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Microsoft shares more developer-focused Windows 7 E details

In a July 13 posting to the Windows Team Blog, Microsoft shared a few more developer-focused specifics about Windows 7 E, its Internet-Explorer-free version of Windows 7 that it is planning to offer in Europe.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

In a July 13 posting to the Windows Team Blog, Microsoft shared a few more developer-focused specifics about Windows 7 E, its Internet-Explorer-free version of Windows 7 that it is planning to offer in Europe.

Microsoft has said it plans to make the Windows 7 E version available to users in Europe on October 22, the same day that the product is generally available in the rest of the world. The 7 E version will be the one and only version of Windows 7 available to European consumers. Microsoft has proactively removed Internet Explorer 8 from this version in the hopes of appeasing European antitrust regulators who are expected to require business changes (and possibly levy fines) as a result of an antitrust case brought against the company by Opera Software revolving around bundling IE with Windows.

The posting takes the form of a Q&A with Arik Cohen, a Program Manager who is working on Windows 7E.

In the new blog post, Microsoft confirms that the E versions of Windows 7 and the "regular" IE-inclusive Windows 7 ones will be available on MSDN at the same time. Microsoft still has not said what that date will be, though many are expecting it will be shortly after Windows 7 is released to manufacturing later this month.

Microsoft also will make the IE 8 Feature Pack for Windows 7 E, which will allow users to add IE 8 back into Windows 7, available to the public on the Microsoft Download Center "soon after Windows 7 becomes generally available" (October 22), according to the post.

Last I heard, Microsoft still had not delivered to testers builds of Windows 7E. But in today's blog post, Cohen suggest developers can test their apps for compatibility with it now simply by turnning off IE 8. He said:

"To get the same functional behavior as a clean install of the E editions of Windows 7, go to “Turn Windows features on and off” dialog and uncheck Internet Explorer 8. We recommend testing your application both without a browser installed and with a browser installed (remember to set the installed browser as the default)."

Cohen reiterated that Microsoft has found via its own internal testing that "the vast majority of applications work on Windows 7 E editions without any changes." He said "this includes applications that use many of the Internet Web Platform embedding methods (including WebBrowser control, hosting Trident, and HTML Help)."

He did note, however, that some Windows apps using the Web browser control may have some compatibility issues when applications depend directly on a specific browser. "In particular, if while using the Web Browser control, you allow the application to open new windows that do not respect the user’s default browser choice, you may see some issues," Cohen said in the posting.

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