Forgot your password?
typodupeerror

IE7 Separated from Windows Explorer 434

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the long-overdue dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Security experts warned Microsoft 10 years ago that putting IE as a component of Windows Explorer was a bad idea, looks like Microsoft finally decided to listen to the advice. According to a short write up in Business Week, Microsoft has decided that when IE7 comes out with Vista it will no longer be a component of Windows Explorer and will be able to replace IE6 even on XP machines."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

IE7 Separated from Windows Explorer

Comments Filter:
  • by LiquidCoooled (634315) on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @02:38PM (#14974480) Homepage Journal
    Surely they mean outwordly replace IE 6 like Firefox etc do, whilst keeping IE 6 tied into the XP system?

    I wonder what would happen if you decided to remove IE 7 after installing it. Or will they "upgrade" it like they do with DirectX and Media Player (ie one way upgrades only, essentially no rolling back).

    They are talking about Click to activate ActiveX controls as being a security benefit thats been added for the user - I thought it was because of losing the patent dispute?

    ps, the guy talking sounds like Farnsworth, its worth listening just for that!
    • by Krach42 (227798) on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @02:44PM (#14974568) Homepage Journal
      They are talking about Click to activate ActiveX controls as being a security benefit thats been added for the user - I thought it was because of losing the patent dispute?

      Companies do this stupid stuff all the time. It's called "Spin".

      Banks were marketting the instant scan of checks to customers as a security feature. "See your checks online right away, to be able to spot fraud easier!" In truth? With the instant scans of the checks, "check float" has been removed, and a big issue that banks had with some illegal behavior that most people thought were ok, is gone.

      Heck, sometimes it comes to down right lies. I worked for a certain ISP signing people up for service, and if we were having computer problems, like a crash or something, we were told to tell customers that we were "upgrading" our system to provide "better customer service in the future". Which of course is a lie, because the network just sucked and was slow as crap, and the computer would crash and reboot all the time.

      I don't believe any "feature" anymore as of Java, which marketed things like "architecture neutral", when I realized, it wasn't "architecture neutral" it was just designed to be an easily emulated architecture.
      • by AKAImBatman (238306) * <.akaimbatman. .at. .gmail.com.> on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @02:57PM (#14974721) Homepage Journal
        With the instant scans of the checks, "check float" has been removed, and a big issue that banks had with some illegal behavior that most people thought were ok, is gone.

        Check floating is not illegal. It's simply an artifact of the way banks work. You're probably thinking of check kiting [wikipedia.org], which is an illegal scheme that takes advantage of the float periods.
    • Actually, you can try the Beta of IE7: http://www.microsoft.com/windows/ie/ie7/ie7betared irect.mspx [microsoft.com] And yes, you can uninstall it properly afterward.
      • A quick question if I may. Does IE7 install alongside IE6, or does it automatically take over your system for the period of it's installation?

        Having experience with previous Microsoft IE Betas (4.0 w/ the new explorer, and 5.0), I'm not too keen on replacing my stable installation of IE. Without it, I won't be able to properly test web applictions and might as well uninstall IE6.
        • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @04:04PM (#14975420) Homepage Journal
          Well, you can make multiple IE installs now by unpacking the installation cab files into a directory and putting a file called something like "IEXPLORE.exe.local" (I think that's it) into the directory. Unfortunately, it won't show the proper version in the About box, but if you load a page that renders differently in the two versions you can see that it is in fact using the older renderer. This is what I do to do testing between IE5.5 and IE6 on WinXP now. Maybe this new version will install alongside IE6?
    • is separate dlls and registry entries, I'm sure they'll still use lots of code from IE in Windows Explorer. Don't get me wrong, I love this. It means when IE takes a dive I don't have to shell to a command prompt to get it fixed (and deal with MS's lousy command line tools). It's never been that hard to separate the two (you just dupe the dlls and reg entires).
  • Welcome news (Score:5, Interesting)

