Microsoft Confirms IE8 Can Be Disabled in Win7

It was revealed earlier by poking around in the latest (leaked) build of Windows 7 that you could disable Internet Explorer 8. But that "feature" wasn't confirmed by Microsoft until Friday, however, when a blog post at the Engineering Windows 7 site noted the new functionality.

In Windows 7 we are expanding the number of features you have control over in this regard, giving customers more control, flexibility and choice in managing the features available in this version of Windows. 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)

As many probably know, removing a feature from a Microsoft OS doesn't necessarily delete the files from the hard drive. In fact, since most of us don't want to have to find the install CD / DVD to add a feature back, they are not:
If a feature is deselected, it is not available for use. This means the files (binaries and data) are not loaded by the operating system (for security-conscious customers) and not available to users on the computer. These same files are staged so that the features can easily be added back to the running OS without additional media. This staging is important feedback we have received from customers who definitely do not like to dig up the installation DVD.
Microsoft didn't address the idea that the ability to remove IE8, Windows Media Player, and more stems from the recent complaints from the European Union that bundling a browser into the operating system violates antitrust law. It's an obvious intuitive leap, though.