In the face of possible regulatory action in Europe, Microsoft is looking to avoid sanctions and silence all complaints from rivals by giving users the option to remove Internet Explorer 8 from Windows 7 altogether. The feature is currently being tested in the latest pre-release build of the operating system, version 7048, which recently made its way into torrent sites.

What exactly this means remains to be seen. Such functionality might only find its way into versions of Windows 7 that are sold in Europe, for example, or Microsoft could simply be testing it in order to make sure it is ready in the future to counteract any antitrust ruling against the company. Even better, Microsoft could make the feature available to all regions from the get-go.

There is no word yet if the removal of Internet Explorer in Windows 7 affects any other areas of the operating system, but regardless of the technical aspects of this change, it seems like a smart move all around: users would gain more control over their installed apps while Microsoft fends off costly legal battles in Europe.