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Chapter 1. The Problem with the Blue E > IE and Windows: Joined at the Hip

1.6. IE and Windows: Joined at the Hip

Microsoft decided long ago to tightly integrate Internet Explorer with Windows, so that the two would be inseparably bonded together. I'm not just talking about making IE the default web browser for Windows. No, Microsoft went far beyond that. Windows uses chunks of IE all over the operating system, even in programs in which you wouldn't expect to find a web browser's presence. For instance, these programs all require IE to work:

Windows Explorer

When you look at files on your computer, you're actually using IE to view your own filesystem.

Add/Remove Programs

When you open this control panel, IE is being used to display the list of programs you have installed on your PC.

Outlook and Outlook Express

Ever viewed an HTML-based email (an email message that looks like a web page)? Sure you have. Microsoft's email programs use IE to display HTML-based email.

Windows Media Player

WMP uses IE to show information about the songs, CDs, and movies you're listening to or viewing.

Windows Help and Support

If you use Windows Help, you're using IE—it's displaying the text and pictures you see in front of you.

MSN Explorer

Microsoft's ISP service, MSN, offers its own frontend to the Internet, called MSN Explorer. This is really just a highly customized version of IE.


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