Microsoft starts bundling IE with Windows after anti-trust terms expire

By Lee Kaelin on October 28, 2011, 9:33 AM

A decade ago Microsoft lost an anti-trust case that effectively “loosened” the link between their operating system and its Internet Explorer browser. Yesterday marked the end of that ruling, and the Redmond-based firm looks set to return to old tricks by tightening up the link between the two products once again.

The upcoming release of Windows 8 is expected to have the browser integrated into the operating system with little or no way of removing it. According to CRN, they found the Windows 8 developer pre-release offered no way of uninstalling the browser completely. Microsoft included a switch-like option to enable or disable the browser in settings, though.

Upon further investigation they found that disabling IE with customized settings, and then enabling it again restored the previous settings, proving that the browser just disappeared from the menus rather than it being removed completely. Although unlikely, it is possible the feature will change before the new operating system hits store shelves.

When quizzed by CRN, a Microsoft spokesperson commented, “We have nothing more to share about IE10 at this time beyond what in the guides and the IE Blog.” Having looked on the MSDN Windows 8 blog and the MSDN IE blog it’s immediately apparent there is no documented way of removing the browser.

The move by Microsoft is understandable as the browser is a key aspect of the OS, especially when you consider Google’s Chrome OS integrates the browser with no way to remove it in order to be functional.

It is likely to infuriate those that dislike the product but find that they are unable to remove it. Ten years ago IE’s only competition was Netscape. But things have moved along considerably in that time with Firefox, Chrome and others now biting chunks out of the Redmond giant's browser market share. It seems very unlikely that IE’s re-integration into Windows will result in the browser once again dominating the entire market.

Early last month Microsoft released a developer preview of Windows 8, complete with the hotly debated Metro UI. Those wishing to experience the next-gen operating system can download a copy here. The dev preview will come in 32-bit and 64-bit versions, with no activation required, and will receive live updates just like a retail version of Windows.




User Comments: 30

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Burty117 Burty117, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

But I like the ability to remove IE from Windows 7. I almost feel safer by doing so. One less hole for virus's to get onto my PC.

bugejakurt said:

Don't care if it is completely removed or not. Doesn't make any difference.

treetops treetops said:

Some programs force me to use ie, like my schools online functions, its rare but its there or id completely annihilate IE from my computer if possible.

Guest said:

Who in the world still uses IE anyway? Anyone who is really into computers knows that Opera is the only browser to use!

jonny702 said:

burty117 said:

But I like the ability to remove IE from Windows 7. I almost feel safer by doing so. One less hole for virus's to get onto my PC.

Ummm... are you aware that the current release of IE (9) is the most secure browser? There was a study done by NSSS labs confirming this

learninmypc learninmypc said:

Who in the world still uses IE anyway? Anyone who is really into computers knows that Opera is the only browser to use!

Personally, I prefer SeaMonkey but I'm not going to start a browser war.

Many people still use IE.

learninmypc learninmypc said:

But I like the ability to remove IE from Windows 7. I almost feel safer by doing so. One less hole for virus's to get onto my PC.

Is it easy to remove it? If so, can you tell me? Not for myself,but for a friend. TIA

DanUK DanUK said:

Guest said:

Who in the world still uses IE anyway? Anyone who is really into computers knows that Opera is the only browser to use!

I'm still pretty content with Firefox, however from what I have seen from the latest versions of IE, it isn't half bad anymore. They do still have a reputation to restore (from the old crappy version 6.0 and before)..

Whilst when I read this it did seem a bit cheeky.. as the article states other companies do this sort of thing already too.

slh28 slh28, TechSpot Paladin, said:

danuk said:

I'm still pretty content with Firefox, however from what I have seen from the latest versions of IE, it isn't half bad anymore. They do still have a reputation to restore (from the old crappy version 6.0 and before)..

Unfortunately many of us are still forced to use IE6/7 at work...

Guest said:

I have to give MS kudos for recent work. WIN7 is superb and IE 9 (with the exception of the 64-bit flavor) is greatly improved and relatively secure (all browsers have holes).

I just hope that WIN8 for tablets continues the trend of improve OS.

I'm am old Unix guy, so saying good things about MS is unusual for me.

When NT arrived we called it "Neanderthal Technology".

madboyv1, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Guest said:

I have to give MS kudos for recent work. WIN7 is superb and IE 9 (with the exception of the 64-bit flavor) is greatly improved and relatively secure (all browsers have holes).

I just hope that WIN8 for tablets continues the trend of improve OS.

I'm am old Unix guy, so saying good things about MS is unusual for me.

When NT arrived we called it "Neanderthal Technology".

