Windows 7 has the ability to disable more than just IE8
Monday, March 09, 2009

First, it was the unveiling of the concept that individuals utilizing Windows 7 would have the ability to turn Internet Explorer either on or off, however now other features included in Microsoft's OS are being revealed -- each of which will be able to be turned on or off under user control, but without removing them from disk (so they don't later require re-install from the original Microsoft install DVD).

In a blog post on Friday, Microsoft announced that the next version of its operating system will allow users to control on and off settings for:

Windows Media Center
Windows Media Player
Windows search
The XPS viewer
and many other items

The blog states, "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."

These new options are more than likely in response to the recent accusations by the EU for antitrust issues that Microsoft has used its dominant Windows market share position to force other software, like Internet Explorer, onto the market. The company is probably finding that it is becoming quite expensive to be so strict on their integrated software.

Note that other operating systems, such as versions of Linux, often come pre-installed with several popular packages as well. These help to make the out-of-box user experience more productive in today's technology. However, unlike Microsoft's operating system, these pre-installed software packages (typically several media players, decoders, OpenOffice and Firefox browser) are easily uninstallable and can be replaced with other programs without leaving their footprint on the system. Microsoft's slow adoption of a form of this full-removal feature is evidenced by this new flexibility reportedly in Windows 7.

Source: Windows 7 has the ability to disable more than just IE8