How to remove Internet Explorer from Windows 98

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Mar 20, 1999, 3:00:00 AM3/20/99
How to remove Internet Explorer from Windows 98=20
March 9, 1999
Web posted at: 1:05 p.m. EST (1805 GMT)
by Brian Livingston, InfoWorld columnist .

-- In recent months, I haven't written exposes of Microsoft's preposterous
legal arguments in the U.S. Department of Justice's antitrust case because
Microsoft has been doing such a good job by itself. Everyone is now familiar
with the doctored video demonstrations, the "performance comparisons" using
dissimilar modems, and so on. You can almost hear Bill Gates saying, "Gee,=
ate it up at Comdex."=20
Much of the trial has revolved around the following Microsoft claims.=20
=B7 Computer users benefit when Microsoft's contracts require PC=
makers to
ship Internet Explorer (IE) instead of other browsers;=20
=B7 IE can't physically be removed from Windows 98 anyway;=20
=B7 If it can be removed, Windows 98 won't run at all; and=20
=B7 If Windows 98 does run, it will be unacceptably slow.
We now have the opportunity, thanks to an insightful volunteer named Shane
Brooks, to see for ourselves whether these claims are true. Brooks, an=20
Australian who is currently studying at the University of Maryland, has
developed a Web site that shows you how to remove IE in the comfort of your=
office. Brooks cites the following benefits:=20
=B7 You get back about 35MB of hard disk space;=20
=B7 Windows 98 runs much faster; and=20
=B7 Netscape Navigator doesn't crash under Windows 98 anymore. (What a
I've interviewed several people who have followed Brooks' methods and=
they work under different conditions. The basic steps are as follows:=20

Step 1. Use a test system. Do this on a PC that you can easily reformat and
reconfigure if need be after your test.=20

Step 2. Replace shell. On a PC with Windows 98 installed, boot to DOS (hold
Ctrl and select Command Prompt Only). Move explorer.exe from the C:\Windows
directory to a floppy. Move shell32.dll and comdlg32.dll from=
to floppies. Copy the Windows 95 versions of these three files into the=
locations and reboot. At this point, Brooks says you have a smaller, faster
Windows shell. You can run IE at any time by switching these three files=
But let's continue to remove IE itself.=20

Step 3. Delete folders. In Windows 98, delete the following folders=
all files they contain) from the C:\Windows folder:=20
=B7 Catroot=20
=B7 Cookies=20
=B7 Downloaded Program Files=20
=B7 History=20
=B7 Java=20
=B7 Temporary Internet Files=20
=B7 Web=20
From the C:\Windows\Application Data\Microsoft folder, delete Internet
and Welcome. From the C:\Program Files folder, delete Internet Explorer and
Uninstall Information. Search for and delete all Desktop.ini and *.htt files
(used for "Web view" of folders). Finally, if you are the sole user of the=
delete C:\Windows\All Users.=20

Step 4. Delete Favorites. Exit to DOS and delete the C:\Windows\Favorites

On the downside, you lose the Windows Update feature, but you can get the=
thing with any browser at (See below for
hyperlinks.) Notepad and WordPad won't work either, but you can copy the=
versions if you need these editors.=20
Brooks' Web site names many other files you can delete, Registry entries you
can remove, and so forth. And he makes available three free programs that
automate a lot of this for you. Go to for details.=20
I'll print Microsoft's response next week, and I'll print your responses on
March 22. Send me e-mail with your test results by March 11, if possible
(subject line must be "IE removal").=20

Brian Livingston's latest book is Windows 98 Secrets (IDG Books). Send tips=
to He regrets that he cannot answer individual

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