"Me discover fire, invent wheel, build server." Even primarily a Windows user I've always found that funny. =)

gwailo247, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

The only thing I don't like is that even if you set another browser as default, sometimes some programs still end up using IE when they need to open up a web page. Not all, but some. I would prefer that if you select another browser as the default, W7 would always use it. I'm sure I can screw around with the options but still, its annoying.

RH00D RH00D said:

Guest said:

Who in the world still uses IE anyway? Anyone who is really into computers knows that Opera is the only browser to use!

There's no such thing as "best browser". Different browsers excel at different things. I have IE9, Firefox and Chrome all installed on my computer and I use all for different reasons. Stop being a fanboy.

Nima304 said:

If anything, the only thing integrating IE into Windows is going to do is piss a lot of people off. A good number of people will install another browser anyway.

mattfrompa mattfrompa said:

RH00D said:

Guest said:

Who in the world still uses IE anyway? Anyone who is really into computers knows that Opera is the only browser to use!

There's no such thing as "best browser". Different browsers excel at different things. I have IE9, Firefox and Chrome all installed on my computer and I use all for different reasons. Stop being a fanboy.

Exactly. I switch between those same three at home.

learninmypc learninmypc said:

I have IE 8 but don't use it. My default browser is SeaMonkey. I also have Google Chrome & Firefox.

Guest said:

Who in the world still uses IE anyway? Anyone who is really into computers knows that Opera is the only browser to use!

So you're saying the majority of the planet is "really into computers?"

NTAPRO NTAPRO said:

Netscape brings back memories... Good times

fimbles fimbles said:

Whats wrong with ie9 anyhoo?

Security issues come with popularity, its like the old macs cant get viruses myth.

Pick a UI you like and stick with it

NTAPRO NTAPRO said:

Didn't know ie could be removed from Windows 7.

caravel said:

Security issues come with popularity

So, while we're on the subject of myths...

Guest said:

It's mindnumbingly easy. You go into the control panel, select "Programs and Features", then click on "Turn Windows features on or off". Then in the list of items, uncheck "Internet Explorer xx" where xx is the version you have (it's usually the third item on the list). Click "OK" and it will remove as much of IE as it can without breaking the system.

However, what you think of as 'the browser' isn't really the browser.. IE is really just a thin shell over the IE active X object and these days, so many parts of Windows rely on it that if you could really remove it - you'd break the system.

Still, by doing what I've described - you can remove all visible traces of it - it won't be available as a standalone browser.

PS: I'd recommend installing some *other* browser first as once you've done this - you'll be browser free with no easy way to download a new one.

Cheers.

fimbles fimbles said:

So, while we're on the subject of myths...

If i want my virus to infect as many machines as possible im going to write it for the most popular browser.

Thats common sense.

fpsgamerJR62 said:

I install multiple browsers in my machines including betas and developer/nightly builds so I don't really mind IE being there. Besides, I still on occasion come across company websites optimized for IE including one of the companies which i do business with.

caravel said:

If i want my virus to infect as many machines as possible im going to write it for the most popular browser.

Thats common sense.

Oh I see... so even browsers have their own proprietary languages these days...? silly me...

Ultraman1966 said:

On a fresh OS, how can you download another web browser unless through preinstalled one first?

Guest said:

IE9 is the most secure and capable browser currently available. I have used Firefox (buggy, especially where toolbars are concerned), Opera and chrome (a trully appaling piece of software that tries very hard to reinstall itself) and always come back to IE9. I used to use Firefox exclusively but no more.

caravel said:

On a fresh OS, how can you download another web browser unless through preinstalled one first?

It depends on your OS, on most *nix OS there are various ways to get hold of most browsers without first needing a browser.

IE9 is the most secure and capable browser currently available. I have used Firefox (buggy, especially where toolbars are concerned), Opera and chrome (a trully appaling piece of software that tries very hard to reinstall itself) and always come back to IE9. I used to use Firefox exclusively but no more.

So you bought the "IE9 most secure browser" hype eh?

IE9 is also a single platform (windows only) browser, so the fact that it's "malware detection" picks up... windows malware is hardly surprising. Browsers like Firefox, Opera and Chrome run on multiple platforms and architectures, so them investing time and resources in detecting windows malware would be a waste. There are an abundance of third party programs and add ons for windows malware detection for those browsers anyway.

Ultraman1966 said:

I was just saying though for the average consumer who've just bought a PC with Windows; how would they be able to download a web browser easily? I'm just puzzled that's all.

Chrome is by far the best browser I've used... why else have firefox and IE tried to imitate its design?

fimbles fimbles said:

Oh I see... so even browsers have their own proprietary languages these days...? silly me...

Then you say

"IE9 is also a single platform (windows only) browser" (proprietary to windows you say?)

So you have in effect answered your own question.

I also suggest you download the "cross compatible" windows specific versions of firefox, chrome, and opera and try to install them on a unix machine. good luck

Anyway im off to download the latest security fix for c++ .............

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