    by From A Far Away Land (930780) on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @02:40PM (#14974503) Homepage Journal
    I had heard initially that IE7 wasn't going to be available for Windows 2000, and assumed that meant it wasn't going to be for XP either. If it works on XP, what would stop it from running on 2000 other than a Microsoft desire to cripple it so that people have one more reason they must leave 2000 which still works fine for most tasks [as long as it's well patched]?
    • Re:Welcome news (Score:5, Informative)

      by offput (961196) on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @02:59PM (#14974758)
      Windows 2000 is no longer in the windows labelled "mainstream support" so the less they have to deal with it the better for their support teams. On IEBlog [msdn.com], they also cite specifically why it can work for WinXP and not Win2K. It's because of the security upgrades done to XP in service pack 2 which they claim are not easily back-ported into 2K.
    • Well, don't know.... (Score:3, Informative)

      by sgant (178166)
      But considering that I'm actually using the Beta for IE7 on XP now, it seems to be working.

      Or are you talking more that it will be tested on XP and all, but the final version won't be available?

      By the way, you can download and run the beta now. It's open. Even has an uninstall on it.
    • Re:Welcome news (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Just Some Guy (3352)
      If it works on XP, what would stop it from running on 2000

      You mean, like the fact that XP actually ships with newer components than W2K? By your logic, why stop at Windows 2000? If it can be made to run on XP, then why not NT4? NT3.51? At some point you have to draw a line in the sand and say "beyond this point we do not go". It likes like they picked their cutoff.

  • Lied to the EU? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Manip (656104) on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @02:40PM (#14974504)
    Didn't Microsoft engineers claim, in court, to the EU that they couldn't remove Internet Explorer from the Operating System without breaking it?

    Interesting seeing as Microsoft are now suddenly able to seperate the two (in reference to Windows XP, not Windows Vista).
    • Re:Lied to the EU? (Score:5, Informative)

      by mtenhagen (450608) on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @02:42PM (#14974540) Homepage
      That did not apply to windows xp but to windows 95 and me.

      Maybe it could be done but this is the reason it will only be done for xp. On the other hand, having seen some of microsofts products it doesnt suprise me that a web browser which executes remote code (activex) is part of the os.
    • Re:Lied to the EU? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Cro Magnon (467622) on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @02:42PM (#14974542) Homepage Journal
      It's only a lie if an IE-less Vista isn't broken.
    • Re:Lied to the EU? (Score:5, Informative)

      by FatRatBastard (7583) on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @02:46PM (#14974588) Homepage
      Technically they were correct. Think of it as if BMW rerouted the ignition circiut to make sure it passed through the car stereo. Technically, removing the stereo could render the car useless. Its a stupid design decision unless you're trying to monopolize the market in car stereos.
      • Re:Lied to the EU? (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        If combining a file manager with a web browser was stupid, then why did the Konqueror folks rip off the idea and do exactly the same thing?
        • Re:Lied to the EU? (Score:3, Insightful)

          by FatRatBastard (7583)
          I'm not arguing that combining the windows browser with the web browser was stupid (I think its actually not a bad idea). I'm it is a stupid design decision to tie it so tightly to the OS (or, as someone else pointed out not stupid at all if you're Microsoft and you're trying to kill Netscape). There is no technical *need* to run the OS's update functionality through the browser, yet Microsoft did it anyway (if I recall correctly that was one of their exhibits on why they couldn't remove IE from Windows w
        • Re:Lied to the EU? (Score:3, Informative)

          by QuestorTapes (663783)
          > If combining a file manager with a web browser was stupid, then why
          > did the Konqueror folks rip off the idea and do exactly the same thing?

          If it were merely that IE was the file system browser, it wouldn't be the problem it is. IE is a critical component of the help rendering engine, and the source of a lot of the APIs underneath that -any- file system browser in Windows is normally going to depend on.

