Windows 7 may let users uninstall Internet Explorer

Don’t like Internet Explorer? Well, it looks like Windows 7 will actually let you remove it—and not just close off access to it like in prior Windows releases. ComputerWorld cites a couple of blogs that show how, in the latest non-public Windows 7 build, users can eliminate IE8 for good.

According to AeroXperience, removing the browser involves heading to the Windows Features control panel, and it actually scraps the iexplore.exe executable. The blog elaborates:

For now, this only seems to wipe the actual executable running Internet Explorer 8 (iexplore.exe), but given that many of the most vocal proponents of choice were just looking for an option to functionally remove IE8, this might’ve been the only way to do it without killing the rest of Windows. In addition, this actually takes two reboots and a configuration step to complete, so there’s definitely something going on behind the scenes (likely a remapping of where IE-related functions can be found for other elements in Windows so that Windows doesn’t complain about IE’s nonexistence).

As ComputerWorld points out in a separate article, Microsoft has recently come under fire from the European Commission because of its browser bundling tactics. Word in January was that the Commission could order Microsoft and PC vendors to let users choose a browser when setting up a new computer.

Comments closed
    • kamikaziechameleon
    • 11 years ago

    I’m using vista and windows 7 right now and windows 7 is worlds more stable, worlds, for some reason windows vista hates me and has all kinds of problems with silly things and even when it runs stably tons of programs don’t run stability on it. heck just yesterday media player corrupted its self somehow. and yet with all my technical shenanigans windows 7 has only required repair twice and has had no software corruption or anything.

    • zgirl
    • 11 years ago

    interesting there is an iexplorer.exe and an explorer.exe application in windows still.

    hmmm….I am confused as to how they are the same thing yet separate.

    I’ll go for the shared look and feel but they are two separate apps still.

    • TheBob!
    • 11 years ago

    I don’t ever really used IE. It’s slow imo, but I find no need to remove it.

    • axeman
    • 11 years ago

    Big whoop. iexplore.exe is not much at all. The real business happens with mshtml.dll . If you could remove that bastard without Windows taking a dump, then I’d be impressed.

    • alex666
    • 11 years ago

    Will W7 with IE removed allow manual windows updates with FF or Opera? Or will the user be stuck with automatic updates?

      • NeXus 6
      • 11 years ago

      You can do manual Windows updates via the Control Panel, so there’s no need for IE or another web browser.

        • alex666
        • 11 years ago

        Geez, I never noticed that before. I always did it through IE. Learn something everyday. Thanks.

          • Vinceant
          • 11 years ago

          That’s what happens when you don’t use the latest versions of windows. 😛

          Vista has a whole new interface for updates, and it handles them quite nicely. No more web interface, or ‘winterface’.

            • alex666
            • 11 years ago

            I use XP Home, Vista Business 32 and Vista Home 32 and 64, and I have W7 beta installed on an old raptor and use it on one of my systems. Win Update is not in XP Control Panel, and I just never noticed it in Vista or W7 beta. Also, I’ve used Vista on one of my home builds for two years!!

            Nope, just inattention on my part. Makes me want to go take a closer look at some of the other entries in Vista Control Panel and elsewhere to see what else I’ve missed.

            BTW, I’ve been playing a bit with the IE8 RC1 on my XP build and have found it as fast if not faster than FF, at least for loading pages. So far, so good.

            • Usacomp2k3
            • 11 years ago

            When you go to the Windows Update website, it actually redirects to the Control Panel, IIRC.

    • blacksteel
    • 11 years ago

    Apple bundles apps and browser with their OS and I don’t see the EU going after them for it. Seems a bit one sided to me. You can still remove IE7 from WinXP, although it’s in another tab of the add/remove programs.

      • NeXus 6
      • 11 years ago

      That’s because nobody uses Apple (haha).

    • Xenolith
    • 11 years ago

    This is only to satisfy the EU. There is no good reason for MS to do this.

