072515)

    And who has money on the OS not working right afterwards?

  • Disable IE? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by saleenS281 (859657) on Wednesday March 04, 2009 @09:41PM (#27072549) Homepage
    Seriously? That's absolute crap. Me installing firefox does NOT mean I want IE disabled. The EU needs to get its head out of its a**. If I want IE disabled, I'll disable it.
    • Re:Disable IE? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by girlintraining (1395911) on Wednesday March 04, 2009 @09:55PM (#27072685)

      Me installing firefox does NOT mean I want IE disabled.

      Ah, you may like it to be there. Not everyone does. And that's the crux of the matter... Having the freedom to choose. Which of course nobody cares about when they choose to go with the majority. Fortunately, the EU understands that the rights of minorities are more important.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by adamchou (993073)
        I don't see what the big deal is. So what if IE is there? You're not using it, it doesn't use up your system resources. You already have some other browser installed. Hell, you can even delete the internet explorer icon. What is so problematic about having the IE binaries there?
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by SL Baur (19540)

          What is so problematic about having the IE binaries there?

          It's another vector for attack.

          I recall some years back, there was a group that was aggressively scanning the internet for blackhats and/or issuing some kind of challenge. They got pwned when an administrator's password got sniffed and the attacker got root on one of their servers from exploiting a stray gnome program (or something like that) that didn't get removed by accident. (I'm trying to recall the correct keywords to find a reference, but coming up short, I think an article about it may have been p

      • by mc1138 (718275)
        Choice is a beautiful thing :)
    • by Samah (729132)
      Indeed. If it were possible to completely remove IE, including the rendering engine, it's incredible just how much it would break. Steam [steampowered.com] and IETab [mozilla.org] come to mind immediately.
    • by TheSpoom (715771) *
      Microsoft is hoping this happens so they can warn you upon running Firefox's installer that "ZOMG IE won't work anymore, beware!"
    • Seriously? That's absolute crap. Me installing firefox does NOT mean I want IE disabled.

      What does what you want have to do with anything? I want a new car for $50, but that doesn't mean the cops are going to let me keep one if I buy a stolen one. MS's crime affects end users only indirectly.

      The EU needs to get its head out of its a**.

      Why? Because you assume MS's engineering choices have something to do with the punishment the EU will render for a crime MS hasn't even been convicted of yet and which the EU has not made any comments about what sort of punishment they intend?

    • by linebackn (131821)

      Seriously? That's absolute crap. Me installing firefox does NOT mean I want IE disabled. The EU needs to get its head out of its a**. If I want IE disabled, I'll disable it.

      WTF? Where did it say it was going to disable IE if you installed Firefox?

      Some people like myself want - no, demand - the option to remove IE. (Even if no other browser is present!). The EU is simply doing what it can against Microsoft, who until now have seemed completely unwilling to bend.

  • they have removed the browser integration into core places.

    Whether or not you use IE, that is a good thing.

  • This is a step in the right direction. Windows 7 should come with all of the bells and whistles we've come to expect, but give us the choice of what we want to install.

    Without selecting any options, you just get an OS. I would have a lot more respect for the product.

    Now eliminate any DRM nasties and I'll be very happy.

  • I will believe it when I see it though. It seems like IE has been so tightly integrated with the system that a number of applications rely on it. For example, a lot of the Office help files look to IE to render their HTML content. Under XP, even having Firefox installed as the default browser causes problems sometimes. I would really like to see IE decoupled from the OS though. It will be interesting to see what the security implications of removing it are. I figure that they will be pretty minimal si
  • New Prank (Score:5, Informative)

    by tehwebguy (860335) on Wednesday March 04, 2009 @10:01PM (#27072763) Homepage

    Looks like the newest prank to play on someone's computer will include uninstalling all of their browsers.

  • Aw, come on, this only removes the IEXPLORE.EXE loader stub.

    Still, this is start. And about damn time.

    I'd like to see them fully drop all dependencies on IE from the desktop shell next. The help system would be the biggest problem though, but perhaps they can slowly move towards a version of windows that is not entirely dependent on IE again... but perhaps I am just still dreaming.

    Happily posted from my Windows 95 machine with SeaMonkey 1.1.14... and NO STILL IE AT ALL!

    • So wait, you want indexable, cross-linked help with the ability to jump from one useful piece of information to another, just like HTML? And you want MS to remove the HTML renderer?

      So, what do you want everyone writing Windows Help to do? Learn another language so you can remove a file that already (mostly) works? What about the 20 billion old help files?

      "Sorry Betty, the help for Office 2007 won't work on Windows 9 because linebackn wanted the HTML libraries to be removed from Windows."

      Note that there's re

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by mariushm (1022195)

        They just need to create a new hh.exe executable (or whatever is used to open those help files in the background) and list it as important update for a specific application (Office, whatever) in Windows Updates.

        The updated help application can very well use a custom made DLL file or several DLL files or internal code to render the contents of the help file. A simple library capable of showing text, links and jpg/gif images on a window is not that hard to do.

        As long as these DLL files are only used by this h

        • by DavidRawling (864446) <hulk_.yahoo@com> on Thursday March 05, 2009 @01:02AM (#27074013)

          So the same code that should be removed should be moved instead. OK, I can grok that.

          I'm quite a bit older than '95, having cut teeth on Windows 2.x (Excel). I much preferred DOS, as did most of the sane.

          But .HLP had its own set of issues, primarily around authoring and maintenance, and the indexing sucked. And under the hood it was basically a case of supporting a bastardised HTML anywhere. I think I prefer having 1 language, and one codebase.

