Windows 7 to Be Modular & IE Optional

Microsoft brings in welcome feature to strip its latest OS of many components.

There have long been calls for Microsoft to cut the bulk from its Windows operating systems to make for faster installation and more nimble operation and at last Microsoft has complied… to an extent.

Posting on its MSDN blog, Microsoft group programme manager Jack Mayo has revealed Windows 7 will come with a simple new option known as ‘Turning Windows Features On or Off’. A similar feature was available in previous generations but this will extend beyond the basics to include the likes of:

  • 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)

“We want to provide choice while also making sure we do not compromise on compatibility by removing APIs provided for developers,” explained Mayo. “We also want to strike the right balance for consumers in providing choice and balancing compatibility with applications and providing a consistent Windows experience.”

Sadly however Microsoft hasn’t quite taken this feature as far as many (including ourselves) would like. Addressing the central issue Mayo admitted:

“Finally, we know some have suggested that this set of choices be a ‘setup option’. Some operating systems do provide this type of setup experience. As we balanced feedback, the vast majority of feedback we have received was to streamline setup and to reduce the amount of potential complexity in getting a PC running. We chose to focus this feature on the post-setup experience for Windows 7.”

Personally I don’t see how a single option for ‘simple’ or ‘advanced’ setup would have complicated things in anyway but at least it is there after installation.

So what would Microsoft motivations be for such a seemingly hostile move against its own software components? I’d suggest a little something called the European Commission and the nine year antitrust battle the two fought. Of course with most PC users being technological Neanderthals in any case, that also explains why this feature is only available post install: it doesn’t advertise its presence and most then won’t have the tech savvy to realise it exists at all.

Sneaky Microsoft, but for the rest of us it’s time for ”Uninstallarama!”

MSDN Blog Post

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