      • indeego
      • 11 years ago

      See: WIndows Server Core as to why it is a very good thingg{.}g

      • WaltC
      • 11 years ago

      I think it’s an excellent idea for Microsoft to do this, actually–it’s really brilliant as it should completely eliminate any complaints about “bundling.” Of course, the bundling claim has always been specious, as way back in the Netscape days I was running Navigator right alongside IE without a problem. I mean, the fact that Windows came with IE has never, ever presented any sort of barrier to me installing whatever other browser I might choose to use. Indeed, those of us who recall using Navigator and then Communicator in those early days were well schooled in how to download and install browsers–thanks to Netscape, before we ever looked at IE for the first time…;) IMO, the bundling complaint has always been ludicrous.

    • TheTechReporter
    • 11 years ago

    Standards compliant?
    You _DO_ realize we are talking about a file browser here? The thing you use to look at files on your hard drive?

    W3C’s standards – or anyone else’s for that matter – definitely do _NOT_ apply here.

    Try again.

    Same thing with the vulnerabilities you mentioned.

    Most of them _don’t_ apply for anything that doesn’t use your network.

    The point is, Microsoft _has_ fully addressed the issue, not that there even really _was_ one to begin with.

    Oh, and lastly, you need to realize that other rendering engines have flaws, too. We wouldn’t be much – if any – better off if MS replaced Trident with Gecko, for example.

    • indeego
    • 11 years ago

    Sweet! Maybe, just maybe, we won’t have to reboot our OS every month because of a browser we’ll never useg{<.<}g

    • jstern
    • 11 years ago

    The only time I use IE is when I do a new OS installation and need to download Firefox. If my IE had feelings, it would feel so unflattered.

      • WaltC
      • 11 years ago

      I use FIreFox and IE every day, as there are some sites I prefer with IE and some I prefer with FF. I’d say my average ratio is about 80% FIrefox, 20% IE–but I prefer IE for the sties where I need encryption.

    • Sargent Duck
    • 11 years ago

    I use Firefox 100% of the time, but I keep IE7 fully patched, and will install IE 8 when it comes out. I do like having a back-up browser (not that Firefox ever crashes) and I think IE works just fine.

    That being said, I wish the EU comission would just dissapear. It’s Microsoft’s product and they should be allowed to bundle what they want. Every non-computer geek/Joe sixpack knows how to download Firefox (I actually can’t think of anyone using IE), so having IE on there really doesn’t make a difference.

    I suppose if Microsoft were to bundle free fully licensed fully functional versions of Office 2k7, SQL and toss in a copy of Windows Home server for good measure, the European comission would still complain, despite the tremoundous value consumers would be getting.

    **Sorry, I went off on a rant. Didn’t mean too.

      • TheBob!
      • 11 years ago

      l[<**Sorry, I went off on a rant. Didn't mean too. <]l Happens to the best of us.

      • pogsnet
      • 11 years ago
    • derFunkenstein
    • 11 years ago

    Heh, I’m pretty sure it’ll need to leave something behind. Widnows Explorer and IE have too much in common.

    • designerfx
    • 11 years ago

    IE would still be tied to the file explorer. So you’re still tied/screwed. Thus, this solves a small portion of the issue but avoids the real problem.

      • dmitriylm
      • 11 years ago

      The issue has always been that Microsoft is forcing the use of IE for web browsing purposes. It’s use in file browsing is not a problem.

      • VaultDweller
      • 11 years ago

      OK, so your issue isn’t with the web browser application (which is flat-out, 100% removed with this option), but with the Trident engine? You want Microsoft to remove OS’s ability to understand HTML?

      Wow, you really want MS to cripple their OS, don’t you? Why is that, I wonder? Is it an attempt to force MS to lose market share by denying them the right to create a viable product? I don’t get it.

      You realize that Trident is used by a number of other applications, like Steam, Google Talk, LimeWire, as well as a number of other less-popular web browsers?

        • designerfx
        • 11 years ago

        I’m pretty sure if we weren’t forced to use trident for the file explorer someone could come up with something a: standards compliant and b: that would release the necessity for internet explorer in its entirety and all the associated vulnerabilities.

        Steam doesn’t use trident at all anymore, it uses Gecko. Maybe you don’t want to just try to grab names from wikipedia to sound like you know what you’re talking about next time. Even though wiki cites it, it is incorrect.