          Also it occurred to me after I posted that if you ensure Windows has no method of interpreting HTML out of the box, then you will assuredly end up with tens or hundreds of different HTML engines. Each must be updated, patched and managed. I don't believe this is a reasonable approach. HTML is common enough that I believe it should be a basic part of a client OS.

    • by wintermute000 (928348) <johannlo1&gmail,com> on Thursday March 05, 2009 @12:22AM (#27073799)

      How about when IE crashes it DOESN'T take down file explorer with it? That is my single biggest non -security gripe with IE and the most obvious noticeable flaw in this embed-ie-in-everything approach

  • by spitzak (4019) on Wednesday March 04, 2009 @10:06PM (#27072803) Homepage

    It seems the astroturfers are going crazy trying to confuse the issue. This has nothing to do with end users. The important thing the EU is trying to get is for OEM's to have the ability to replace IE with (or add to IE) Firefox or some other browser.

    Let's repeat this carefully:

    1. An OEM (like Dell) must be able to load the computer with arbitrary programs, some of which compete with Microsoft's world domination plans, without Microsoft being able to punish them by changing the terms of their OEM contract.

    2. This has NOTHING to do with what users do with their machine after they get it home. Astroturfers are trying to say this has something to do with installing alternative browsers, or some kind of installation switch to allow the users to choose, or other bullshit. That is just to make it sound like the EU is forcing the machines to be "hard to use". In fact it is making the machine easier to use because it allows end users to not have to do the "hard" installation step, this difficulty is in fact a major part of Microsoft's lock-in.

    3. Yes the IE libraries are not going away. They cannot, as other programs use them and expect them. This is not relevant as the browser that people are using to talk to the outside world is not calling these libraries.

    4. It does sound like the truth is that IE is somewhat more "integrated" than just the existence of libraries, and thus Microsoft had to do some work so that everything works if the ie.exe file is missing (such as apparently removing the ability to choose it as the default browser if it is missing). Good for them, they are obeying the rules.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      I think you have a pretty good grasp on the situation and I tend to agree there are astroturfers here. Some of the most outrageous comments are from users who only comment on stories about Microsoft.

      3. Yes the IE libraries are not going away. They cannot, as other programs use them and expect them. This is not relevant as the browser that people are using to talk to the outside world is not calling these libraries.

      I'm not 100% convinced on this one. Likely the EU will ignore the libraries, but they are (technically) still an antitrust issue. Since MS can provide their HTML rendering libraries with every copy of Windows while other vendors cannot, developers rely upon MS's version which is not in compliance with published

  • From what I have seen, what Microsoft have implemented is "turning off" Internet Explorer. "Turning off" has never been equal to "uninstalling."

    What is to prevent Microsoft from issuing an update possibly via a third party software vendor which update will "turn on" Internet Explorer once again?

    I am not convinced...yet.

    • yeah and what's to stop Apple from re-offering to install Safari in their software updates (only using QuickTime) after I uninstall Safari?

      *yawn*

      The same would apply to Firefox is Firefox was getting peddled somewhere that I knew of.. is Chrome being peddled by Google Earth updates yet?

  • I built a new rig and installed Windows 7 and openSUSE 11.1. I don't have XP x64 installed currently, though I may move to it. So far, many of my games just won't work properly. UAC is not magically better now, though you are harassed less.

    I was copying files from my old computer. I created a samba share to copy files from. I create a new folder in my Windows 7 machine that I have access to write to. I start copying a couple thousand songs, and it stops partially though saying I have no rights on the

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      many of my games just won't work properly.

      Can you give us some samples? This just doesn't seem right, considering I've been able to run the everything from the OpenGL version of Quake 1 to some obscure TI 99/4a emulators.

      Explorer not only crashes at least once a day

      Try ShellExView [nirsoft.net]. It will allow you to see what 3rd party extensions might be hooked to explorer, which is a classic cause of explorer related stability problems.

      C:\Users\Public. Brilliant.

      This was introduced with Vista.

  • In Windows XP: Control Panel -> Add Remove Programs -> Add/Remove Windows Components -> uncheck Internet Explorer

    That's been there as long as I can remember. Obviously it won't remove the underlying components but then - I wouldn't expect it to. I also wouldn't expect Windows 7 to do so, since the underlying components server to form the foundation of the windows HTML rendering that many, many third party applications depend on.

    • by Dynedain (141758) <slashdot2 AT anthonymclin DOT com> on Wednesday March 04, 2009 @10:56PM (#27073233) Homepage

      The problem is that even if you did that, certain programs would still launch IE (Autodesk's feedback utitlity for software crashes for example) instead of the default system browseer.

      IE != Gecko. Gecko is used to render help files and other system-wide things that need an HTML rendering engine (same think as WebKit on OSX), but that does not mean that the IE application needs to be present to do so.

      • by Dynedain (141758)

        Errr... Trident that is. Gecko is Mozilla's rendering engine. Too many hours staring at CSS today....

  • by Locke2005 (849178) on Wednesday March 04, 2009 @10:39PM (#27073103)
    I normally use Firefox, but there are still a lot of web sites out there with JavaScript that only works properly under IE, so I keep IE handy to access those sites. I don't uninstall Safari just 'cause I use Firefox on my Mac, why should I uninstall IE just 'cause I use Firefox on my PC?
    • But why would you want to?

      I can think of three reasons:

      • On a netbook or the like, disk space could be an issue.
      • Regulators may require MS or OEMs to do so for legal reasons.
      • Removing IE could be a security measure, both for preventing users from having access and preventing it from being used by worms and other malware.

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