Microsoft has included in recent Windows 7 test versions an option to turn off the Internet Explorer 8 Web browser, according to testers who have used the recent builds.
According to Chris Holmes, build 7048 of Windows 7 includes IE8 as one of many Windows components that can be turned on or off via a 'Windows Features' dialogue box. The control panel exists in the public beta version of Windows 7, but IE8 is not listed among the features that can be turned on or off.
Microsoft declined to comment on the feature's inclusion or the reasons behind the move. Some have speculated that it might have something to do with the EU's objection to the inclusion of a browser within Windows.
According to Microsoft, the EU may force PC makers to offer multiple browsers on new Windows-based PCs, and require Microsoft to disable certain unspecified Internet Explorer software code if a user chooses a competing browser at the set-up stage.
Enthusiast site AeroXperience has more detail on how IE can be toggled on and off.
Microsoft is making a number of changes to Windows 7 as it moves from the beta to release-candidate stage. However, the IE change was not one that was highlighted in a recent Microsoft blog posting on the topic.