          In addition, critical DLLs (COMCTL32, and SHLWAPI for two) have been updated, APIs added, and code
      • Technically, they weren't correct at all. Your analogy is far from being true, removing IE wouldn't "render XP useless". You wouldn't be able to use the "active desktop", some view modes in explorer.exe, the html help, part of the media player...

        Microsoft managed to convince that if those things stop working, windows is "rendered useless". It's not. The kernel is running, drivers are managing the hardware, the win32 API can be used.....

        Of course Microsoft was interested in make judgues think that IE could n
    • "Didn't Microsoft engineers claim, in court, to the EU that they couldn't remove Internet Explorer from the Operating System without breaking it?"
      That doesn't mean much when your OS has been broken from day one.
    • Re:Lied to the EU? (Score:3, Informative)

      by qw0ntum (831414)
      If you listen to the full podcast (LTFP?), they say that the seperation between the browser and the OS will only come in Vista. In XP versions, IE7 will only add new restrictions to ActiveX controls.

      So I guess they were not lying, at least according to BusinessWeek.

    • Re:Lied to the EU? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by dtfinch (661405) * on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @02:57PM (#14974729) Journal
      You can't completely remove IE without breaking things. A lot of third party programs use IE to display html, or use HTML Help (.chm) files. Without IE, Windows would have trouble running many of the programs Wine has trouble with (unless IE is installed).
      • They should make the API details public, so that you can replace the mshtml code with an html rendering engine of your choice, such as gecko or khtml
        • Re:Lied to the EU? (Score:3, Informative)

          by CTho9305 (264265)
          They should make the API details public, so that you can replace the mshtml code with an html rendering engine of your choice, such as gecko or khtml

          It is, and you can [www.iol.ie] (with Gecko, at least).
    • I suspect that for Windows XP, there will be no actual separation. IE6 will still be on the machine and used in Explorer, but IE7 will be the actual browser component.
    • Didn't Microsoft engineers claim, in court, to the EU that they couldn't remove Internet Explorer from the Operating System without breaking it?

      Nope, that was the US case. The EU case is primarily about bundling Windows Media Player.
    • It took ten years of work to figure out how...
  • Sad (Score:5, Funny)

    by Eightyford (893696) on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @02:41PM (#14974514) Homepage
    Another divorce. Why can't Americans just stay together for the kids?
    • Because staying together would actually be worse for the kids. Since the relationship between the parents is already bad, this would create a hostile environment in the home. It's funny how this also applies to Internet Explorer. It would actually be better for the user if IE "divorced" the rest of the operating system.
    • Re:Sad (Score:5, Funny)

      by eclectro (227083) on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @03:37PM (#14975163)
      Why can't Americans just stay together for the kids?

      Because this marriage produces a kid every other day that has three eyes or extra limbs??
  • On XP (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Moby Cock (771358) on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @02:41PM (#14974517) Homepage
    This is great news! However, will IE7 on a Win XP box simply be an add-on (a la Firefox) while maintaining the status quo for Windows Explorer and IE being linked?
    • Yeah, I think this is exactly the case.

      That said, if installing IE7 also keeps Windows Explorer from accessing the web, it is still a big step for security on XP.
  • Okay, but... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by babbling (952366) on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @02:41PM (#14974525)
    Will Windows Explorer still be able to function as a web browser once IE7 has been installed separately on XP?

    I imagine a lot of users are quite used to typing webaddress.com into Windows Explorer, now. I suppose that should respond by launching the user's default browser with the command line argument webaddress.com, but is that what it will do, or will WinExplore still function as a browser?
    • I fear that IE6 will still be 'under-the-hood' and that IE7 will be unto itself on an XP box. As for a Vista box, perhaps they are banking on people developing new habits for a new platform (unless it does spawn a new browser, but that would confuse some people).
    • Re:Okay, but... (Score:2, Informative)

      by wrfelts (950027)

      Will Windows Explorer still be able to function as a web browser once IE7 has been installed separately on XP?

      it's a VERY simple programming trick.

      if (web-type url typed into location bar) {
      CallRegisteredBrowserEngine(typedURL,windowSize,Wi ndowPosition);
      }

      As long as the registered default browser has the same interface calls published in the registry, it should work fine, and would allow for alternative browsers to cleanly interact with the OS.

