Microsoft Confirms IE8 Can be Removed from Windows 7

Microsoft’s Windows 7 development team yesterday confirmed that users will be able to remove Internet Explorer 8, as well as several other Microsoft applications, from Windows 7.

This appears to be a major step by the company in addressing the long standing anti-trust complaints of bundling their applications with Windows, and may account in part for the recent scaling back by the European Union in its monitoring of the software giant.

Following the recent findings by Chris Holmes and Bryant Zadegan that IE8 can be removed from Windows 7 build 7048, Jack Mayo, group program manager at Microsoft, confirmed that Windows 7 has expanded the number of Microsoft applications which can be turned off.

In a post on the Engineering Windows 7 blog Friday, Mayo explained: “In addition to the features that were already available to turn on or off in Windows Vista, we’ve added the following features to the list in Windows 7:”

  • Windows Media Player
  • Windows Media Center
  • Windows DVD Maker
  • Internet Explorer 8
  • Windows Search
  • Handwriting Recognition (through the Tablet PC Components option)
  • Windows Gadget Platform
  • Fax and Scan
  • XPS Viewer and Services (including the Virtual Print Driver)

Important to recognize is that while these applications can be turned off, meaning they are not loaded by the operating system or available for use, the files remain present on the hard disk in a staging area so that they can be easily turned back on again without the need to use installation media. This ability to turn applications on and off is available at both setup and post setup.

As we pointed out earlier this year, IE8 is definitely an important milestone, and this new policy of allowing their bundled applications to be turned off seems to be the right step by Microsoft in creating a more level playing field for third parties on the Windows platform.

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