In Europe, Windows 7E comes without a browser, it now has a chicken-and-a-egg problem where users don't have a browser to use to download and install a browser.

What is the simplest way that a user with only one internet connected machine, will be able to download and install a browser? FTP, WGET or something else?


I think the EU will sanction a proposal Microsoft made some days ago. Microsoft would provide an easy way to install the major competitors' browers. Read this statement on the Microsoft press releases page.

I can image an installed (but not fully activated) version of Internet Explorer 8 and a sort of ballot screen where you can choose your default browser. If you chose IE, then it will be activated. If you choose another browser, it will be downloaded using the IE engine and installed.

The press release contains this screenshot:

Mockup screen

Update 2010-02-23: Microsoft has announced that Windows Update will present the choice as of March 1st, for all existing installations of XP, Vista and Windows 7. An example can be seen at www.browserchoice.eu, but the announcement shows an additional introduction to that, and explains that even existing "pinned" Internet Explorer shortcuts will be removed (which luckily implies the browser itself won't be uninstalled)...

  • Note the line in the article that states "If this proposal is ultimately accepted, Microsoft will ship Windows in Europe with the full functionality available in the rest of the world" i.e. the ballot screen will run the first time IE is run for a new user (I guess) and hence no more 'Window 7E'. – pelms Jul 25 '09 at 12:26
  • Pah! That's still IE8 from the start. – Umber Ferrule Aug 9 '09 at 20:44
  • 1
    Apparently, the order in which the browsers will appear will be random, and might no longer show within an Internet Explorer screen. The final version might get EU approval on December 15th. See computerworld.com/s/article/9141782/… – Arjan Dec 6 '09 at 10:59

Option one

Download and install your browser installer before you upgrade from one of the following sites:

Internet Explorer






Depending on where you live, you might remember the days when you see all those dial up internet CDs in stores. If Microsoft proposal that were posted by splattne isn't accepted, it is likely when 7 go on general sales in stores that there will be disk of IE people can take.

Of course, one can just download browser installers from another computer and save it onto a USB stick or something.


It seems Microsoft has implemented a way to turn off Internet Explorer in Windows 7, while not removing it completely. According to Microsoft's How to turn Internet Explorer off:

Windows 7 also includes functionality that allows users to turn off Internet Explorer. If Internet Explorer is turned off, it is not available for use by any users on the computer and cannot be launched for any reason, even if no other browser is available on the system. The program files to launch and use Internet Explorer are removed to a separate storage location as a backup copy so that a user can turn Internet Explorer back on if the user wishes to do so later.

When Internet Explorer is turned off using this feature there is minimal impact on third-party programs (and other parts of Windows itself) that call upon Internet Explorer application services, because the Internet Explorer files that provide functionality to third parties and other parts of Windows are left intact.

So I guess that Internet Explorer will always be installed on the hard drive, and one can (temporarily) enable it to use it, or to download any other browser.


Download a browser to a flash drive on a friend's computer. Wget is not installed on windows by default, and if there is no browser there would be no way to use FTP unless you installed an FTP client, which requires a browser.

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