      On the other hand, this is Microsoft we're

      • Re:Okay, but... (Score:2, Interesting)

        by doofusclam (528746)
        >>it's a VERY simple programming trick.

        No it isn't. Most of the problem is that ActiveX and other MS native components on a webpage aren't supported in other browsers, and for good reason.

        Windows Update for example always calls IE and uses ActiveX. Changing the default browser is going to break WU.
    • I would expect MS to simply change the behavior of Windows Explorer to launch IE (or whatever other browser you set as default) when you type a web address in a WE bar. It wouldn't be that difficult.
      • You don't know that for sure. If they were rewriting Windows Explorer from scratch, fine, but they're going to be modifying it or leaving it as it is.

        It's not simple because you need to ask: how well can Windows Explorer function when you take Internet Explorer out of it? The dependence isn't necessarily one-way. It sounds like the two are thoroughly one program, at the moment.
    • No, I think you will get this popup error message:
      "Windows cannot find '(null)'. Make sure you typed the name correctly, and then try again. To search for a file, click the Start button, and then click Search.

      [ OK ]
  • Finally! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by noamsml (868075) <noamsml@nOsPaM.gmail.com> on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @02:42PM (#14974543) Homepage
    Next thing you'll know, maybe they'll realize that running executables out of the browser is a bad idea, and that an arbitrary execution flaw on CD insertion is NOT a feature.
  • by Kelson (129150) * on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @02:44PM (#14974564) Homepage Journal
    I'm sure I'm about to burn karma with this... but in KDE, Konqueror acts as both web browser and file manager. At least it's entirely userspace, but does anyone know how closely the file managing and web browsing aspects of Konqueror are tied?
    • by Doctor Crumb (737936) on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @02:53PM (#14974669) Homepage
      You are correct in noting that Konq is entirely userspace, which is why they can make it browse whatever they want it to. If you don't like it, you can use Nautilus or firefox or midnight commander or any number of other things. This is only a big deal for IE/Explorer because it is tied to the OS, and because it is really your only choice for many things.

      As for how tightly tied konqueror is to itself, that's pretty much moot. Much of Konqueror's capabilities are provided by kioslaves, which are another layer entirely, and could theoretically be used by other apps. *Shrug*
    • This was my thought too. However, I seem to recall that Konqueror is little more than a frontend for KIO slaves. Could be wrong though, so I guess we need some one knowledgeable to respond or head to the repository [kde.org]. :)
    • Actually if I recall correctly Konquerer isn't either of those. In fact, it is just a holder for Kparts. In turn, there happens to a be a Kpart for file management and one for HTML rendering (KHTML in this case). So...konquerer can also be a music player (there is a Kpart for that), an RSS reader (again...another Kpart)...

      So, konquerer really can be anything you want. So this isn't the best example.
    • by brunes69 (86786)
      Konqueror is not a file manager or a web browser, in the strictest sense. Konqueror is just a container that runs KParts. That's all. There is a file management KPart, and a Web Browsing KPart, which is what most people use by far. But really konqueror is just a shell that loads whatever you want it to. The KHTML KPart is no more 'integrated' into KDE or the OS than the PDF KPart is, or the MPlayer KPart.
    • IE and explorer run entirely in userspace too.
    • This was the first thing I thought of too. When I use KDE I still prefer Firefox as a browser, yet, telling KDE this, it seems to reluctantly give up control of URLs because they seem to have their own URL syntax for things. I typically delete parts of KDE I don't want to mysteriously get launched, but Konqueror (as a file browser) is not one of the things I want to do without.
  • by digitaldc (879047) * on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @02:45PM (#14974576)
    Did you hear IE7 Separated from Windows Explorer?