          • VaultDweller
          • 11 years ago

          Microsoft has released the necessity for Internet Explorer in its entirety. That’s what this news piece is about. Trident remains, but Internet Explorer is gone. Trident != Internet Explorer.

          A 3rd party rendering engine would indeed release us from the vulnerabilities associated with Trident. It would in turn chain us to the vulnerabilities associated with Gecko, WebKit, Presto, or whatever replaces it.

          The argument for standards compliance is very out of date. There is no such thing as a fully standards compliant engine, and Trident isn’t significantly behind the competition in this arena. Windows 7 doesn’t include IE 6 – drawing comparisons between Firefox’s relatively strict compliance and poor compliance in Microsoft’s old browsers is a moot point.

          The entire argument is bankrupt anyway. On operating system /[

        • indeego
        • 11 years ago

        “You realize that Trident is used by a number of other applications, like Steam, Google Talk, LimeWire, as well as a number of other less-popular web browsers?”

        And why would any application choose that poor engine in the first place? It’s moronic to tie yourself to a rendering engine you don’t have direct control over, especially when free ones exist and are trivial to implement with low cost/spaceg{<.<}g You see this upon occasion with outlook. An IE "update" changes how the rendering works within outlook, and all hell breaks looseg{<.<}g

          • Meadows
          • 11 years ago

          Breaks *[

      • grantmeaname
      • 11 years ago

      what are you talking about?

        • Meadows
        • 11 years ago

        Internet Explorer’s age-old integration into Windows Explorer.

        Notice the fact you can access FTP in Internet Explorer like it was Windows Explorer? It _[

          • indeego
          • 11 years ago

          /[<...Pure magic at work, for a decade nowg{<.<}g<]/

            • Meadows
            • 11 years ago

            All right, we’re even… for now.

          • derFunkenstein
          • 11 years ago

          I thought Vista opened URLs entered in Windows Explorer in a separate window now?

            • Meadows
            • 11 years ago

            Haven’t checked it in a while, and currently my default browser is Firefox, so yes, typing in an address will actually create a new tab in Firefox.

            Personally, I never use the feature and I see very minimal utility. Might be where my outdated memory comes from. It might also happen that the behaviour is unchanged if you use Internet Explorer, I don’t know.

    • Unckmania
    • 11 years ago

    I really don’t think it’s wrong for MS to bundle IE8 or 7 or any other software together with their OS, after all they are only making their OS robust. It’s not like people complained about Windows movie Maker, or even Wordpad or Paint. They’re just apps, and i don’t see how IE escapes that definition.

      • cheesyking
      • 11 years ago

      WOW, “IE” and “robust” used in the same sentence!

        • dmitriylm
        • 11 years ago

        Some needs to get a hook and pull you off the stage!

        • Corrado
        • 11 years ago

        Adding a web browser of ANY kind makes an OS more ‘robust’ than one that DOESN’T include one. No one complains about OS X including Safari as the only browser. No one complains about Linux variants coming with all sorts of web browsers. The issue isn’t that it included the web browser, EVER. It was that it forced you to use IE for certain things (like Windows Update), so that even if you WANTED to get rid of IE, you really couldn’t.

          • Meadows
          • 11 years ago

          You never had to use IE for updates ever since the popular advent of Windows XP – and Vista (and up) forcibly killed that avenue altogether, the Microsoft Update webpage will redirect you back to your OS.

            • Corrado
            • 11 years ago

            I know. You could also essentially block IE from running after XP SP2 (or was it SP1?) with the ‘Default Programs’ applet.

        • YeuEmMaiMai
        • 11 years ago

        I like the fact that I can install windows and have most of the things I need to use the PC right out of the box like a browser, media center, and some fun games to boot….lol it’s not like we cannot choose to install another browswer……….

    • Dashak
    • 11 years ago

    Makes sense considering that Vista doesn’t need to update through a browser anymore… was just a matter of time before it was made unnecessary except for being a way to download Firefox.

      • Kurkotain
      • 11 years ago

      …..or chrome??? 🙂

        • dmitriylm
        • 11 years ago

        ..or opera or the many other alternative browsers. Yeah, lets just name them all!

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