    Yes, I also heard she is now dating some new guy Winslow Vista.
  • meh (Score:4, Interesting)

    by popeguilty (961923) <`popeguilty' `at' `gmail.com'> on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @02:46PM (#14974593)
    Will anyone who isn't currently using MSIE6 use MSIE7 on this news?
  • Good news (Score:5, Interesting)

    by TheSkepticalOptimist (898384) on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @02:46PM (#14974596)
    IE was integrated because the same kind of display used to show files and directories could be used to display web content, and it made sense to integrate the same technology in order to save on system resources.

    Today, with people having more horsepower in their computer then they know what to do with, same goes for hard drive space, having a tightly integrated web browser / file browser doesn't make sense, and it has been a source of Microsoft's security problems.

    Yes, you will still be able to type a web address in the file explorer in Vista and have a web page display . While explorer and internet explorer are no longer integrated, Vista will transparently switch between the applications and maintain the same window view.

    I am sure that I.E. components will still be launched at system startup, to give Microsoft and edge over 3rd party browsers for quick browser launching, but by removing the integration with the file explorer, this will definitely be a welcomed change that should offer better security in the long run, which Microsoft desperitely needs.
    • Re:Good news (Score:3, Insightful)

      by blamanj (253811)
      IE was integrated to get by monopoly restrictions.

      It's possible to share code without making an application part of the operating system. They're called DLLs.
      • Re:Good news (Score:3, Informative)

        by Tim C (15259)
        It's possible to share code without making an application part of the operating system. They're called DLLs.

        Yes, and the one under discussion currently is called mshtml.dll. IE/Windows Explorer is essentially just a wrapper around that. You can use either interchangeably, the only real difference is the set of default buttons, views, menu options, etc. For example, you can open Windows Explorer, type "slashdot.org" in the address bar, hit enter, and surf slashdot. Or you can open up IE, type C:\ in the addr
  • by Billly Gates (198444) on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @02:47PM (#14974605) Journal
    Microsoft mentioned it was due to security designs in Vista.

    I doubt though that something so integrated into windows explorer can be seperated and reprogrammed into a seperate application within the extra 2 months.

    Its alot of work not to mention may break many applications. For example cdroms that use autoplay sometimes display html and javascript in the windows explorer menu in a seperate pane. I suppose you could reprogram windows explorer to just call an IE7.dll to display it.

    But Microsoft was found guilty of merging IE into a million libraries so third party apps would not function without IE and infact required it. Even a command prompt program that uses strings requires IE as a result.

    Thank god I am not on the windows development team.

  • by moochfish (822730) on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @02:51PM (#14974637)
    So in other words, now that they've won the browser wars at the expense of OS security, they'll unbundle it now.
  • Damnit (Score:5, Funny)

    by hackstraw (262471) * on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @02:51PM (#14974645)

    It was so much nicer here in hell before it froze over.

  • and will be able to replace IE6 even on XP machines

    You've always been able to upgrade IE on its own. Heck, I remember installing IE4 over IE3 on NT ten years ago. This is hardly a new feature for IE7.
    • If I recall correctly, previous announcements had indicated that IE7 would only be available for Windows Vista. In other words, users of Windows XP, Windows 2000, Windows NT, Windows ME, etc., who use IE6 and wish to upgrade would be SOL.

      Today, Microsoft's announcement indicated that Windows XP users would be able to upgrade to IE7. Thus, this is a "new feature" for IE7 that IE7 did not have before today - backward compatibility with older operating systems.
  • I'm sure that this isn't the only security warning Microsoft received -- and ignored -- at the time. Will this convince them that they don't know everything while the rest of the world knows nothing yet?
  • Didn't MS say something to the effect that IE was so tightly bundled into Windows that it would be impossible to remove?
  • Uninstall (Score:3, Funny)

    by Locarius (798304) on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @03:09PM (#14974875)
    Microsoft has decided that when IE7 comes out with Vista it will no longer be a component of Windows Explorer

    Yes! I can finally completely uninstall it from my system!

    Actually, I'll just stick to my Mac.

  • FTP Evidence (Score:4, Interesting)

    by beavt8r (919284) on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @03:10PM (#14974891)
    I installed IE7 (let me explain) and the FTP functionality in it is just like directory listings like Firefox has. I use IE for ftp just so I have the ease of a Windows Explorer-like interface for FTP. So I can't do that with IE7. But, if I open windows explorer or any folder, I can put an FTP address in that address bar and it works just like IE6 with the explorer interface. Unintentionally, I found out when I installed that it kept it separate. Interesting...
  • by Anonymous Coward
    So does that mean that it will be possible to run windowsupdate from within Firefox (or from any other non-native browser)?
    • I'm pretty sure they said that Windows Update is now going to be run inside of a separate application, which makes more sense than updating critical system components from your web browser
  • Bout Friggin Time (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Foofoobar (318279) on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @03:13PM (#14974912)
    Gee, how long did it take them to figure out what people knew from the beginning? Security and IT professionals have flogged this as a major security risk from day 1.

    All I can say is that now that they have done this, I'm beginning to believe that they want to build a decent and secure product for their customers.
  • it already has (Score:4, Informative)

    by minus_273 (174041) <aaaaa@SPAM. y a h oo.com> on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @03:13PM (#14974914) Journal
    I downloaed the IE7 beta 2 for XP yesterday and you can see that explorer is no longer tied at all to the web browser. Going to slashdot.org in an explorer window starts the default browser now.
  • In theory, if it is decoupled, you could run multiple versions of IE on the same machine to test compatibility. This will save QA departments from having to use virtual machines or seperate machines to test each version of IE. Granted, if IE stuck to standards, you wouldn't have to test in every browser known to man, but at least this is a compromise.
  • Glad to hear it (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Bertie (87778) on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @03:30PM (#14975090)
    Just the other day I went to open an HTML page I'd made in IE7, to check that it rendered properly. After fumbling around for a few minutes wondering where they'd hidden the menu bar (yeah, clever one, Microsoft, give your most-used program a UI that flies in the face of 20 years of convention, and don't tell anybody you need to hit the ALT key to bring it up, that'll go down a treat with Joe User), I selected "open", browsed to the file... ...And IE7 opened the page in Firefox, my default browser!

    Clever, eh?
  • What really struck me about this is that Microsoft can make a horrible design decision, at least from a security point of view, continue making that mistake for 10 years, and it doesn't dent their market share.

    Tomorrow, they could decide to leave IE and Windows Explorer integrated. But it just doesn't matter.

    The early reviews I've read on Vista have been lukewarm, but it just doesn't matter. Vista is delayed again, and again, features are pulled out, then it is delayed again, but it just doesn't matter.

    No
  • Why do I have this nagging feeling that this will fix exactly NOTHING from a security perspective and instead is meant to drag us evermore into MS's tentacles? I honestly can't imagine MS ever doing anything just because it's a good idea. MS first and foremost thinks of what's good for MS. You are a side effect. That is their business model. Mod me down as a hater but prove me wrong first.
  • Why the hell can't these folks give a WRITTEN transscript along with the podcasts? Podcasts are just audioblogging, and audioblogs suck [idlewords.com]. Let me read the damn thing, please.
  • by TheNetAvenger (624455) on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @03:57PM (#14975348)
    Another story posted by people that don't get it...

    How many of these stories a day are we now going to get?

    IE7 replace IE6? WTF, That has always been possible.

    Also Explorer uses the IE 'rendering' dlls, it doesn't use Internet Explorer.

    There are so many things wrong with this post and story I don't even know where to start and won't.

    If you don't get it, don't post it.

The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not "Eureka!" (I found it!) but "That's funny ..." -- Isaac Asimov

Working...